The Curse of Frankenstein
In fifty-seven when I was ten my Ďotherí family took us to the drive-in movie and we saw the first color Frankenstein movie. I say Ďotherí because I had two families at the time. Long before I was old enough to remember, I had been one of Solomonís babies, divided up. I lived with one set of parents and on alternate weekends, visited the Ďotherí.
It was a bad setup, and if Iíd had my way, the judge in all his wisdom, should have been shot or forced to read 1 Kings 3:16-28 , write it on the board, and made to wear pink, a much less serious color than his usual somber robes, to mark his twisted sense of humor.
The effect was that I felt comfortable with one set of parents and not with the Ďotherí. As far as I was concerned, one knew me and the other one didnít. While with the Ďotherí I either felt I was on display, or worse, separated or cut off. After Iíd gone to college and learned five years of English lit and sophistication I referred to it as the Sylvia Path or Ďbell-jarí effect.
From two to eighteen I was Ďthe boy with two livesí and didnít much care for one of them. After eighteen, I abandoned the Ďotherí one, and by twenty-two the set I loved and lived with had jumped ship and abandoned me. My mother took the lifeboat, or I should say deathboat, of Cancer, and in her way steered clear of me, and my dad jumped on the leaky boat of cerebral hemorrhage for his bloody way out, leaving me, a wreck of unconsciousness, slowly sinking inch by inch into the depths of forgetfulness as icy and numbing as the North Atlantic.
I mean to say that fortunately or unfortunately, by that time Iíd discovered Valium, and as a result, donít remember one second of either of their funerals. Iíve never done public death well. Iíve never taken notes and memorized what polite thing to say, or how to feel. Youíre never much good at consoling, when youíre expert at loss. Youíre just not made of the right material.
I should have scrounged a dog-eared a set of Cliffís notes on death and dying, or boned up on Elizabeth Kubler Ross, but itís too late, and, as Robert Graves once said, 'goodbye to all that' for now.
©Steven Hunley 2013