Wednesday 28 October 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/28/15

In the spirit of Halloween - and in an effort to escape the monotony of my unchanging home life – I’m going to share with you dear readers a story: a horrible tale of murder, and mayhem.

Let us begin.

A mother’s greatest gift to the world is her children – of that fact, few are in dispute – but not every woman is fit to be a mother and not every mother is willing to part with her gift. Certain women are all too eager to part with their children. Some would think these mothers heartless but not everyone knows what it is to fear their children. To hear their daughter calling and be filled with a sense of dread. To see their son walking through the hallway and hide from him.

What would you do if you were afraid of your children?

A woman, Cynthia, unable to conceive, longed for a child but feared she would never have such joy. Her husband Anthony, sad to see his wife in such pain, suggested adoption and she agreed with a renewed sense of hope. After many months of struggle, a brother and sister became available to them. Unable to afford two new mouths to feed, the couple chose to adopt the girl, naming her Samantha, promising visitation to her brother John as often as possible, but no new home.

The girl was quiet, only 12 years old, but humble and introverted. As she began her new life, she proved to be helpful around the house but highly anti-social. Her teacher’s immediately noticed minor aggressive tendencies from Samantha whenever her classmates tried to get to know her. At home, she was the epitome of the perfect daughter – soft-spoken but kind and respectful. For a child on the verge of teenager-dom, she was a dream.

As promised, the parents allowed John to visit his sister on the weekends, but those visits quickly became more frequent. Every few days, Cynthia would catch John in his sister’s bedroom or in the kitchen stealing food. While her husband was furious with the boy, she quelled his fears with reason. A 10 year old boy without his sister was lost and found no reason to remain at the orphanage where he was kept. Instead of reporting the boy for his loneliness, the equally-lonely mother submitted the paperwork to adopt the boy as well. All there was to do was wait.

She soon found that to be a mistake.

Whenever the children were in the same room together, they seemed to a have an almost telepathic ability to communicate. Without any preplanning the two would be able to make decisions, move as one, even finish each other’s sentences. To say the least, it unsettled the couple. But siblings – especially children who have gone through trauma – are prone to being remarkably close to each other. What harm could come from that?

After many months together, Cynthia felt it was time to introduce the children to the rest of her family – particularly her sister, her closest friend. However, her sister’s visit was cut short by a tragic fall down the stairs which lead to hospitalization and 3 broken bones. The only other people at home at the time were the children who were catatonic when questioned. Cynthia’s sister was absolutely adamant that Samantha was there as she lost consciousness at the base of the stairs.

Concerned for the safety of her family, Cynthia contacted the adoption agency, asking for more information on the children’s troubled history. The clerk came back with the terribly suspicious news that any record of the children’s past was destroyed in a break-in, resulting in the deaths of 2 agents.
With little else to be done, life continued as normal for the family. Samantha and John developed into very intelligent and kind children as the months past but problems still persisted in the classroom. Their teachers called them territorial and dangerously over protective of one another. Samantha was briefly suspended from school for biting a student who approached her brother in a “menacing manner”. To say the children were inseparable would be an understatement.  

Trying not to give in to other’s fears, Cynthia did her best to give her children some space until her daughter’s suspension. When she tried to talk about the incident, Samantha became physically aggressive and refused to speak on the matter or of her past. Cynthia grew worried but Anthony became furious and frustrated. With every day that the children became a menace to the world, he grew more unsettled and impatient with Cynthia’s inability to take action.

Things only got worse from there. Anthony awoke in the middle of the night to find John standing in the doorway of their bedroom. Just staring. Anthony immediately woke Cynthia who ushered the child back to bed without any protest. Her husband was enraged but she refused to deal with the child. Of course he would be having night terrors or sleep walking: he was a child still adjusting to a new life.

Except he came in every single night for two weeks.

Anthony had had enough so he called a child psychologist who agreed to meet with the kids. The doctor received nothing but silence for two months and nothing was getting better at home. The situation wasn’t getting worse either until Cynthia brought the children for their appointment one day only to discover that the doctor had apparently committed suicide.

Anthony and Cynthia fought for days. He insisted that the children be sent back to where they came from but Cynthia wouldn’t let them go. She was so sure that nothing that was happening was the fault of the children. She couldn’t imagine hurting them like that – or hurting herself.

As the months past, the children only became more of a menace. Samantha became overly aggressive with anyone but her family and John stopped speaking entirely. At his wit’s end, Anthony left Cynthia. He asked her to choose between him and the children and she refused. So she was left alone with two children who frightened her. She couldn’t sleep with John staring at her and Samantha was now under full-time supervision, suspended from school for beating a student. She didn’t leave the house anymore, afraid of leaving the children alone but also afraid of what would happen to her if she left. Even if the children weren’t at fault for the deaths, something was wrong with them. She could see that now. But she was alone.

They were so kind to her but the rest of the world feared her and her family.

That’s when the call came.

The orphanage digitally recovered the children’s files directly from Child Protective Services. Their mother had had a psychotic break after the death of her youngest child. She blamed Samantha and John for their brother’s death, and became so afraid of her children that she took drastic measures to keep them subdued. She starved the children, locked them in the basement, deprived them of everything a mother should freely give to her children. A concerned neighbour called the authorities and the children were saved but damaged.

Much of their information was redacted on the adoption record in order to keep the children safe – especially after their mother escaped custody. She was currently the main suspect in two suspicious deaths and a suicide that was now being considered a homicide.

It was feared that the children were in danger of their mother finding them.

The bodies of Cynthia, John, and Samantha were found in their home the next day. Anthony had come home to apologize. Cynthia was clutching John to her side, trying her best to shield him. Samantha was covered in bruises and scratches but her fingernails had blood, and skin, and hair: like she’d fought for every single moment.

They found the children’s mother hiding in the master bedroom, convulsing in shock.

She couldn’t stop smiling.

What I’ve discovered from this exercise is that I should probably stick to non-fiction.

Happy Halloween.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/21/15

I haven’t always gotten along with my in-laws. There was a period of time right before we got married where James had to convince me not to kill his mother; but after I got custody of the kids, the two of us developed a friendly if not staggered relationship, only speaking when absolutely necessary, but always in an amiable manner.

I didn’t want to kill her because she was rude, mind you. I know not every mother is like mine – bless her heart, if she has one today – but I hated her because she was so kind. She was deceptively kind. I spent the first two months of my relationship with James absolutely paranoid that she was being friendly with me just so she could gain my trust and then shank me in an alley.

Yes, I see the irony in my fear, I’m still not wrong.

I brought my fears to James and he laughed at me before reminding me that not everyone has an ulterior motive. Some people are just nice. During the entire wedding process, she remained an absolute peach, so excited that her son was happy. I remember going with her to pick out my wedding dress – because, god-forbid I take my mother, I’d end up killing the attendant before I picked out a dress.

As it was, I ended up slashing the poor girl’s throat later that day to vent my frustration.

So there I was, with James’ mother, face lit up like a Christmas tree because every dress was “oh my goodness, so beautiful”, and I blew up at her. I yelled at her for being so fucking nice, and asked her how she managed to raise her son when he couldn’t even stand up for herself. She stopped smiling. I swear that was the first time she had stopped smiling since I met her. And she just walked out the door.

I went to James that night, expecting to get an earful about respecting his mother, only to discover that she hadn’t said a word to him. She didn’t whine or complain, she kept her son safe.
I called her the next day and we met for coffee so I could apologize. When I got there, she was already sitting there with a bouquet of flowers. I lost it. I just remember being so angry that she had somehow gained the upper hand in our relationship that I acted like a child. I threw the flowers out and walked away.

