why did I go

tuesday 5 july 2011…        (new post)

If anyone’s been keeping up with the last seven or so posts, anyone might be wondering why I even kept accepting Matthew’s invitations. All this wrangling, all this refusal to answer my questions, the cloak-and-dagger baloney, the tears and anger, both his and mine. There isn’t one pat answer. Layers of answers, because I’m a multi-layered, deep-feeling and deep-thinking person. Everything in life, absolutely everything, has facets and nuances.

Here are the answers, plural, to the question of why I went:

1. Matthew was the one who’d told me about this ugly, criminal situation in my life. He was the bearer of the bad news. Because he was the one who told me, I wanted to stay in his sphere.

2. I wanted information, and he was the one who had it. If all he would give me were crumbs, then I wanted those crumbs. And I stupidly kept hoping for more than that.

3. I was extremely alone. Animals gone, my way of life torn to shreds, only one friend who lived some distance away and didn’t come to greenfield very often. Matthew was the only company at my disposal. And with him, I didn’t have to keep all of the same secrets I had to keep with other people. With him I could at least talk about the landlady and the mafia chick and the protection. And as weird things happened out on the streets, Matthew was the only person on the planet with whom I could talk about them and not be treated like a nut.

4. I was in love with him, after all. And as totally abnormal and twisted as this relationship and this crime situation were, it was the one and only place in my existence where love made an appearance, however mangled and distorted that appearance might have been.

Not every single moment with Matthew was a moment of tears or anger or refusal to answer questions or cloak-and-dagger tricks. Most of them were, but not all. There were moments of laughter and mutual teasing. And others when we talked about books or music or our pasts. Once I brought bubble-soap and blew bubbles over to his chair for him to catch. He didn’t want to at first. I suppose it struck a macho crime-fighter like him as too childish. But after he’d grudgingly caught a few, he started smiling and getting into it. Then I blew the bubbles over his head so he’d have to reach for them. There were the rare times when we’d talk about the things we would do together after this was over. There was the time he had bought tea for me, and even made it for me, and served it to me in a little white china cup. He had some too, in an identical cup, even though he is a coffee person. It was the one and only time he ever behaved as if I were a special guest. Never happened again, at least not to that degree. Sometimes he would find me on the street sick from the humidity and my attacking immune system. Often at those times he’d take me back to his hovel, turn on the air conditioner, and make us rice for supper. He’d watch me very intently when I was sick. No matter what idiot face or idiot voice he might be using, his eyes were always real, and on many occasions I saw the unmitigated concern there in those large blue eyes that bored into mine. Once I’d fallen out of bed right onto a wooden captain’s chair and had got a huge hematoma on my right leg. When he saw the thing, he lost a great deal of his facade. Worry, worry, that’s all he was. How did you get that? he wanted to know. I told him, and he didn’t believe me, evidenced by the fact that he continued to ask me throughout the afternoon. He asked me if I didn’t think I should have a doctor look at it, and would it go away, and did it hurt. About the fifth time he asked me how I got it, I got exasperated. I told you how I got it, and I told you the truth. You know I’d tell you if anyone hurt me. Then he looked at me with puppy-longing eyes and said: You promise? I promised.

That was some of the good stuff that passed between Matthew and me. There’s more, but I’ve made my point. And though there wasn’t nearly enough of it, and though all the dark stuff outweighed it by far, it was the only good stuff available to me in the world. In every empty, ugly minute of every empty, ugly day, it was the only good stuff I could lay my hands on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

read…    Poison and snowflake trees…   Mental hell

 Share    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    website 

a href=”http://twitter.com/share” data-count=”none” data-via=”annegrace2″ data-related=”ziidjian:outre tweeting”>Tweet</a><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”></script

