They all wanted me to be some sort of All American dream girl. I was the tall blonde. I should have baked apple pie. I should have spent more time at the beach. I would have spent more time at the beach, playing in the surf and dancing around bonfires and singing and strumming on an acoustic guitar if Peter hadn’t broke my heart. It has been speculated upon by a few men who liked to play papa Smurf to my Smurfette that my heart was already broken before that. If this is so, and it was already broken in half before he arrived on the scene, then he finished the job. He smashed it to smithereens and then the man who was to be my husband came and defecated on the splintery dust that remained.
Broken heart dust is one of the most shimmering lust evoking substances available. It calls like a siren and cuts like diamonds. A man can’t help but want to touch broken heart dust, but like those phantasmal stalagmites that grow in deep caverns, broken heart dust is finally completely destroyed when it is handled by greasy hands. The oil from callused man hands turns it to slimy heart goo, a substance too toxic to be handled ever more. You need a HazMat team of psychologist to dispose of it properly, so you can go around as a functionally heart less adult like the rest of the walking dead that populate the earth.
My story telling was encouraged as a child. A second grade teacher begged my mother to record my stories and type them up. My father started insisting sometime around then, (I can’t be sure exactly when, I think it would have been after he was released from prison) that I should write a children’s book and make my family rich. The idea was more than a little bit suffocating. The emphasis was not to be on telling the stories germinating in the neon green Elysium of my soul, but rather on writing something that others would approve of. All American stories perhaps.
I tried to do anything I could to please. Once my father took me with him to work. He pulled mobile homes with a big diesel truck. He had me out there trying to help him hitch the modular to his truck.(I think this is before prison and before second grade). I had no idea what he wanted me to do. He kept shouting at me, and at last something went finally quite wrong and my finger was badly smashed under the entire weight of a prefab house. Bouncing along in the cab of the truck on the way home he was miserably sorry. He looked so sad and broken and guilty that I started trying to make him feel better
That is something that I started to do habitually. Both of my parents were actually so sad and such desperately impoverished souls that I made it my full time occupation to make them happy. Like a pet. Like a clown. Like something you can smoke now and forget about later. I was such a perfect kiss ass that grandmothers all over town adored me. My friends mothers preferred me to their own children. I seemed to be the perfect young lady. And if it was an act, then it was some serious method acting. I stayed in character day and night and in my dreams I was trapped in a black and white cartoon running in place while the big bad wolf closed in on me.
I more or less spoon fed the broken shards of my heart to the man the world would call my husband. I was already in the habit. I smiled and recommended it as the best medicine for night terrors and fear of death and loneliness. I was sure with just one dose of my magick heart shards he would be fully recovered. But one dose wasn’t enough. He needed another and another… and kind of think of it, it hadn’t cured my parents either. Having had his way with my heart without finding the cure for his pain he proceeded to have his way with my body, forcing me to bend over my pregnant belly or lay on my side so that he could penetrate me from behind while I cried. Still he felt no better so we applied for credit cards in my name and he bought microbrews and video games and candy for our babies, and smashed the presents I gave him and punched the night stand to no avail.
I never then wore an apron or baked an apple pie. I did not write a best selling children’s story. I watched the episode of friends in which Monica and Chandler got married and decided that maybe that was the missing ingredient. I begged him to marry me. After the screaming and tear shedding had turned to mutual exhaustion he at last agreed. We found a minister in the yellow pages and my parents drove us to meet her at a duck pond and they held our infant children while we agreed to that meaningless list of things that all married people have agreed to. His suffering was no less and still I baked no apple pie.
We lived with my parents. He couldn’t hold a job. My hair was less blond. My skin was stretched and my breast were like balloons, first swollen beyond credibility as I nursed our children, then deflated and sagging when they were of no interest to anyone anymore. Then I said I didn’t want to live with him, I couldn’t make him happy. He shot himself dead.
By then the girl was all gone from my all American.
Then came the Papa Smurfs. Bearded men from countries I had never heard of (that at least was American of me), who tried to help me recover well enough to pass out flowers at airports. That last part is a joke. Moonies weren’t called Moonies anymore and no one was allowed in airports without a boarding pass by that time. I was pregnant with my second babe when the airplanes crashed into the towers in far off New York. Sitting with my big belly between me and a table of immigrant kindergartners, I caught a glimpse of the television set in the lounge between classrooms as another teacher came in and whispered that there had been an attack. The two teachers stood in the doorway gazing at the screen, their bright lip stick stained mouths transformed into masks of tragedy. They were horrified. I felt elated. We could be touched. We could be changed. We could be released from the life-leaching spell of the all American. Our bleached white hell might not be eternal. It could go up in plumes of black smoke and sky licking tongues of flame. One day the dream might be shattered, not just broken, and then I might be released from its terrible grasp. Some day I might escape and become something undreamed of.