Two weeks later – and after one very long lecture from my finance – I worked up the courage to apologize and have a frank discussion about my stress over the wedding. After that, things were strained to say the least but we leveled out into a tolerable companionship. It wasn’t until the week after I got the kids that we actually developed a sort of kinship.

Sandra was absolutely intolerable after she lost her mother. She wouldn’t talk to me, or eat anything I put in front of her. She skipped school more often than she went during that first month. Jason, following his sister’s lead as always, learned a lot of new swear words in a very short amount of time and used any possible excuse to use them on James and I. When he knew what he meant, his words stung.

On a really bad day, for whatever reason, I found myself calling my mother-in-law – in tears – asking her to come over. James was at work and the kids had both left so it was just me alone with a bottle of wine. I just vented to her about all the problems I’d been having, raising two preteen children, and she listened. She just listened and poured wine while I cried into my glass. And then she smiled and said “I know.” After that night we definitely established some common ground and that was the beginning of our friendly working relationship.

Last week, she called me and told me to meet her for coffee so last Wednesday I showed up after an exhausting day at work and there she was, smiling as usual. She’s definitely aged well, which I’m glad to know. Maybe James will get that gene and we’ll be that 70-year old couple who could pass for 40.

I’m determined to be immortal – or at least look like it – so hopefully we can not-grow old together.

We got our overly-expensive coffee and sat down at a table in the corner, and then I listened.
She told me that she didn’t want to know what was going on between the two of us – “your problems are your own”, she said – but she told me to have patience. James is stubborn and emotional but he loves me and whatever happens, I make him happy. But simultaneously, I have to be attentive. We both did something wrong, whatever it was, and we need to find a solution together.

It’s not something new to me. I’ve heard all of this before. But coming from her, it seemed to strike a chord.

After I left her, I called James and he agreed to stop by the house the next night.

He’d stopped shaving; that was the first thing that came to mind when I opened the door. He was all scraggly and muscle-y and

We had sex.

It was really good.

I have missed having sex with my husband.

But that also means we didn’t talk. In face we haven’t spoken since that night. I’m nervous. I think I screwed up. I hate asking the internet for marriage advice but:

Readers, what do I do?

As always,
Stay Safe

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/14/15

I saw my parents for the first time since before Sandra’s death. The timing of the funeral was “too inconvenient” for them so they came on their own time. I don’t think they believed me when I made that phone call. Now they believe me.

I mean, yes, I am sometimes known for exaggerating and lying to them but seriously: why would I lie about this?

My parents have never been super supportive of the kids. When my sister was first incarcerated they put up a fight for custody and after they lost they did try to visit but that was it. From everything I’ve seen of their interactions with the kids, even when they were living with my sister, my parents are more about the presentation than the actual human contact.

They don’t care about the kids; what they care about is how it looks to see a grandparent caring for their grandchild. Thankfully neither Sandra nor Jason seemed to buy into their charade and very quickly refused to see them once they were aware enough to speak their minds. I’ve always been very grateful to use my children as an excuse to avoid my parents but this weekend was apparently an exception.

They called me on Friday to remind me that they were driving in the next day which absolutely stunned me since I had no knowledge of any arrangement to visit. I mean, it is entirely possible that I forgot or that they were mentioning their “plans” as a way to confuse me into accepting their arrival but for whatever reason, it just wasn’t sitting right with me. I asked Jason when he got home and he told me that he had invited them. He was absolutely serious. No hints of anger or malice or humor; just straight-faced and determined. For whatever reason – one I still don’t know, by the way – he decided that it was the best idea in the world to invite his absentee grandparents to dinner after they couldn’t be bothered to show up to his sister’s funeral.

Regardless, they showed up just after 2pm on Saturday and immediately made known their dissatisfaction at the state of my home. For once, when I knew my parents were coming, I didn’t spend an entire day scrubbing and reorganizing the house. I just left it in the horrible, disgusting mess that it was. I felt free to say the least. It was so satisfying to see my father wide-eyed and white as a sheet, completely lost for words. I think he was overwhelmed by every little detail that was out of place so he just kept his mouth shut. Admittedly, I was fascinated.