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Advertisements

who was that guy

tuesday 5  july 2011              (new post)

a little preamble…    Just heard a story on the radio, another interview with another soldier in afghanistan. He says he’s not re-upping anymore after this tour. Doesn’t want to “get to the point where I have no respect for humanity anymore.”  And he says he’s close. I understand this man completely, and anyone like him. A soldier has one kind of trauma and emotional strain. I’ve had different kinds, far removed from battle and war. Others I’ve known have had different kinds yet again.  It doesn’t matter what the traumas are, what the overwhelming emotional strains are … there are hundreds of different kinds, I’m sure. What matters is that there are people, and I’m in that group, who break under this weight, and break for good. This soldier is aware that this could happen to him. I’m aware that it has happened to me. No respect for humanity as a species left. Not since 2008. None. And I’m fine with that. I wouldn’t have been fine with it in 2007, to despise the human race to the degree that I do now, but as of 2008, my conscience regarding humans gets shut off whenever I choose to flip the switch. My life brought this about. The ice-cold actions and words of other people brought this about.

This particular guy was my own age, or maybe slightly older, and I’m going to be blunt and say that his face was rather ugly. I didn’t like to look at his face. I never saw this guy until the very end of June in 2008. It’s certainly possible that he was in greenfield before that time, but if he was, he never ended up near enough for me to notice him until that time. I thought he was one of the many older, low-income alcoholics that live in greenfield and turners. His clothes were old and often not very clean, hair always just slightly greasy. At the end of June, he took to sitting on the bench in front of the health of food store and saying hello to me, though he never asked me for any cigarettes or money, as certain others did. By the end of June I was extremely sensitive to faces and bodies on this particular bench, because it’s the place where Matthew and some of his pals so often sat. When a new face appeared there, I noticed. The first day this guy was sitting there and said Hi to me, I noticed everything about him, and that he was new to me.

I didn’t think he had anything to do with my situation. Most people didn’t — it was only certain ones. I thought he was just a drinker who had perhaps lived in greenfield for a long time and only recently taken a liking to that bench. I tried to be pleasant to him, because I felt sad, not about his presumed drinking problem, but about the ugliness of his face. It both repelled and saddened me. A couple of times I sat down beside him if there was room, smoked a cigarette with him, and talked about innocuous things like the weather or the mayor or whatever. He was just this ugly, down-and-out man that I tried to be nice to, though I certainly never sought him out. If he was around, I was nice.

All of that changes on Sunday 13 July. I go to the health food store shortly before ten to wait for them to open so I can have breakfast. This is a routine for me on most Sundays, since the health food store is the only place in the center of greenfield where I can pay for my meals with food stamps. Lots of other low-income people go there for the same reason. Well he’s there too, and another guy, on the bench, waiting for ten o’clock. I begin the usual empty, meaningless social chit-chat. And then he jolts me. I happen to be looking right at his face, sitting right beside him, when he says, in a slightly taunting tone: You have a daughter, don’t you? I’m completely upset by this question, try to hide it, and pretend I didn’t hear. I return to whatever subject it was we were on before he shot that question out of nowhere. But he won’t let me ignore it. He asks the question again, the nastiness in his tone having increased. I’m angry. I say a very terse Ya and look away from him. I’m about to get up off the bench, but he has more to say: Well you can be my mother now. I don’t look at him when he says this, and I do get up. He’s not finished. Did you hear me, he asks, I said you can be my mother now. Whatever, I say to him. Someone unlocks the door of the store and I go in, making sure I don’t go anywhere near this ghoul while I’m in there.

Please bear in mind that at this point in time it’s only been eleven days since Matthew said the kill-word to me. Not enough time for me to process this stuff. It’s only been three days since the white-haired man. And while I’m still trying to process comes this stranger saying these things. He is a stranger. I buy my food with the question repeating in my mind: How does he know I have a daughter? This question is both valid and sane. I’ve only been living in greenfield for four months. Most of the people I’ve met there know almost nothing about my life before the eviction, including that I have a daughter. She lives in another state, we haven’t spoken in two years, and I just don’t tell most people that she even exists. Nor do I tell them much of anything that doesn’t directly bear on the landlady, the eviction, the animals, and the DMH. So how in the hell does he know, and why does he put that emphasis on the word daughter? Why does he say I can be his mother now, again with the emphasis on a certain word?

