There are all sorts of things going on in my head right now that I should be focusing on, so instead I am going to tell a story about another person. This is probably sort of shady, but I think there may be some connections to this story and the other stories currently playing in my mind. And I should preface this semi-sordid tale by saying that every time I find myself in a circumstance in my life where I am thinking, why did —– happen to me? I do not deserve —- to happen to me, this story comes into my mind.
A long time ago, in a place not so far from here, my father married someone who was not my mother. I am not sure if he ever really wanted to marry this person, but that is not really the point, because he did, and then there she was. In. My. Life.
To be fair, she had been in my life. Forever. I mean, she had been friends with my parents long before – or I imagine what must seem like long to people in their early twenties – I was born. Her husband was also good friends with my mother and father, still is in truth. She called herself my mother’s best friend. This must have been pretty awkward when she started sleeping with my father. To be even more fair here, I must state clearly that this is all how I remember these events… and it was the early 70s, so, if Fleetwood Mac can be any sort of model, apparently, “everyone was doing it.”
Skipping ahead through the less than pleasant years where my mother and father tried to stay married and all sorts of other things were happening that I am sure I have no idea about, my parents split up and She got to have my father. There are all sorts of stories I could tell you about this person, and nicknames I could give her (I considered using her real name here because why the hell not… but, no) that would offer credence to my tale that she was a wretched person to have in my life. For my own sanity, and the sake of good taste, you are just going to have to trust me on this. She sucked. I often try to think of ways in which she was a good person, I mean, no person can be completely absent good qualities, but I will just say, I am unaware of her savory attributes. She had a really great son, so there is that, though she compromised him in some fairly unforgivable ways too, but that is definitely not my story to tell. As far as popular images that come to mind when I think of her, sometimes it is Angelica Huston from Ever After, but Angelica is so amazing, I feel guilty associating them. Glen Close characters would be much more apt (use your imagination and take your pick on the character…) and I don’t mind sacrificing Glen to the cause of mental image so much. Regardless, She became what would popularly be termed, a step-mother. I do not call her this, I just call her my father’s second wife.
And why is she here today? On this blog? In my mind?
Recent events have me thinking and wondering about my place in the universe and the larger scheme of things in my life, and what makes me happy, or what makes me sad. I have been thinking a lot about the idea that people deserve certain things, or they do not deserve certain things… and all of that. These thoughts come up when I feel supremely disappointed. And supremely disappointed I have been this last week. And when I get to feeling this way the first thing that comes into my mind, always, is a sunny afternoon years ago…
I was maybe eight or nine years old. Could have even been ten. Something had gone awry and I was in trouble with the She. She was raging as she was prone to do. And when she would rage her eyes would bug out and she would make up words as she yelled. Sometimes I would focus on the words that even my elementary-aged self knew were wrong. Sometimes I would look right in her face. I don’t know what I did on this particular occasion, because the memory is patchy – as I suppose they all are – but the part that comes back into focus is her grabbing my arm, she liked to do that, and hissing as I imagined the snake would have in Rikki Tiki Tavi, which we had recently read in school:
“You know what your problem is? Do you? You think you are so godamned special. Just because your mother tells you are special doesn’t mean a godamned thing. You are not some sort of princess who deserves special treatment. Do you hear me? DO YOU?”
And in times like these, I think back on those words and I wonder. I am not sure if she was right, but I like to think she was wrong. And I guess whether or not you actually deserve special treatment is a lot less important than believing it to be true.
I think it is true that people are special and deserve to be treated as such.
And I am okay with that.