May Flights of Glass Bluebirds Sing Thee To Thy Rest
My prom dress? That purple monstrosity? My step-father’s family threw it away after he died. Along with every other thing that belonged to my mother, and therefore I and my sisters. Which is more fucked up than it already sounds, because my step-father molested one of us.
He used the put the weirdest shit in his ears. I saw him use the ends of anything, really, to dig around in there. His favorite might’ve been one of mom’s bobby pins. I’d watch him swirl it around his ear canal like he was churning ear-wax butter. He’d come out with a big moist gob of scabby gunk like it was buried treasure.
I got him back for what he did in the way an 8-year old knows how. I used to lay in his bed when he wasn’t home and watch his TV. I’d pick my boogers and wipe them under the mattress. After years of this, the underside was a veritable topographic booger map.
But he won the battle in the end. He let his redneck kids take everything. This after years spent molesting my sister. This after his adult son also molested my sister. They made her into a pincushion, alright, but she still took care of him for a year after mom died.
I can still see his youngest daughter, my step-sister, Rhonda, standing at the door of my dead mom’s house when I arrived to rescue our stuff. Me with a brand new baby in the Bjorn.
When I was little, I’d watched Rhonda breast feed. They’d hid her in my mom’s bedroom because, you know, tits. My mother did not breast feed me. I remember thinking Rhonda was maybe a rebel. I remember thinking Rhonda was maybe cool.
Standing there years later on that porch, I thought of all the homemade cabbage patch dolls my grandma made. The curtains she sewed. The souvenir shot glasses we brought Mom home from class trips. All of it standing on the other side of Rhonda. In the house my mother lived and died in. I pleaded, “Can I please, please just have Mom’s bluebird of happiness? The little glass one by her bed?” Nothing doin’. I remember thinking I want to strangle this bitch. I remember thinking I will make this bitch pay.
See, my mom went on crying jags most nights while sitting in front of one of those circular, zoom-effect mirrors tweezing stray chin hairs. And sources tell me she never had an orgasm. Sources being her two husbands, and good gugamuga, why in the fuck did I need to know that from them? So I could spend the rest of my life trying to cum enough to make it up to her?
I wanted that bluebird. To keep it by my bed like she did. So that if I ever ended up like her, I’d see it as a sign of our connection. Fuck you, I know it’s stupid. But that way, if I fucked my life up utterly, when I saw it, I’d know I deserved it. Life had handed me the cautionary tale of Mother and if I didn’t read it, well, I deserved to stare at an ironic symbol of our shared failure to thrive. And if I didn’t end up like her, I’d look at it and be
grateful for the life she gave me, and I’d wish her peace.
Stina French is Punch Drunk Press’s second featured writer this October. She hails from North Carolina, and if you look closely, you can still see the welts from the Bible Belt. After a stint in San Francisco, she joined the faculty of Red Rocks Community College in the Denver area. She is working on her first novel, Mistress Immaculate’s Murder Most Mildew, and has a finished hybrid/experimental collection of pieces called Hope You Like Dick: An Erotic, Creative, Choose-An-Adventure Flash Memoir. She squeals like a pig and she means it. Find her on Facebook at Stina French, Ink or at Voicing the Body: Mistress Immaculate’s Blog, to read some of her work, as well as get free writing exercises and insights on the domestic life of a polyamorous, kink-oriented mother.