~chapter seven~ ~children & angels alike~ ~part four~ ~never good enough~

WordWulf By WordWulf, 12th May 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Domestic Violence & Abuse

~I believed in angels when I was a boy~male angels & female angels~in the flesh with wings of kindness~nice folks who did a lot of suffering on their own~none of the angels I met could save me~they were tragic & could barely save themselves~what they did is save me from myself~taught me how to care for others~how to pick myself up & move on when I was wounded~I was never good enough to be one of them~it’s a step in the right direction believing~momma was an angel~

~never good enough~

“How rude of me. My name is Jude. Do you take sugar in your tea?”

I spoke for the first time to her and barely, “I.. uh.. I think so.”

I had never seen one so afflicted and not overcome in the least. She poured two cups of tea. “Two sugars?” she asked sweetly, a tiny silver tong come to her hand. I was tongue-tied. “I think three,” she laughed, “and two for me.”

I felt all giddy inside. I wanted to hug her and run away. Dad’s roofing axe pounded its ridge rhythm and sugar cubes dissolved before my eyes.

“Our imperfections can be used to define us,” Jude said softly. “Rather would I drink to them.” She lifted her glass cup and clinked it against mine.

I felt silly as soon as I said it, “Cheers,” and sipped a bit of tea. I had never had hot tea and sure hadn’t lived a life where toasts were offered. Social graces didn’t amount to much where I came from.

“One day your sight will be repaired,” she advised me. “Don’t forget what you saw before it was fixed.”

I didn’t know what to say to that but felt all at once as if something was very wrong. Then I realized what it was. Dad’s axe had stopped singing. I gulped my tea down. “Thank-you, Ma'am, I gotta go.”

“Jude,” she said, placing her hand on mine. “I know you have to go, Tommy, but you’ll see me again.”

I left the kitchen and stumbled down those six steps. Dad had fetched up the last wrapper full of shingle scraps.

“Ya ‘bout got it, Tommy?”

“That’s it,” I replied. Dad handed me the wrapper full of scraps and went back to get his ladder. We loaded the nail box, plastic cement and tools into the back of the truck. Dad took a long swig of schnapps for the road and we were off to get paid. The church people all talked about angels. I had never seen one. I wondered if they knew about Jude.

I waited outside in the truck while Dad went in to get paid. He was gone quite a while and unhappy when he returned. This being his first job for White House Decorating and, even though they guaranteed payment upon completion, they had to send someone out to inspect his work before they would cut him a check. There were plenty of times in Dad’s life when bosses had to send someone out to finish his jobs because he got drunk and left them half-done but there was never a question about the quality of his work. He was a journeyman, a drunk first a lot of the time, but a master craftsman and proud of that part of himself. The boss gave him twenty dollars to get through the weekend and said someone would check the roof and he could get paid Monday afternoon.

Daddy was sullen in his anger. I was happy for my own reasons and didn’t dare show it. Since he hadn’t gotten paid, Daddy wouldn’t have to go to the bar to cash the check. The roof was done, so we didn’t have to go back to work. Daddy couldn’t afford to go to the bar. Twenty dollars would hardly see his drinking through the weekend. Momma would be upset because he had promised her ten dollars for school supplies but those could be picked up next week. Bottom line, all things considered, there was little Daddy could do other than take me home. He was driving north on Sheridan Boulevard and made a hand signal to turn east at Twentieth Avenue. This was odd since 29th Avenue was the most direct route home. He pulled the truck into Sloan’s Lake Park and stopped by a big tree.

“Get the blanket,” he said as he leaned forward and reached under the seat. All my life I have been able to close my eyes and see Daddy’s face framed in the side window of his truck. He adjusts his hat, glances back and forth then tips that bottle in the bag to his lips. His arm in its long sleeved shirt wipes his mouth and death crawls into his eyes.

He slept for four hours. His body didn’t move a muscle. What if he drank so much of that stuff that he just laid there and died? I didn’t play the fart game that day. I didn’t eat the mushy butter laden sandwiches from the lunch bag. I didn’t drink water from the canvas hanging water bag. For once, I didn’t even feel sorry for myself. I just fell into my angel and went away. She wrapped me in the warmth and love of her broken wings.

Daddy was upset when he finally woke up. “Why the hell’d you let me sleep so long?”

I folded the blanket while Dad combed his hair. His eyes were blue and his face was a sponge to cry. He ignored my silence and drank his poison. The little black truck rattled its way through North Denver wearing its flaws like mud in its belly.

It was black dark when we got home. Dad parked on the street and tiny slices of light drew my eyes to the plywood portal from whence they came. All my life, everything I loved and cared about, was in there.

“Get the tools and bring ‘em in the front door,” Dad ordered. He put a full bottle of schnapps in the inside pocket of his jean jacket and went into the house. I was relieved to see the door open. Momma didn’t have it locked. Maybe that was a good sign. By the time I brought in the three buckets of tools, Momma and Dad were well along into a heated argument.

Jackie, Phillip, Lily and Linda were seated around the table eating supper. “Wuzzat?” Daddy asked, swirling his finger around in Jackie’s plate.

“Spaghetti,” Jackie replied, his voice dripping with fear.

Daddy plinked him in the head with a stiff finger. “I wasn’t talkin’ t’ you, asshole. You didn’t cook it, didja?”

Jackie shook his head and Daddy plinked him again.

“Oh, Tom, leave him alone,” Momma said. “Take your coat off and sit down. I’ll fix you something to eat.”

Daddy took off his coat and hung it on the chair behind Jackie. The bottle clanked against the wood of the chair, producing that liquid solid glass wood sound. It was a full one, a pint.

“What?” He glared at Momma. “I’m not good enough to eat what Mister Asshole’s eating? A man comes home from work and he expects ...”

