A quick note:
History (and other such fictions) is the story of my actual family based on specific details and anecdotes I was told throughout my childhood. A good deal of it is conjecture on my part, and all of it is, thus far, purely imaginative. The following account, however, is as true as memory allows.
(TRIGGER WARNING – Physical Violence)
riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. / a way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs. / a way a lone a last a loved a long the
One of the most severe beatings I ever received at my mother’s hands came when I was 11 or 12.
She was remarried by this time, and we were living in a three bedroom apartment on Prospect Avenue. My sister was 16 or 17, and she was allowed to do many of the things that were still forbidden to me. She could, for instance, wear makeup and date boys. I wasn’t interested in dating at this point, but I was intrigued by makeup.
It was the dog days of summer, and I remained indoors, away from the invisible, sweltering stars. I was in the room I shared with my sister, idly perusing the cluster of items atop her dresser. A bottle of red nail polish caught my eye.
The polish was ruby red, slick and sparkly. I took it and sat on the floor beside my bed and began to apply it to my jagged nails. I liked the contrast between it and my pale skin, and I stopped for a moment to admire the effect when the door opened. Guiltily, I pushed the little bottle under the edge of the bed, not even considering the distinct smell that must have lingered in the room. I looked up hastily to see my mother standing there.
Suddenly, she was thunderous.
“JUST WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, YOU LITTLE BITCH?”
“DON”T YOU LIE TO ME, YOU LITTLE SNEAK! TELL ME RIGHT NOW WHAT YOU WERE DOING! THERE’S NOTHING I HATE MORE THAN A SNEAK!”
She was across the room before I could blink and had hold of me by my hair. She hauled me up, and I was assailed by a storm of open-handed slaps and close-fisted punches punctuated by severe hair pulling. I’m not sure how long it went on, but it seemed like a very, very long time. My best guess is approximately 20 minutes. The whole time she screamed and cussed me. I remember lying on the floor with my hands thrown uselessly over my head, my poor attempts at girly improvement exposed for all the world to see while she repeated over and over, “WHAT WERE YOU DOING? TELL ME NOW! LITTLE SNEAK! SNEAK!”
Suddenly she left, and I lay there huddled against myself, dazed and bewildered, staring at the ruby red bottle still sitting upright just beneath the edge of the bed.