This one is currently in the hands of my editor and will be released very soon. So, to pique a little interest, I thought I would give an excerpt of what is to come. Hope you enjoy and please do leave a comment!
Because I was my mother’s only child, and because she was kind of lonely and kind of crazy, that’s how my early life was… kind of lonely and kind of crazy at the same time. My mother would be really happy one moment and really sad the next. When she was a ‘happy girl (that’s what she called it) life was great. We would have spontaneous celebrations just for the heck of it; staying up all night watching old movies on our small television set or listening to the radio at full blast – my mom dancing around in her house dress and bare feet, smiling and twirling...singing at the top of her lungs. She couldn’t sing a lick, she would be all off key, but that didn’t matter to me. I was a kid, I loved my mother at those times and I would be right there with her smiling and singing and dancing too. We would raid the refrigerator and eat whatever we liked with no mind to having a balanced meal. When mom was a ‘happy girl’ I could have cookies for breakfast and eggs and bacon for dinner. It was just a good time all the way around.
But those times never lasted very long. Or maybe it was that when she was the ‘sad girl’ those times lasted so much longer that the happy times seemed short. I didn’t like the sad girl at all. It was like she was a completely different person than the ‘happy girl’. See, that’s the thing… with my mom there was no in between – either she was way happy or way sad… never just in the middle or “normal” as some people would say. Living between ‘happy girl’ and ‘sad girl’ was my normal; it was the only life I knew. When Beatrice – that’s my mom’s name – was sad, it was the absolute worse for me. I can remember being about four years old. Every morning we would go out to the little coup and get the eggs the chickens had laid. That would be our breakfast; eggs and whatever else my mom had money for. That particular morning I went to the coup with my mother to get the eggs. I was holding the straw basket we used to retrieve the eggs. I had gotten five or six in the basket and one of the chickens got a feather up her ass and left her roost right when I was reaching on tip toe to try and get the eggs from underneath her. Her flailing and flapping startled me and I accidentally dropped the basket cracking all the eggs that were inside.
When my mom turned around and saw that I had ruined breakfast she was instantly furious! She screamed at me, “you stupid little fuck!” and because she was screaming so loud she startled the other chickens and then they were all squawking and flailing around. It was a pretty frightening scene for a little kid. All I could think to do was shut my eyes tight and cover my head and try not to get scratched or clawed by one of the birds. When they finally started to settle down I uncovered my head, slowly opening my eyes to make sure they were settled. Well when I looked up Beatrice was standing over me glaring down with rabid dog crazed eyes and sneering teeth.
“See what you did you little bastard?” she said between clenched teeth; smacking me across the face so hard I lost my footing and fell on the ground.
All this happened in a millisecond – me dropping the eggs – Beatrice yelling- the birds going nuts and her knocking the shit out of me. I couldn’t help but cry; my face stinging from her slapping me. That just made her even more upset.
“You are such a pussy little boy Tom… a pussy little boy… I’m gonna start calling you pussy Tom from now on… you weak little pussy…”
I think her words hurt as much as the slap. It was not so much what she said; I mean I was only a kid. I didn’t really know what the words meant. I think it hurt so much because of the sound of such disappointment she had in her voice – like I disgusted her or let her down or something. That’s what hurt the most.
That day she made me stay out in the chicken coup for most of the day; no breakfast, no lunch, no water or nothing. She left me lying on the hay covered ground with the basket of broken eggs at my feet. She locked the coup latch from the outside and her look dared me to try to stick my fingers through the little holes and try to open it from the inside. I didn’t dare. Even at four I knew better. I had no choice but to accept my fate and hope that she would come and get me before it got dark. The chickens didn’t seem to mind me being there.
They went on about their business as if nothing was different. It was that fucking rooster that was the problem. I didn’t know what the hell he problem was but he kept circling me, bristling his feathers and strutting around like he didn’t like me being there. It was kind of scary. All I could do was back into the corner and be as still as possible until he decided that I was no threat to him. Once I did that, thankfully he went away for the most part; just strutting by me every now and then reminding me who was boss. It seems like I was out there forever. When the sun came up it go so hot in there. I called out to my mom a couple of times but either she didn’t hear me or didn’t care to respond. She just left me out there. At one point I had to use the bathroom so bad I didn’t know what to do other than pee right where I was. I mean what did she expect?
I must have fallen asleep at some point. I woke up when I heard the chickens rustling around again, responding to my mother unlocking the latch.
“Come on in the house,” she said without even looking at me. I scrambled to my feet and made my way out of the coup; my pee stained pants wet and tacky on my legs. She locked the latch behind me and marched back to the house. I followed behind her; not wanting her to see I had soiled myself. When we got in the house she demanded I take off my clothes, wash myself and go to bed. To this day I still don’t know how long I was out in that chicken coup. Even though I went to bed hungry, I was just glad it wasn’t any worse. Believe me there were times when it was worse. I promised myself that I would be much more careful the next time we went to get eggs.
The next morning, I awoke to my mother’s tears. That was the other part about ‘sad girl’, she could be terribly depressed at times; windows drawn, no light coming in. During those times, it was a struggle for my mom to muster up the energy to even bathe, let along attend to the farm or to me. I could hear her sobbing as I made my way into our little kitchen. She was sitting at the table, still in her house dress, bawling her eyes out; her chest becoming concave with every deep sob. When she realized I was standing there in my footed plaid pajamas, she looked up at me with tear stained cheeks. Her sadness made me sad too. But I remembered how angry she was with me the day before so I didn’t move too hastily when she summonsed me to her.
“Come here momma’s little man,” she said between sobs. She unrolled a balled up handkerchief, blew her nose, and placed it back into the pocket of her faded flowered house dress. “Come on ova here to ya momma.” I moved slowly across the worn linoleum floor, not sure exactly what she wanted with me. As I got closer to her, she scooted her chair back from the kitchen table, extended both her arms to me and pulled me in for a big hug. My arms were plastered to the side of my body as I didn’t have a chance to open them before she grabbed me. As she hugged me, she rocked us back and forth, side to side. My mom was still crying. Her tear streaked cheek pressed tightly up against my face.
She held me there for the longest time. This wasn’t the first time I had seen my mother like this so I stood there and let her hug me like a good little boy. She was squeezing me so tight it was sometimes hard for me to breath. But I dare not say that to her… I wouldn’t want to make her mad. My mom began to hum a song… the same one she used to sing to me when I was a baby. If nothing else, I remember that song.