It took my wife to tell me of what my mom had said; reminded me.

I was the boy who nobody wanted anything to do with.  The one who was often shoved aside; put in the corner to watch and wait – a smiling child, a gregarious child, a curious and inquisitive child – too inquisitive, apparently; it drove our great-grandmother wild.

“You were always shoved aside,” my mom told me.  “They (the elders on my father’s side) didn’t like you; didn’t want anything to do with you.”

This from the woman who didn’t want children, male children most of all.  Nor female, for those were “more trouble than they’re worth”.  And I was the second child – a planned one, unlike my brother who had inconvenienced her life by showing up in the first place.  Born to a dad who wanted a girl – always wanted one – but found he had a son instead – one he didn’t want, because he’d had one already.  (I shudder to think of what would have happened had his wish come true; had I been born a girl.  I would have been raped to death in that one neighborhood – just like my child bride – and perhaps used by another – my uncle, I’m thinking, though he’s a little gay.  Don’t ask me how I found out – I don’t want to tell.)

“Your father’s mom always bought little Richie everything,” she’d go on to say (my mom), “when we’d go up there to visit – and she’d buy you nothing.  You didn’t matter at all.  They really didn’t like you, you know . . .”

(“you really were quite a burden you know,” I recall my grandmother saying – this another one – “Your parents were poor . . . you shouldn’t have ever been born to them.”  This was when I was what – 15? 16? 17? . . . just so you know where you’re standing.)

It took my wife to remind me of all this: my momma’s story about how I was shuffled aside; ignored at family ‘meetings’, get togethers and things.  But only among the adults.  Between us kids it was something different – we were just kids, not involved in family politics – so we played . . .

But I remember going over to grandmother 1’s: the not-mother of my father, the woman who had taken control – indeed, taking control of the entire family “out there” (meaning the Midwest).  She was (I reckon) the aunt or her husband the uncle of my father – the relationships have never been clear – but I remember going over there several times, and I’d be relegated to the basement.  Ditto the mother of my mom’s own mom (the ancient grandmotherly type) – sentenced to the basement while the others ran wild upstairs sometimes – not that I was not allowed to be with them – it’s just usually I would be gently encouraged and led back down those dark dank stairs into the basement – which was really quite airy actually, and had a humongous furnace in the back – or my “aunt’s” basement where the old antiques lay . . .

I’d poke about, sticking my nose into every corner, trying everything – always a curious child . . . a problem one, according to my great-grandmother’s thinking – but she was kind (and always one of my favorites) – stern, old fashioned – but kind (in her own sort of way) and I treasured HER very much (not the one on my father’s side).

Not wanted . . .

brings me to that teenage thing again (see how the circles wander . . . coming back to connect to one another again? such is the nature of association, the abuse association again . . . ) how he had wanted me – got me – used me for some time . . .

and simply shamed me away.

But then: there’s more to that.  That was in the Terrible November, the Horrible October – That ONE in which everything we were went wrong; everything blew apart, and our lives were shattered forever . . . once again.

I’m gonna have to write about that thing.  It’s hard; very hard; it was a hard time; little Mikie suffered somewhat . . .

and then he ‘died’ – in every classic sense of the world – ‘going away’ forever (it seemed) – while some ‘others’ began taking over (13: his name, not a number in there) – after we got yanked up by the roots – already traumatized some by what had happened (death, horrible nightmares; bad things; sick sick sick) – loss of ALL friends – everything, everyone . . .

and we were alone.

The little boy who tried had died inside

and it was time to begin again.

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