I ponder this during my breakfast. I ponder some more after I leave and go walking, for the sake of the blood sugar. I can perceive this man’s remarks, in light of what Matthew has told me, in only one way: this is some kind of threat against my daughter. This is my intellectual conclusion, but my psyche certainly doesn’t want to accept it, and so I push it away by thinking about other things. Denial. I cannot always defeat denial.

Later in the day I leave my rented room a second time to get lunch, and Matthew shows up and invites me over. I’m well steeped in my denial now, and have not thought about this stranger and his words for hours. I go to Matthew’s and am there two hours before this man comes to the surface again, and it only happens because Matthew and I have got back onto the subject of people wanting to hurt me. I’m asking him more questions, trying, and not succeeding, to get more information out of him. Then I remember the ugly guy and the things he said. Denial is, for the moment, overcome.

And what about this ugly coot this morning, I ask my Matthew. I’ve only been seeing him for a couple of weeks. What’s he all about? Why did he say those things about my daughter? How does he even know I have one? Then Matthew asks some questions of his own. When did this happen, and where. What does this guy look like, and exactly what did he say. After we go all through it, I take another of my infrequent stands: I want to know if she’s all right, I say. And I know you can find that out for me. Find out. I want to know. As I recall, I didn’t have to do too much demanding before he said Okay. Then he said, let’s go outside. I’m already used to the stupid cloak-and-dagger way Matthew does things. I’ve met the weird radio. Before I stop talking to him later that summer, I will meet the weird VCR, which eventually replaces the radio. I watch the posing in front of the window every bloody time I go there. When he says Let’s go outside, I don’t even bother to ask why.

There’s a square table in the backyard with two chairs. He says we sit there, and so we do. We sit for what seems ages in the heat, and in my restlessness to know about my daughter. At last a young guy comes out of Matthew’s building from the front door, carrying a big circle of garden hose around his shoulder. He watches Matthew as he walks from the front of the house to the back. Matthew makes a hand signal at him, and the guy goes back inside through the back door. I hate this stuff. I say Now that you’ve made your little signal to your little pal, can we go back in to the air conditioning? Not yet. So we sit some more. Finally he says we can go in.

When we get there, I ask him if my daughter’s okay. He says we have to wait a bit. He lies down on the floor and I park on the futon. We talk, and sounds are coming from upstairs. This doesn’t throw me. I’ve heard footsteps in the upstairs of Matthew’s apartment before. This time it’s a squeaking chair. Someone is sitting in it, making little movements that cause the chair to squeak. After about seven noises, Matthew comes out with a question, a disingenuous, phony question: What is that creaking noise? I bite, as always. It’s a butt sitting in a squeaky chair. I better go see who it is, he says. He goes upstairs and stays there a little while, then comes back down with a red face, sniffles, and wet eyes. He dashes right into the bathroom. When he comes out, he says the noise was a door blowing in the breeze. There is no breeze today. And in August, when that room has been emptied and I’m allowed to go into it, I will learn that there is no door. The upstairs of Matthew’s apartment turns out to be an attic that has been loosely made into a couple of rooms. The one above Matthew’s livingroom not only has no doors, it doesn’t even have a frame for one. The second room is further back and has a door. To this day I’m willing to bet my last nickle that whenever I was around, at least, that door was locked.

After the bathroom, he parks himself in his favorite chair and starts talking about something or other. Is my daughter all right, I bark at him. Yeah, she’s okay, he says with impatience. Are you telling me the truth? Yeah, I wouldn’t lie to you about that. But this time I don’t entirely believe him. I didn’t like the way his face was, and the sniffling and wet eyes, when he came down the stairs. I get angry. I take another stand, one he completely ignores. I want you to tell me yourself or send me one of your monkeys every day to let me know she’s all right. I’m speaking very angrily when I say this, and he gets annoyed at my anger. He has absolutely no justifiable reason to resent my anger. He’s the one who told me about this situation in the first place, and he is not stupid, not by a long way. Surely he has no right nor reason to expect me not to get angry at these things. He’s angry that I’m angry, and once again I just want to slap him, and so I leave.

