Somehow I missed it and I should not have; it was on my mind quit a lot. This blog turned ten on or about January 3. I have trouble reconciling that. My children were six, Fifteen, and twenty and the oldest was often referred to as the child most likely to remain on death row (in the context of the household). All three of my children have seen their share of dark days, stared into the abyss until it stared back and all that. Two of them have even fallen in and the oldest, I don't know even how deep he went before he pulled himself back out because that was something he ended up doing himself. The mixed feelings I have about that aren't likely to dissipate any time soon. Elizabeth unintentionally cut me to the bone with a reminder of how I held all three of them at arm's length and having come out the other side of that particular fog well enough to look back and acknowledge what was happening in my last marriage but not well enough to forgive myself. My heart about caves in every time I give it much thought. You didn't let us sit on the couch with you, Mom, we had to sit on the floor at your feet or across the room. I remember this. I stroked Lucia's hair for hours, Elizabeth leaned against my leg like a medium size dog, and Mike sat across the room pretending that it didn't matter. I leaned into David and tried to scrub the burn off my flayed skin as those days slowly unraveled. Recently, or somewhat recently at one of our Sunday dinners Mike asked why I didn't get help sooner. The answer is always the same. I didn't know I could and even if I would have I didn't know how.
I don't think it could have been this way all the time but what I remember is living life by brute force. I was so tired. I wrote a lot and I wasn't particularly good at it when I started but I got better. Being particularly good at it wasn't the point; I didn't have an expectation of being read. Being read came as a surprise the same way not being alone in the interwebs comes as a surprise to anyone the first time we really get a feel for it.
One of the first posts I published was about the Walmart Furies. Alecto is one of the three Furies. Probably you've figured that out. I didn't choose the name; it was given to me by a man who handed out passwords before he'd even met me. I suppose I could have argued for one of the less violent of the three but they'd already been assigned and in the end I'd pretty much decided Alecto was a victim of bad press. Slap a gender change on her and you've got a super hero. More or less.
Before the crash, before the hospital, before the life altering chemical cocktail that pressed the reset button on my neurological perceptions and responses I saw some things, a lot of things more clearly than was comfortable most times. Mostly I just kept my mouth shut about all this; nobody wants to admit to crazy and it wasn't until after the fact that I decided it really wasn't even remotely crazy. The only part that could be considered crazy was what I did with it; that stepping off the ice floe business in its many iterations.
The day I saw the Walmart Furies was seminal and I tried to get the words out but mostly what I typed read like pure lunacy even to me and I remember editing the damn thing until it was as watered down as it was ever going to get and still sounded slightly ridiculous. I've brought it back because it's the first post of any real significance and because it reminds me of what I've lost coming out the other side of all this chaos. I would never see this today the way I saw it that January in 2007. I might not notice them at all and if I had a visceral reaction it would be minimal and I'm not sure I'd be able to identify it. I wouldn't go back for anything because, you know, sitting on the couch with my children banished and all that, right? Is it any wonder that I hold Elizabeth so close?
The Walmart Furies (an excerpt of the original post - January 6, 2007)
They are three obvious sisters, this much can only be true. Even if it is only by a lifetime of proximity, these women are sisters. They are all of average to slightly above average height and carry the requisite extra 60 pounds brought on by bad food that can only be afforded by living on the razor's edge of the poverty line in Fairfield County. They are dressed in dark colored layers of poly-blend cotton jersey gone to sag and pill in the anticipated locations; draping hopelessly deflated in some areas while pulling in others against a constant shifting landscape.
They move in a disharmonic tangle down the aisles, in and out of rows and displays, each attached to the other by the invisible threads of the amalgamation of life forces that bind them. What one sees, all see and turn together or apart to examine, judge, bind, acquire, collect, move on.
I am spell bound by their hair. Completely captured, entranced, mouth open, eyes wide in disbelief at such a thing. The effort that has gone into the collective attrocity atop each head brings to mind the idea of Medusa captured in the sewers, peering up through the storm grates on late November afternoons. Crumpled papers whipping about the streets and buildings coming to rest against the curb atop malevolent eyes peering up into the fringe, snake tendrils reaching, tasting, touching the air. I don't even flinch; it is too much to look away.
One has what must be a lifetime of hair. If allowed to run rampant and untethered it would surely reach the floor and trail behind her collecting candy wrappers, dust, small children, and other various detrius. Instead it has been blow dried straight, with liberal use of product left to go bad on the shelves, circa 1984, captured at the very top center of her head in a band no less than a John Deere timing belt, cascading out and down like a fountain and then sprayed into submission such that only huricane force winds would knock those strands apart. It is sable colored and it has not been washed since the last time she colored her gray which is maybe six weeks or so based on the current state of her roots. She is the best of the three.
The second, a disaster of bleached blond that has gone green and orange and yellow and split all the way to the roots. This is a giant brillow pad captured barely in the old bee hive style but it looks like if you touched it you'd get a sound more like the vacuum cleaner from the Jetsons. I am afraid something lives in that nest and if I get too close I'll be sucked right up into the vortex and suffocated before my feet ever left the floor. She frightens me.
The last is barely there. You can't look at her directly because the lines won't hold true. She is alternately dishwater colored and dark like leaf mold collecting in the drain pipe. If you watch from the periphery you just catch the mass of whirling life hiccoughing and chirping like and old engine winding down. There is no eye contact but you could toss yourself into her void without a second thought. If you wanted to.
I bump one on the way out and turn to apologize, blinking rapidly at the recognition, back peddling toward my cart and holding my breath lest I inhale and be drawn away.
She is so angry with me and it is over in a moment.