March 19 Iraq War Blogswarm 3/19/03–3/19/08:
Here’s a Bush marking the five year anniversary slide show. I’ll save you the trouble, because who actually wants to look at him?. He said we’ll stay with the course while he acknowledged the cost has been much more than anticipated. Of course all the costs are much more. As I remember the war supposedly ended about six weeks after it began
Courting Destiny began as our way of protesting the RNC in New York in 2004. Our original url, freenynyfrombush.blogspot.com is one of our proudest partial lines. We didn’t know that some crazy radical rightists thought they ran the blogosphere, and yes we can admit it now, made us kind of cry. We wouldn’t back down then and we’re certainly not going to back down now.
Bush came into New York on Friday. If you haven’t read Gail Collins amazing article about his stupidity read it now. His statement reminded me of Karl Rove’s remarks when he came to New York, the city that was attacked, and said “liberals want therapy for terrorists.” Actually Bush is stupid and dangerous; Rove is pure danger–not in a good way. Wasn’t going to let the fifth anniversary go by without some Rove Rage. He might have resigned from the administration but his legacy lives on.
I wrote this story in my head while walking down some country roads. North Myrtle is the beach, burbs, country and city all in one. i didn’t want my fiction return to be dark, but 3/19 is a day for darkness It’s a 3WW. I added the words that Bone supplied. It’s a first very rough draft. Actually I don’t like this story. I want to write lighter more fun things. But today has never been one of my favorite days–began a long time before the war and I remember everything about today, five years ago.
Saw a screening of a 9/11 film with a friend in Times Square. It was too soon for me. Had to review it and have no idea if it was good or not.
Six weeks before my sister and I had to run around finding money to pay estate taxes on our mother’s estate. We wouldn’t have had to pay taxes two years later. It’s hard to feel good about paying a bit for an unnecessary war. Many people have paid much more in other ways.
America is so troubled. I almost think a person has to be disturbed to go into politics. Don’t think most parents want their children to grow up to be president anymore.
Two of the words were very easy. One was very difficult.
Allie could barely remember a time Jay hadn’t been in her life. Her older sister Suzie had taken him to Allie’s Sweet Sixteen, in 1970. Allie was jealous at her own party of her beautiful eighteen year old sister who was hanging onto the most gorgeous man she had ever seen. Jay had long curly dark brown hair, and a look in his dark blue eyes that entranced Allie. He had recently returned from Viet Nam and was attending Suzie’s school.
Suzie soon moved into Jay’s apartment. Allie smoked her first joint there, and barely minded when she watched them shoot up. Suzie said all the hip kids at school did. Jay had moods where he would get real quiet and suddenly begin screaming and banging walls. Suzie said smack mellowed him.
The moods got worse and no drug helped him. Suzie and her friends brought him to the VA which immediately admitted him. His roommate was an 80 year old shell shocked World War One vet. Jay seemed to get even more moody but the VA said there was nothing they could do.
Suzie was pregnant and she married Jay. Allie was the only person from their family who attended the wedding. When Trevor was born, Allie fell in love and spent all her free time taking care of him. Suzie and Jay dropped out of school and she was soon pregnant again. Lilibet was the most beautiful baby Allie had ever seen.
Allie moved in with them when she graduated high school. Somebody had to cook, clean and take care of the kids. Suzie was pregnant again. She claimed that pregnancy helped her stop doing drugs and put up with Jay’s moods. He supported them with his disabled vet’s checks and dealing. Everybody in Port Harbor and Port Harbor College knew where the best drugs could be found.
Allie and Suzie’s parents took early retirement and moved to Arizona. They didn’t want to be associated with their own daughters. It hurt but Allie knew she was needed and doing the right thing.
They moved into a large rental house overlooking the harbor. It should have been nice but Allie could never get it clean enough. By 1977 there were five kids; Jay was too far gone to deal, and the still beautiful Suzie ran off one night with one of the biggest dealers in the East. Nobody ever saw them again.
Every year or so Jay would go to the VA for a few weeks. He had stopped doing smack in the mid 70’s, but could never get it together to find a job or do anything really.
Allie had begun sleeping with Jay during Suzie’s first pregnancy. That was encouraged by Suzie who wanted to keep it all in the family. When he was on smack he usually couldn’t do anything.
Suzie would hang with her friends several nights a week. She said Jay was a great lover when straight and sometimes on smack but there were times….On nights she stayed home, she needed Allie to take care of the kids.
Allie didn’t resent it. She wasn’t as pretty or extroverted as her sister. College had never been her dream. She loved it when Suzie said she was the best sister in the world. Jay was a great lover a third of the time.
Allie wasn’t stupid. She had always wondered how Suzie could get pregnant so easily. She doubted most of the kids were his, but they were her nieces and nephews.
By 1977 there were five kids; Jay was too far gone to deal, and the still beautiful Suzie ran off one night with one of the biggest dealers in the East. Nobody ever saw them again.
Allie was the only mother the three younger kids really knew but Trevor and Lilbet pined for Suzie.
It seemed the most natural thing in the world for Allie to move into Jay’s bedroom. She figured sex was overrated.
In 84 when Suzie had been gone seven years, she was declared legally dead and Allie married Jay.
Jay’s parents were killed in an accident. He was an only child they always meant to disinherit but never got around to. There was more than enough money to buy the house and live well. They never did anything. The house was filled with TV’s, stereos and toys.