I go to my room and start trying, without success, to reach my daughter. The sheriff’s department in her town goes to the address I give them, but she doesn’t live there anymore. They say that on Monday they’ll call her office and try to reach her there. Monday comes and goes with nothing, and I figure they forgot. But they didn’t. They’d called her and talked to her, and had only forgotten to call me. In any case, I don’t hear from her until Tuesday. All those hours of waiting since the drama at Matthew’s Sunday afternoon. Many things happened in those waiting hours that I’m not going to write about here because I’ve had enough right now of walking down these dark roads. Maybe another time.

That July, by the time I heard from the daughter on the 15th, had already seen Matthew introducing the k-word on the 2nd, the white-haired man on the 9th and 10th, and was about to produce the man in the white bandana on the 18th. It was quite literally one bizarre, hollywood insanity after another that July. There was never time to recoup, time to absorb. It just kept coming.

And from that Sundaythe 13th on, the man with the ugly face is my enemy. I see him in future almost everywhere I go, often sitting down on the sidewalk. He makes occasional nasty remarks to me over the rest of the summer, and then I leave greenfield. When I return to greenfield for a long-term stay in June of 2009 (it’s been nearly a year since I lived there), he pops up all the time again, and makes his periodic nasty remarks. Sometime in late 2009, he disappears. If he’s still in greenfield at that time, I certainly never see him again.

And also from that Sunday on, I refer to Matthew and his pals as monkeys. I do this for over a year. I even buy stuffed monkeys and carry them around with me, another one of my quirky ways of showing them, in public, how much I detest them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

read…     Mishibone…    Neverending solitaire

 Share    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    website 

a href=”http://twitter.com/share” data-count=”none” data-via=”annegrace2″ data-related=”ziidjian:outre tweeting”>Tweet</a><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”></script

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

why are you still alive?

friday 1 july 2011….        (new post)

That’s another question that a collection of very lousy therapists, plus a whole gaggle of regular people, have asked me: Why are you still alive? If there are these nasty types who are so bad that you have to have this undercover protection, why haven’t they got you? It seems to me, so many of them have said, that if they wanted you this badly, they’d get you. No protection would stop it.

Most of the people who have put forth this argument have done so in a very superior and arrogant manner, whipping out their trump card and pronouncing judgment on my sanity with gloriously smug, self-satisfied smiles. Slap, slap. That’s what I want to do, but of course I don’t. There are a great many people in this world who need a good slap or two. It is this attitude I despise, this smugness. The unspoken words: The very fact that you’re not dead means you’re nuts. Well, that is indeed one thing that my continued existence could mean. But there’s one more thing it could mean, and it’s a thing no backwater greenfield graduated-at-the-bottom-of-my-class therapist would even allow as possible: I’m still alive because the protection is very efficient. I despise the attitude, but not the question. The question is one of the many that I have myself.

I’ve gone through my blog pages from the very beginning and mostly sanitized the anger I was pouring out in 2008 and 2009. There are equations in people’s heads that have been put there via trickle-down from the psychiatric community over the last twenty-five years: Emotional = nuts. Angry = nuts. Washing your hands too many times = nuts, and so on. I thought that some readers might reconsider the whole sanity issue if I took out my angriest words and sentences, or if I toned them down, and so for the most part I’ve done this. Another word I extracted almost every time I found it was the word kill. I’ve replaced it with harm, hurt, things like that. Saying that someone wants to kill you = nuts.

But that was the word in the room, and if I’m to hold to the truth as I’ve heard and seen it, I have to use that word in this post, because that was the word. On Wednesday 2 July of 2008, that was the word. Matthew and I were in the room, and we were there with the word kill. It wasn’t that people wanted to hurt me or harm or get me. It was the k-word.

