Boots
(Tokoni 05/28/2009)

It’s funny sometimes how a single word or phrase can conjure up an image from the past. Sometimes, of course, it can be a smell or something you see. But with some things – well some things are strange, just like memories. And talking with my brother about our shared past is one of them.

My brother was talking one day – we were just talking in general about the old man’s behaviors when we were kids – comparing notes, I guess – and he really hates the old man a lot more than I do. Being as he was the older brother (still is by my count), he should remember more of what went on than I do – but (amazingly to me!) – he doesn’t. However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t remember some, and he often remembers things I have forgotten (or just didn’t want to remember.) The mind is funny that way – it likes to play the old “cup and ball” game with memories sometimes – quick! What cup is THAT memory under? And sometimes you never know. Then along comes brother, taps a cup with his finger – and wallah! There it is!

My brother did this, oh, about a year ago. It’s not the first time he’s done it. (It’s like a magic trick to me, it really is! Poor, strange, mucked up magician.) He tossed out a cup just a couple weeks ago – and wallah! There it is: the old man holding me up by one ankle and whaling the bejeezus-come-and-save me coin. Another tap and – yes! There it is: you were RIGHT big brother, he DID take me into my room by myself and whip me until you heard me scream, scream, scream. Gee, whut fun this game is. (NOT!) But it’s good to know – and I’ve finally figured out why:

It explains why I don’t love the old fart. Why I secretly detest him. Why he sets me on edge. Why . . . I guess why I hate him in so many ways, and at least part of the reason I don’t trust him with kids. Because I know: he’s a secret ‘closet sadist’. And not just with animals, but with kids. Funny thing is: he’s such a wimp with pain. You’d think with him being so sensitive to any poke or prod, he’d of had more compassion for his kids. But . . . he don’t. Or doesn’t. Or didn’t. I don’t know: you pick the word.

But getting back to the word: Boots. My brother and I are talking about some of the stuff that went on – I’m trying to edge him towards what went on ‘over there’ – meaning between the teenager and us – but being careful. I mean – it’s easy talking about the physical and mental abuse, but the ‘other’ stuff – well, that’s a whole different ballgame. And with my brother you have to be careful. He hasn’t ‘healed’ I guess as much as I, or if so, he’s healed mad.

My brother won’t admit – or hasn’t admitted – what went on with the kid next door, the teenager. And I – well, I just don’t have the guts to directly approach him about it. Oh, I’ve beaten around the bush a bit, but I’m pretty careful about that sort of thing – if you beat around the bush too much, you’ve defined what’s hiding in it. And my brother is a staunch homo-hater. Not a homophobe, because homophobia means a ‘fear of homosexuals”. He just hates ’em. Violently so. And . . . well, I suspect he would go off in a violent rage if I said “hey, Bro, don’t you remember THIS and THIS and THIS?” Either that, or he would deny it. Or he’s thoroughly blocked it. I don’t know.

Odd that we can discuss the physical abuse so much easier. Why is that? Personally I think it’s because of society’s views towards sexuality as a whole: the Americans are such prudes! Which may be part of the reason we have so much of it on TV; why they snicker at nude art, and why we are so continuously fascinated with it. It is the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome, I reckon. We really like sex – everyone I know does – but we hate to admit it. Blame it on our Puritan ancestors, I guess. At any rate, I think its messed up the way we tend to hide it – and then put it in plain site; gossip about OTHER’s sexual activities – but refuse to divulge our own in shame and embarrassment. I guess that’s part of being human – being weird. (Of course I have to bear in the back of my mind I wasn’t ‘raised right’ anyway. That might have something to do with it. But what IS right? – aside from what society and your own heart (influenced by society) says it is?)

But anyway – focusing back on the title of this story – to help focus my mind, I guess, because I tend to wander (shy?) away from some memories. We are talking and Bro says:

“I hated the way he would come home and start kicking us with his boots.”

Bingo. Cup is lifted. There it is: the memory coming home to roost. An image flies through my mind: us two little kids, cowering underneath the dining room table – and these big ol’ combat boots lashing out at our faces, arms, hands – anything they could connect with. Chairs scuffling away from the table, removing our last bit of protection. The old man circling around, trying to get in another kick. Bammo whammo – secrets untold, revealed with one word.

Boots.

A word that brings back some memories (like magic!, a part of my mind says, using one of those TV announcer’s voices).

Boots.

And ow. They hurt.

(And remembering still – here on May 27, 2011 . . . this shit went on until we were in our middle teens – cowering under the dining room table while he kicked and thrashed at us – circling the table like a vulture – just big enough that you could hide on one side while he kicked on the other – but woo unto the child who was too slow moving under those table legs and the chairs!  Ow, they hurt almost as bad as those boots sure did.  Getting knocks on the head from bumping the table . . . and then HIM calming down and going away somewhere – usually to his bedroom to take them boots off (his uniform, too).  Laying down on the bed for a mid-afternoon nap – probably dreaming he was in ‘Nam.  Us straightening out things around the table so mom wouldn’t get mad when she got home (she was as bad as he was in her own way – and we’d have to clean THAT mess on up, too, don’t cha’ know!)

anyhoo . . . made things sort of fun and interesting, in a dry detached sort of way.  As long as you don’t look at it too closely  . . . and see those two 8 year olds and 9 year olds (and probably even younger; we don’t remember it ALL – but brother has slowly (albeit unknowingly and oft-times accidentally) filling us in.)

Until later.

Your friend and yours.
Cruzzer & Co (meaning Elvis and Friends, LOL’ing, meaning …

see ya!

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