Allie wondered if Suzie would have stayed around if she knew about the money. She wondered if Suzie would have made life more exciting. She felt guilty about declaring Suzie dead but that had been one thing Jay’s VA counselor insisted on. The counselor was always expecting Jay to die or be committed. He never expected Jay to stay straight. He didn’t seem to get that Jay was too far gone to care about drugs.
Jay’s moods turned darker and darker. They heard about post traumatic stress disorder. Allie forced Jay to go to meeting with other vets and to the VA for meds. Nothing seemed to help. Allie wasn’t going to give up.
Trevor and Lilibet never listened to Allie: “You’re not my mother, I don’t have to do what you say,” being their favorite saying. She understood. Their mother was the beautiful vaguely remembered Suzie. They left when they were seventeen.
Allie cried herself to sleep every night for years. She couldn’t really blame them.
They could afford help. Allie tried to hire a few psychiatric aides. None ever worked out. Only Allie could calm Jay. He would wake up sweating and screaming.
He would attack objects as though they were an enemy. He never touched the kids or Allie. The VA counselors made sure Social Services knew that.
Every person she hired to cook or clean would leave. Allie understood.
She was grateful he was alive. Most of the men in his platoon were dead; by their own hand or from cancer. A few lived in facilities. Allie always remembered the shell shocked vet. That wasn’t going to happen to Jay, not while she was alive.
The younger kids went as far away for college as possible. Cori the youngest girl told Allie as much as she loved her she couldn’t live in the dark anymore.
The years went on. Jay’s behavior kept changing. Even Allie was forced to admit she was living with a crazy man. Her only solace was that he didn’t go live in the woods.
There were times when he was human and remembered to shower and take care of his basic hygiene without Allie leading him into the bathroom.
When Allie would do errands people would get out of the way. Allie was a stranger in the town she had been born in. She understood. When Jay was younger people in town thought he looked like Charles Manson. She laughed at that in her teens and 20’s.
She was Port Harbor’s Squeaky Fromme, the town pariah. Her children hadn’t been allowed to play with the other kids. Except for wondering about Suzie, Allie never questioned her life. It was fate that bound her to Jay. Simply fate that made her sister’s children hers. Not love.
He was fat. Truly he was gross. Frequently she would have to put diapers on him. Still she couldn’t let him live in an institution. He had been her whole life forever.
Allie’s hair turned an unattractive white when she was in her 30’s. She didn’t care. Nor did she care about fashion. Her childhood friends had stopped speaking to her. It happened so slowly she didn’t notice.
Allie and Jay were stuck in a time warp when everybody else were busy building lives. She didn’t understand YUPPIES. She didn’t understand why people cared about exercise or life in the 80’s then 90’s and the turn of the century.
Allie didn’t get why people lived as though they were rich. Allie and Jay were and lived as if they had nothing. The VA counselor stopped worrying about Jay and began worrying about Allie. Her life was too tangled in Jay’s. She didn’t listen. There was a new counselor every few years.
In the late 90’s the VA became grungy again. The counselors went through the motions. Allie only cared that they give Jay proper meds. She was glad that they stopped “experimental” treatments and that psychiatrists no longer studied Jay for research projects.
Allie hadn’t read a book in years. First she had to take care of the kids and Jay, then Jay became so much work. Sometimes the TV would calm him; other times he would punch it.
For Allie life had stopped somewhere in the 70’s. Allie had one mission in life; taking care of Jay. She had been a good mother but she hadn’t been a fun one or a stimulating one. She understood why they left. She failed them. Never even took them to a museum or a movie.
The older kids would take the younger ones. Allie had to take care of Jay. She never knew when he would retreat into himself or go into a rage. Each year the good days could be counted on one hand.
The three youngest kids made it clear that Allie could visit them without Jay, and they would never come to the house of darkness. She knew they didn’t really want her to visit. Each child would call every third Sunday. Trevor and Lilibet kept in touch with Cori. Cori was a research psychologist. The middle two lived off the trusts Allie had established for them.
Cori tried to get Allie and Jay help until she finished her PHD and realized her parents were beyond help. Despite her profession she refused to analyze her past. If she thought about it she would hate them and she didn’t want to hate the only family she had known.
Her husband and his family helped her see what a “normal rational” family was like. Cori laughed easily. Allie went to see Cori after her first baby was born. She never went again. Said she would be in the way. Said many things but it was too painful for Allie to see what kind of mother she could have been. When Cori was a child she reminded Allie of herself The other kids were just like Suzie.
The pain stopped as soon as Allie saw Jay. He needed her. Honestly she forgot why she didn’t want to go back to Cori’s.
Trevor got married and divorced so often Allie’s head would spin. After 9/11 he joined the National Guard and she was glad that finally there was something stable in his life.
One day she got a phone call. It was somebody from The National Guard. Allie felt the room spinning. With one ear and eye she listened to Jay screaming about an enemy. With her other ear she listened to the voice on the phone.
Trevor wasn’t dead, the voice almost cheerily informed her. He had a traumatic head injury. The voice said that he wouldn’t have survived prior wars.
Allie found herself asking question after question. She hadn’t talked so much in years. He wasn’t going to die. He wasn’t even going to be a vegetable. He probably would have much lowered IQ and behavioral problems.
Allie found herself saying:
Shit, another one.