“Tommy, take your brothers and sisters to the bedroom,” Momma said just under her breath. Daddy started to say something, changed his mind and slammed into the bathroom.

I moved over close to Momma and whispered, “Careful, he’s been drinkin’ a lot.”

“Oh, Tommy,” Momma said tiredly. “Take them to the bedroom and bring a bottle for Cheryl. She’s asleep in her bed.”

I got everyone into the bedroom but my mind was racing a hundred miles an hour. Dad was dangerous when he was like this and tonight he was looking for trouble. I prayed over and over in my heart and mind that Dad would just pass out and leave everyone alone.

“I want ...” Linda began and I stood up in front of the bedroom window.

“There’s ghosts out there,” I said in a low and scary voice. “I can see them through your reflection in the window. Do you see them see you?”

She grabbed hold of my leg and Phillip said, “Stop it Tommy. There ain’t no kin’ o’ stuffs like them ol’ ghosts. You’s jus’ tryin’ t’ scare us l’il kids.”

“Right there!” I growled. “Watch ‘em, they’re dancin’ and they’re sure gonna getcha!” My brothers and sisters gathered around me. Something in the kitchen crashed loudly and I heard Momma scream. “Jackie has the ghost magick. You all know that, don’t you?” I said soft as a whispered promise. “Jackie, show ‘em.”

“Ghost magic,” Jackie shook his head and looked me off to the door to the kitchen.

“Yeah Jackie,” Lily urged, “You show us ‘em nice ghosts, ‘kay?”

Everyone gathered around Jackie and I slipped from the room. Momma was across from me and to my right when I stepped from the bedroom. Daddy’s back was to me. He stood at the stove stirring the big pot of spaghetti.

“Hey bitch, you call this bucket o’ shit spaghetti?” he said to Momma. He scooped out a ladle full and moved toward her. She backed against the wall and he threw the scoop of sauce into her face. He ran his finger across her nose. “Hmmm, what we got here?”

He licked his finger. “Somethin’s missin’. Uh, honey dear, I do believe you forgot the hamburger again.”

Momma cleared her eyes with her fingers. “Just sit down, Tom. I told you that’s what me ‘n the kids ate for supper. If you give me some money, I’ll send the kids to the store for some hamburger. If you’d just sit down and eat some, I think you’d feel better.”

“Fuck that!” Daddy screamed. He stepped over and took the pot from the fire. He held the pot in one hand then went over and stood in front of Momma. He grabbed her by the hair and shoved her face toward the steaming pot. “Lookie see, honey, any fuckin’ hamburger in there?”

“I didn’t,” Momma began. “When one of us got paid, I planned to...”

Daddy crammed the steaming pot of hot spaghetti onto her head.

I moved to my left, knelt down and got the butcher knife from under the brown stove. For once I could see. Everything was clear to me, just like I knew it would be when this time came. It is what I was born to do. I held the knife in both hands, raised it and turned toward my father. I was music and words, smiling through the broken face of myself.

Momma had pulled the pot from her head and screamed in her humiliation and rage, “What do you want from me?”

She was a burning spaghetti woman, bloody sauce and white worms falling. Daddy laughed at her and smacked her head against the wall. “I want meat in my spaghetti, you fucking idiot!”

Momma's voice came after me. It was trying to scream its way through my death song. “No, Tommy ... please ... please ... don’t.”

Daddy backhanded the spaghetti from her face. “That’s better! You beg, bitch! That’s what I want from you!”

My legs were pistons. The steel in my hands was vengeance. Momma was my angel, my lady broken. I held the torch to heal and protect her. Daddy’s shoulder blades called to me, “Separate us. Divide this monster between us.”

Daddy grabbed a handful of spaghetti noodles from the floor and whipped Momma's face with them. “This what you feed a man works hard out in the weather all day, huh bitch?”

Three steps to go and it’s over. ‘God God God, give me strength,’ I prayed.

“Oh God, no!” Momma howled. “Please Tommy, please. I’ll make it all better, I promise!” Her eyes pried at my resolve. “You’re hurting me more than I can ever be hurt. Don’t do this to me, Tommy. Please don’t!”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Carroll!” Daddy pinned her against the wall. “What the hell’s got into you?” There was fear in his voice.

“Now, Tommy, now,” she moaned, “Just put it down, plleeeasse.”

The wind raged through my ringing brain then my legs turned to jelly, an itching warmth came over them as I pissed down between them where I stood. I turned my back on chance, her voice and its awesome power, laid the knife underneath the old brown stove. I slipped quietly from the room in my awful shame, past the buckets full of singing axes, mute and out the front door into my personal slice of darkness. There I became what I made, ghosts weeping in their awful danse, faces pressed to the threshing wheel, cowards and just too afraid to die.

It became crystal clear to me once and for all that Jackie was wrong, forever wrong. The squeaking is where all pain begins, the awful face of children sin.

Inquiries: wordwulf@gmail.com
©2014 graphic artwork music & words
conceived by & property of
tom (WordWulf) sterner 2014©
~also available at Amazon ~
~chapter one~
~chapter two~
~chapter three~
~chapter four~
~chapter five~
~chapter six~
~legend of new horse~


1958, 1959, Alcoholism, Angels, Art, Colorado, Denver, Family, Free, Good Enough, Memoirs, Missouri, Mommas Rain, Money, Mothers, Parenting, Philosophy, Photography, Poverty, Religion, Saint Louis, Sons, Survival, Tom Wordwulf Sterner, Violence, Wikinut, Writer

Meet the author

author avatar WordWulf
I write novels, poetry, songs,nonsense & lies. Sometimes truth sneaks in when I ain't lookin'.

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