Can you imagine what a shock that was to me, can you empathize with that? I’d only known for ten days that I was being protected from criminal stuff. And in those ten days, this is what I had envisioned someone possibly doing to me: a beating; broken teeth; broken bones;a stay in the hospital; maybe even as far as rape, but that was it. The idea that Judith’s pals would actually go all the way to the k-word was so ridiculous to my own mind that it never even entered my head in those ten days. That’s what I was nagging Matthew about on that July second: you’ve got too many people in the library with me all the time. I don’t like it. Nobody’s gonna beat me up in the library, for christ’s sake. And that’s when the k-word entered the room, and that’s when I kept saying You’re kidding, right? I couldn’t take it in. It took me days to take it in.

So why am I still alive? I don’t know. Matthew never told me how the protection works, how many people are involved in it, and why it is that someone doesn’t just shoot me while I’m walking along the street. No answers, no answers. The word kill was the one that Matthew used, and I have a sense that fed types from Burlington, Vermont would only get involved in the first place if it was a potential k-word situation. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t believe such mucky-mucks in the cop world would have protected a nobody like me unless the k-word was in the picture.

Another question never answered? How long is this going to go on? Little crumbs that told me almost nothing were all I got. On 13 July, a very bad day (this day has to be a page of its own), I got a crumb. We were sitting across from each other at a table in his backyard, waiting for his pal to do something I wasn’t supposed to see. We were both grim. I said: This has gone on longer than you people thought it would, hasn’t it? He says Yes in one of his idiot-voices, but there is no idiot in his eyes. His eyes are intelligent and sane and serious, as they always are, and they are full of regret. There is never an alcholic, idiotic loon in his eyes, no matter what ludicrous things he is wearing or saying or doing. Matthew’s eyes are always sane, and always contain the evidence of an extremely keen mind.

Another couple of crumbs: during the first two weeks of August there was all the talk about driver’s licenses and cars and maybe going to a new apartment. Around the twelfth there was a request that I should buy him a present. I argued, but my arguing was mostly just teasing. And he says: After all this, you can’t buy me a present? And I asked if “all this” was going to be over soon, and he said, of course, Maybe. And then, during the wee hours between August 17th and August 18th, just once: it’s almost over.

I don’t know why I’m still alive. I asked him more than once, no response. How am I still alive, also unanswered. When do they get tired of me and move on to other business? Unanswered. When do you people go on to other business and stop following me around? No answer. The fact that I cannot describe the process that has resulted in me still being alive doesn’t mean I’m nuts. It means I’ve asked for the knowledge, the description of this process that kept me alive, and have been denied this information. The fact that I can’t answer these things doesn’t mean the k-word was not in that room on that day in July of 2008. The fact that these protectors chose to protect me in this hellish undercover manner, never to show me an ID, never to knock on my door and tell truth to me, does not make me nuts. It makes me their property, perhaps. Their bait, perhaps. But it doesn’t make me nuts.

In this very town, turners falls, two people over the years have mentioned the word mafia to me in relation to their own lives. Two women. In 1993, one of these women told me she and her family believed that one of her sisters had been murdered by her mafia boyfriend. In 2009, the other one told me that her former husband had been a mafia man. And my mind, my intelligent, educated mind, did not jump up inside me and say: Nuts! Inside me my mind allowed for both possibilities: the possbility of ordinary people stumbling into mob people, and the possibility that these women were very angry and hurt and wanted to find the cause of their suffering. But never nuts. I’ve thought these two trolls unstable over other things, but not over using the m-word, and not over believing that they or their relatives had unwittingly brought mob people into their lives. Why can’t that same objective, critical thinking be afforded to me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

read…   Stolen stars…   Mishibone

 Share    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    website 

a href=”http://twitter.com/share” data-count=”none” data-via=”annegrace2″ data-related=”ziidjian:outre tweeting”>Tweet</a><script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js”></script

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~