Monday, 12 March 2012

Open Letter # 4 - Aunt Bev

I'm actually considering sending this...but if I don't, perhaps it's a therapeutic moment on my way to getting this toxic shit out of me.

Aunt Bev,

I’m fairly certain this is going to come out at you from left field. I’m almost 41 after all, and with this we’re going back 35+ years. But it doesn’t make it any less tragic, trivial or devastating to me. In fact…it’s something I still think about or dream about or have some effect on me almost every day. And I know to some degree there was nothing you could do about it or didn't have any hand in whatsoever, however let me assure you…the parts you could have done something about, you should have. Let me tell you Aunt Bev…there’s a LOT of anger still there…some misplaced granted as I can never tell that little cock knocking little shit weasel of an ex-husband of yours what I truly think of him because he's dead and rotting in Hell where he belongs, but some of this rage and blame I have sits firmly and squarely on your shoulders.

When I was 4 and 5, Kristen and my world was turned upside down. We were shuttled off to you in Toronto (keep in mind we didn’t really know you, or if we did know you…it certainly wasn’t well – you did live in Toronto after all with Bruce and Noel, and really anything outside of Sarnia was a great mystery) to live in your home with you. You were the allusive Auntie Bev...a mystery, a wonder, a curiosity...and I thought my champion. How wrong and disillusioned I was.

I understand now; as an adult; the difficulty of which it must have been bringing 2 children in whose parents were going through a divorce, into your home. Children who had no concept of what was going on to their family. But let me assure you, the manner in which we were treated was unconscionable and scarred both Kristen and I permanently.

Don’t get me wrong; the trips to CN Tower, Science Centre, Casa Loma, Centre Island, and The Toronto Zoo were GREAT things to do with kids, not to mention the Pow Wow you had…fantastic!  Kids love culture, and I’m a firm believer in that sort of thing. But having said that, what we had to go through to get those little tastes of freedom, was traumatic.

Just let me refresh your memory in case you have forgotten, because let me assure you – I have not. I think one of the most traumatic memories you had a hand in was the large black developer timer in the kitchen. You used it so that when we would get behind in eating our breakfast it would help speed us up. News flash didn't help. I remember feeling a sense of impending doom so you could lock us out in the backyard for the day, if we weren’t done by the time that timer buzzed…tough shit, out the door without the rest of our breakfast. I remember one day, being so damn tired, and that tick, tick, tick began…and I began to sob. Literally sob because I knew, there was no way that I would ever finish my food before that Godforsaken buzzer would go off. I remember gagging on my eggs and feeling literal trauma wash over me. I have a vague recollection of being laughed at and being told to “Hurry up then”. And I’m sure you’ll say it was Noel’s idea (and what the hell do I know! Maybe it was!) But it doesn’t make it any less cruel. WE WERE CHILDREN FOR FUCK SAKES. Did you know that 20+ years later, Kristen and I were wandering through Kensington Market one Saturday or Sunday afternoon and she about had a nervous break down and burst into tears because we saw one for sale at a flea market? She couldn't recall where she'd seen one before, but what a Pavlovian response. I knew exactly where she had seen that hateful dial before. I vowed from that moment, I would never...EVER rush my children to eat their breakfast, lunch or dinner. NOTHING was worth the trauma or scars. NOTHING.

Once we did (or didn’t) complete breakfast we were locked out….LOCKED OUT of the house so that you and Noel could work – What the hell you did that we had to be locked out of the house for is beyond me. I certainly don’t recall anyone coming over to the house besides perhaps Bruce’s friends – and truthfully I don’t really recall any of them either because we never saw past the fence with the exception of the Pow Wow. But to hear you talk, we knew everyone of his friends. Well no, I hate to break it to you...but we didn't because we never left that fucking back yard. Kristen and I could practically speak rudimentary Italian by the end of the first summer because of the lady next door out gardening everyday would teach us things for crying out loud! She would hand us fruits and veggies out of her garden to snack on. Bring us glasses of water...not a day went by that we didn't get a 'Buongiorno' from her. Did you never notice? Do you really go through life with your head that far shoved up your ass or in the sand? I can't fathom that.

Have you any idea how many times Kristen or I peed in the back yard because you didn’t get to the door in time for us to go to the washroom? And God FORBID we pee our pants! I can’t even imagine that! Do you have any idea how bored we were? We had a pool, and a card table with crayons and paper for fuck sakes. No books, no interaction with ANYONE else except with each other (and the lady next door), and thank the GODS for that. And THEN, when that sick fuck of a husband of yours got annoyed that Kristen was upset and crying (AT SIX YEARS OLD, FOR MISSING HER PARENTS) he sat there and said he was going to get a crib for her to sleep in because she was a baby. SHE WAS SIX YEARS OLD FOR FUCK SAKES!!!

Do you know we would PRAY for rain? Literally? PRAY for it to be a rainy day. On rainy days we couldn’t possibly go outside! Fantastic! What child PRAYS for it to be a rainy day??? I can assure you, we did.

And I will reiterate, I realize not EVERY ounce of this is your fault, or your doing – but you certainly didn’t help our situation. You should have been our advocate, our champion…but you weren’t, at all. And unfortunately I will never forget that.

I’ve tried in vain to let it go. I’ve tried to move on. I’ve looked at pictures of the house (and truthfully it’s a lovely house visually). The house is ingrained on my mind, seared in to my minds eye. I know every inch of that house by heart, whether I want to, or not. Maybe I need therapy to let this go and get over it. But I also think I need to yank your head out of the sand and make you realize that it wasn’t this fantastic fabulous vacation that you’ve made it out to be in your head.

Did you realize Kristen and I have even wondered if we were molested by Noel? I’d LIKE to think if we were, and you knew about it…you would have put a stop to it. But that begs the question…if we were…did you know about it? There’s just some shit that doesn’t add up. Weird moments, memories that was just…wrong.

I don’t think Mom ever knew about any of these horrific memories. I know I never spoke to her about them. I know we begged Dad at one point during one of the summers to take us back to Sarnia with him when he came to Toronto for a visit. Literally begged him. I remember Kristen sobbing hysterically and pleading with him to no avail.What was he to do? He wasn't prepared to take us home, he had no where to put us, not to mention the fact that he was an emotional basket case himself. His marriage had fallen apart and his life was a mess. What was he to do? Here he thought we'd been left in a stable environment...he knows the truth now though. Rest assured.

I wish, I truly, truly wish that I could erase all the bad memories and feelings I have of those two summers from my head and remember them as you do as fun, carefree days of summer. But sadly, and truthfully – those are false memories and delusions. As I said before some of the days, some of the memories were exonerated bliss from our backyard prison. But sadly, they were few and far between – and certainly do not make up for the torturous horrendous scars they left behind.

I love you Aunt Bev, I truly do. You are one of my last few links I have left back to my Mother and I want to forgive you for your hand in this. But the emotional weight of the scars that you had a hand in, weigh heavy on me sometimes. Those days helped mould me into the person that I am today…and not always in a good way. Unfortunately those sorrowful scars and hurt cannot be taken away with a slide show or a quaint limerick or a ride on the subway.


1 comment:

  1. All you need from this woman is an "I'm sorry" and things could heal. I am so sorry this happened to you guys