My mother, of course, didn’t let herself be stunned for too long and quickly went on a tirade around the house, ranting about the state of affairs and “how could it get this bad since my last visit?”

That’s when Jason finally came down from his room and things got interesting.

For starters, he was polite – while projecting his voice – and greeted my parents by name. He invited them into the living room where he would be happy to get them something to drink while I continued preparing a “light lunch, as a courtesy”. I mean What the Fuck? Whoever possessed my son was obviously part English butler. I’ve never heard him string along more than a sentence with my parents before he started to become moody and cussed them out under his breath while his sister shielded him.

Sandra was always very good at protecting her brother from the big evils of the world – their grandparents included – I wonder if this polite and passive aggressive stance is his way of coping without her.

Anyways, he helped me make sandwiches and a veggie platter in silence while my parents watched the T.V. channel that plays nothing but nostalgic reruns. I asked Jason what had gotten into him and his only response was a very serious look of determination and a hint of a smile.

Naturally, as lunch began, I was prepared for a slew of criticisms and judgements to pour out of my mother while I had resigned myself to dead silence on my father’s end today and that’s exactly how it began.

Mother’s first question after “pass the dip” was: “so where’s James?”

Jason immediately tensed and I grabbed his hand under the table to keep him from doing anything stupid. I told her that James was at work which obviously wasn’t a lie but I’ve no doubt she noticed that some of his things were missing from the bathroom and front closet so my answer wasn’t sufficient.

“He’s on his way out the door because of you.”

That’s what she said to me. My mother. Blaming me because she thinks my husband is leaving me. I’ve never had the energy to argue with my mother so I just ate my turkey and cheddar sandwich and let the statement linger between us. Of course that didn’t stop her.

In fact I think she waited until I was chewing to apologize for not attending the funeral, stating that if I talked to her more often, they’d have been able to make it. There was dead silence for a long time before my father spoke up for the first time since greeting me.

He asked about the funeral. He asked how it was, who attended, that sort of thing.

I was too stunned to offer him anything but short statements of fact. I find myself baffled by my father. He’s always carried himself with a sense of military discipline despite – to my knowledge – never actually serving. He’s the strong, silent, and judgemental type who never made me feel good enough and out right terrified me as a child. He still scares me but I know he would never lay a hand on me. He’s a man of few words who prizes order and discipline above all else. I have a lot of respect for him.

So why the hell did he marry my mother?

In any case his questions shocked me. All I could give were basic answers. Before I could go into any detail, Jason slammed his hands on the table and stood, his body tense and defensive.

The table was stunned into silence – something I never thought I’d hear from my mother. He just attacked her. He called her out on all her bullshit for the last 5 years: The passive aggressive assaults, the constant victim-blaming, the manipulative, egotistical personality that landed his mother in prison. All of it. And she took it because he is her grandson and if it were anyone else she would have fought back. Hell, I would have fought back. But because it was her, and him, I just sat there and watched. I admit to a small speck of satisfaction at seeing my mother’s face turn blue.

The dinner was an emotional rollercoaster ride: my father’s sudden humanity, my son’s abrupt decision to stand up for himself; but the thing that really shocked me is that after Jason was done scolding my mother, she apologized. Not her usual apology were she pretends like she doesn’t understand why we’re angry at her. She seemed sincere.

They left shortly after that so I didn’t actually get a chance to talk to her but she promised to stop by next weekend. Whatever made Jason finally stand up for himself worked.

After all these years, I think someone finally got through to my mother.

I have renewed respect for my son.

And speaking of improving family relations: I’m having coffee with my mother-in-law today after work. God knows how well that’ll go over.

Wish me luck.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe