violetcheetah: (Default)
[personal profile] violetcheetah

Backstory: This is about the night my father pointed a gun at me, when I was 16. I ended up with the gun, and hid it between rocks in my neighbor’s field. I don’t know if what I've written here is what I was actually thinking and feeling at the time or if my current self is looking back and confabulating; it’s hard to tell because I was only aware of being numb at the time.


Still not focused, but I want to put words together. About the nights with the gun, but there's — it's not even that there are no words, there are no -thoughts-, not sure it's even an emotion, tears but not a feeling, absence of feeling, absence of everything, of light, of time, I can't touch it and it's still unending tears, the gun in the gap between the rocks and it was over, except the world keeps moving, you have to still -do- something, go somewhere, and there's nowhere to go, looking back up the hill at the house I've just come out of and, that's the only place I have to go. He's still there, he's going to be there, and it's never going to end, I can't, I want to sit here, I want to just sit on top of the stones I've sat on for years, -my- spot, I’ve read here, written here, drawn back when I thought I could draw, and I want to stay here, I want to not move, I want to stop, I don't want to be in the house, and there's nowhere else to be, there's no solution, nothing I can tolerate, it won't end, I will never be done, I will never be not in that house, he will be there, always himself, eternity stretching out and never peace and I can't stay here. I have to go back inside.


After I hid the gun and came inside, after my father yelled a while and then got in the car and left, when I picked up the phone, my mother asked, "Who are you calling?"

"The police."

"There's no need," she said. "It's over."

I accepted it. It's shameful now to remember it, how unable I was to — not to stand up for myself, but to even see that as an option. I knew I was right, I knew I should call, but when she said "no," it was like I forgot I knew. I hung up the phone.

My father asked for the pistol back. Over and over, for days, begging, wheedling; he said he didn't want it to rust outside, he'd get rid of the bullets, just bring it inside. Every time he asked, it seemed infinitesimally less insane than the time before. When someone told me the old wives' tale about putting a frog in a pot of water and slowly warming it — so slowly he never jumps out and boils to death — I had sympathy for that frog.

I waited until a day when he was gone when I got home, and I brought it in and put it between layers of pink insulation just to the side of the little attic trapdoor in the hall outside my bedroom. I told my mother to tell him to shut up, it was inside. She asked where; I think she said in case she needed it. It didn't occur to me not to tell her.

I locked my door that night, but I still lay awake. It didn't seem like fear, just a restless antsiness. In the morning, walking under the trapdoor, I felt the gun above me. I thought of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart" and laughed giddily. It was almost fun.

But it got less fun as the days went by. So one afternoon I put my desk chair under the trapdoor again and reached under the insulation to take down the pistol and put it somewhere else.

It wasn't there.

I felt under all three layers, on all four sides of the opening, even though it wasn't like I didn't know -exactly- where I'd put it; I kept coming back to the place where my fingers knew I'd left it, because it had to be there, because -I- hadn't moved it, and it was not possible, my mother would not have moved it, the mother I knew would not have taken it down, because the only reason would have been to put it back in the box in their bedroom and she wouldn't do that because … because that was not a thing she would do.

But it wasn't where I put it.

That was the night I knew, without understanding what I knew, that I'd made up my mother. There was a person in her body — a being, a soul, whatever — but it wasn't a person I knew. I'd been talking to that body for 16 years, hugging it, kissing it, eating the food it prepared, but the soul I'd been talking to all that time, the person I thought I'd been wrapping my arms around, was not in there. Was not anywhere. Was an imaginary friend I'd created, without ever knowing that that person wasn't real.

But there was -someone- in there. Someone had been listening to me all those 16 years, someone had heard all the things I'd said to that body, dreams and nightmares and poems and whines and jokes — and I had no idea who it was who'd been listening to me. A stranger had been listening in on every conversation, had brushed my tangled hair, had held me on her lap — I had sat on a stranger's lap and never known, I had sat naked in the kitchen sink taking a bath with someone knitting or reading at the table, hundreds of nights, and how many other times had this person I didn't know seen me naked, heard me sobbing which is another kind of nakedness?

I didn't understand that night what I understood. I was just alone. I'd always been alone, in the infinite number of moments that made up the thousands of days I'd been alive, I'd been alone without knowing, but now I knew, so now the aloneness of each of those countless moments slammed into me at once, into and through, through me because I ripped like a sheet of notebook paper held taut and punched with a fist. I was alone, always, even as there was someone watching, always, both at once, someone watching but no one to see.

I set the trapdoor back in place, the hairs on the back of my neck stinging, and stepped down off the chair.


violetcheetah: (Default)
Violet Wilson

October 2016


Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:47 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios