Home » A Wasted Life » The House

The House

When I sold my mama and daddys’ house and was headed for Florida, I wanted to take one last look at the house I had “grown up in” (when I wasn’t at my grandma and grandpas’ house.)  I had never lived in the house I bought.  My daddy bought it in the seventies after I was long gone.

A man bought the original house and was running a massage parlor out of it.  I think it was a real massage parlor (as least it looked real.)  It had been for sale before I bought my mama and daddys’ house.  I called the real estate broker and was ready to buy it, but the broker never showed up and I had to get back to Florida.  Now that I think back, it was probably for the best.

The owner was very gracious about letting me come in and look around.  The first thing I saw was the staircase I hid under when mama gave me my first black eye.  I could feel every emotion that I had felt fifty-five years earlier….the pain, the terror…the sense of being worthless.

I looked around the living room and told him where the piano once stood.  Somebody had removed the floor to ceiling bookshelves that were behind glass doors.  The room looked so small for some reason.  The closet was still there and so was the fireplace but the turret had been replaced with a flat wall.

The room that used to be the kitchen was now a bedroom.  The clawfoot bathtub we actually used had been painted a bright turquoise and was sitting in that room.

We went up to the attic and I remembered how I used to climb out a tiny window and hoist myself up on the roof.  I would sit up there for hours…pretending that the peak of the roof was a horse.  I remembered where the door to the attic had been.  The attic caught on fire once and my daddy changed the entrance after that.

We went back downstairs and I told him what each room used to be.  I could still picture the armoires and the lions’ paw dining room table.  I remember the huge windows that rattled when the wind blew.  I could still smell the dank flower pots that were brought inside when winter was setting in.

I remembered where the stove had been…the only source of heat, except for the fireplaces in every room.

I asked him what happened to the garage.  He didn’t know there had been one.  I told him I used to crawl up into the rafters and play and wait and pray and dream and hope.  It was long gone.

We went outside and I showed him where it used to be.  I showed him where a huge oak tree used to stand.  There was a Mimosa tree in the lower yard but both of those trees were gone.

He said a psychic had come by for a massage and she told him that a diamond had been lost in the yard.  That was true.  Mama lost her wedding ring in the yard and never found it.  He said the psychic also said she “saw great sorrow attached to this house.”  I guess so.  It was the house where I killed my little brother and where my mama almost beat me to death.

We went back to the kitchen and he brought out a shoebox.  He took things out one at a time.  The first was a letter that I had written.  The second was a “Workbasket” crochet book that belonged to mama.  The third was a phone bill for $4.95.  The last thing he took out was a picture of a horse.  I had drawn it and there was a line coming from its hind leg, much like it would look if somebody had suddenly hit my arm.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table, drawing that horse and mama came up behind me and slapped me.  My arm jerked, hence the line.

I must have looked at those things a little too long and held them a little too close, because as he was gathering them up to return them to their box, he hesitated.  He looked at me and said “you need to have these things.”

I have looked at that picture of a horse many times.  I can distinctly remember drawing it.  I loved horses then.  I wanted to either be one or wanted a knight in shining armor to ride up on one and take me away.

me in front of house

This is a picture that was taken in front of that house.  It was a happier time.  That’s me on the right and that’s my little brother in the center.  Since he was still alive and it obviously wasn’t winter, I would say I was three and he was two.  (He died in January at two and a half.)  That’s my oldest sister on the left and those are my daddys’ arms.

I wonder if I felt safe with his arm around me.  Look at how my hand is ever so gently resting on his arm.  I wonder if, when that picture was taken, my daddy thought he was going to have a wonderful life.  I imagine he did.  He had two daughters and what they say every man wants…a son…a son to carry on his name…a son to carry on his bloodline…a son who would inherit his legacy, be it a paltry sum of money or nothing more than his knowledge and memories.
In that instant…frozen in time…it was still possible.

In one tragic moment, I took that away from him and it changed both of our lives forever.

Had I only known what lay ahead.

 

58 thoughts on “The House

  1. I can’t believe your mama blamed you. You were a child. You didn’t know. I’m so sorry that this tragedy happened and that you carry guilt around it. You were not at fault. Accidents happen. Wow! Hugs sis!

    Like

  2. I just want to grab you and hug you for a very long time. I had to read the comments to understand what had happened. It was unfair that you were blamed for this tragedy, and that you had to carry around guilt which did not belong to you. My friend, I am sending so much love your way. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish there was something I could say to rid you of the guilt you feel at what happened to your brother. You were three years old, a toddler who did what toddlers do. It’s so unfortunate that your brother died but you have to wonder why, even though he liked the sound of the pills rattling in the bottle, she gave him medicine to play with. Maybe the hatred she directed at you was coming from a place of guilt on her part. At three years of age were you aware of the effects of the ingestion of aspirin? My grandson is three and even though I think he’s pretty smart for his age he’s still learning and there’s been things he’s gotten into at my place that had I not intervened there could have been dire consequences. Sending hugs to you Laurel ❤

    Like

    • Thanks for the hugs, Steph. As a mama now, I can understand how my mama must have felt. He was her little boy. Sure, she probably shouldn’t have blamed me but she was so grief-stricken….who knows how we would react unless we were face with the same situation?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I get and I don’t want to seem insensitive to what your mother was going through because the death of a child has got to be the worst. I just feel so badly that it was taken out on you.

        Like

  4. LWL, I’ve been thinking about you since I first read this post. I’m so so so sorry. I am sorry for repeatedly commenting on this, but I just want to say this: it is very generous that you recognised and accepted this as a reason for your parents to not love you, and I see how it could lift a weight off of not knowing why they didn’t treat you right when you found out. But this is just not right. As parents, our first instinct is to blame ourselves when something happens to our kids (big or small), and our close second instinct is to blame someone else. I think that is a self-protective mechanism – I am no shrink but I could see how it would make processing things easier. Your parents chose that path (I’m saying this with the caveat of not knowing more about this than what you describe above), put the blame on you, possibly to make their own load easier if that is possible at all when losing a precious child. For you to take it, accept it, and carry it for so long – growing up with it and then living with it your entire life – it is a horrendous weight on your shoulders! You did not kill your brother. The aspirin did. Which your mama gave to him, and you, at three and a half years old, not knowing, not understanding the potential consequences, opened up, and these chain of events led to a terrible terrible tragedy. I am so sorry for that, for the loss and for how that influenced your parents and their feelings for you, but you did not kill him. I know with just a few meaningless words I can’t change how you feel about this, it’s been your reality for ever, but I can’t imagine how hard this must be to live with. Especially when they didn’t tell you it wasn’t your fault – quite the opposite. But they were wrong. I so badly wish that you could find a way to put some of that weight down now. My heart breaks for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand what you mean and I appreciate your words.
      As a mama, I have tried to think how I would react if one of my daughters had done the same thing to my son. My mama didn’t have access to any mental health and even if she did, there was no money for it.
      She may have just been so grief-stricken that she was out of her mind. She couldn’t look at me without thinking that I took her little boy away and I know how much she loved that little boy.
      I know that Loser would have a bad day at work and would “take it out on us.” I am not special in that I didn’t do the same thing. You tend to strike out at those closest to you when you’re frustrated.
      It is a heavy burden but it is so much lighter now. For fifty-eight years, I was plagued with “why mama hated me.” It was a simple answer…and it was an incredible eye-opening thing.
      It was an answer. One thing Loser hated about me was my desire to always “have an answer.” His philosophy was “don’t ask…don’t tell.” Mine was “full disclosure.” An answer to me….is so important.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am with you on the answer being so important. And this: “You tend to strike out at those closest to you when you’re frustrated.” sadly applies to me very much. I have treated my own darling mother so badly in this process – the only person who has always, ALWAYS stood by me in this mess. Sigh. Still, I am so sorry you have had to go through this, and I find it amazing that you were able to even try to empathise with your mother, thinking through how you would have reacted in her place. With everything I know about your mama from your posts, I just want to say, losing a child must be such an unimaginable level of pain, that I totally understand how she was out of her mind. We can’t know how we’d deal with it – I pray to the Lord every day that I never find out.

        Like

        • Who knows what kind of relationship I could have had with my mama…I know my oldest sister and she were so close and my sister thought she was a wonderful mama….and she was…to her. Who knows what kind of mama I would have been if I had been married to a man who not only cared about me but cared about his children as well. Ah….the “who knows.”

          Liked by 2 people

  5. I popped over from a friends blog who nominated you for a quote challenge and this was so unexpected. Tremendous writing with a very clear depth of feeling (emotional pain?). Very powerful and aspects of self blame I can empathise with….nurture pays a massive role in adult behaviour and state of mental well being. Things happen as children that are sometimes created by the adults bringing them up…blame is rarely unique and a combination of factors that, at the time, coelesce and happen. Should you continue to beat yourself up with a stick that had other people’s hands on at the time (sorry if that’s wrong but I feel that’s what comes through in your words)? Guilt and self reproach is a terrible thing to live with…I know this too. But blame….no, nurture is responsible at least in part…

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts…very brave….

    And I hope you don’t mind another follower 💐

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m always happy to acquire another follower.
      I have re-read one line in your comment several times. It really struck a chord. “Should you continue to beat yourself up with a stick that had other peoples’ hands on it.” I don’t think I have ever thought of it in that way but I think you’re right. I still continue to beat myself up with sticks that have others’ hands on them.
      But after a lifetime…and I mean a lifetime of being made to feel absolutely worthless, how do you overcome that? Intelligence, reasoning, therapy, strength…none of those things have ever been able to break that inherent feeling.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good to hear me new friend…about the additional follower at least…if Inam truthful the stick with other people’s hands on was immediately obvious from your words. It is how you’ve perceived previously that’s caused a lifetime of cyclic thinking…I know first hand how ones own thinking radically enhances other people’s words…twists them…eats one up…to the point where only the negative things stick and it seems happiness is a dream for others…it’s very very hard to alter that…but it can be done…no quick fixes…the permission to let go and remove toxic people has to come from within…nurture is a very powerful fertiliser…I’ve tried mindfulness courses to change the way I approach what they term as the default mind…where one drifts without thinking…in there sits over thinking or catastrophising…they advocate trying to come into the current moment and train the mind to do that each time the default mode tries to steal you back…it works but I’m finding it really really difficult to apply after a lifetime of mental self neglect…I call it a form of self harm…try and take onboard the positive words given to you…dwell on them…try reading my kindness posts; The Kindness Clause, The Kindness Hunger and The Habituation Cycle….just read, don’t judge or analyse but draw out your own feelings in reading not only the posts but the comments under them….the future is unwritten….try not to let that stick beat the last into it x

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll read your posts but I have to tell you that I am so resistant for some reason. When I was seeing a therapist, I was thinking the whole time “you’ll never get in.”
          Drifting without thinking…I can understand how that might be difficult for you. It would be impossible for me. There’s too much rattling around in my head. I can hardly escape in sleep. Dreams invade it.
          The future is unwritten for most…I think mine was written the day I was born and I just didn’t know it.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yes, I can understand/empathise with long term issues that constantly feed in negatives…it becomes the comfort zone despised. Getting out seems impossible, barriers everywhere and a battered esteem just will not want to leave that zone. First steps are really to take very small ones…just look outside the hole and pick something very small that makes a positive contribution. It’s very easy to only see bad things and that in turn fuels the comfort zone. And that will kick and scream if you ever try to leave it…tiny things..one day at a time…it might seem impossible….I thought it was…and a year on there are times I still think it is….but they are less…probably won’t ever go away but I decided blaming the past for the now would keep me in the past…has a few friends supporting aka kicking my butt, saying things I didn’t want to hear, not listening, thinking they were talking crap…but they weren’t…eventually I realised that….one thing though…never give up on yourself..ever…

            Like

            • I’m not sure I “despise” my comfort zone. I have grown so accustomed to being alone and just staying within the confines of my house. I don’t like getting out. Here, I am safe. Here, I won’t be betrayed. Here, I won’t be diminished by a narcissist. Here, I won’t be yelled at by one of my children or my ex. Here…..I am just fine.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Quote Challenge – Day 3 | Simply Etta D.

      • Umm..I know that’s how you feel…but if you were three years old then I’m can say with 99 percent certainty that it you didn’t buy the aspirin, you weren’t thinking very much except ‘toy’ when you picked up the bottle, and that you opened it for no other reason than to see if you could because that’s what children do…

        You did not kill your brother. You couldn’t have.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh LWL, I’m just reading this and I am heartbroken for you. What a horrible load to carry. You did not kill your brother. It was absolutely irresponsible of your mother to give that bottle to him as a rattle – no one should ever put any blame on a three year old! How on earth could you have known what it was, what it could possibly lead to?! It was not your fault. I am so so so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your mama killed your brother, not you. She was the “grown up”, who should’ve known better than to give a child such a thing to play with…regardless of a supposed child safe cap. What a terrible thing to carry in your heart and spirit for so long!!

    I want to be next to you and just siphon away all the pain you carry. I’m in tears just reading and my chest is tight, and it feels like the air is too thin. I ache for you, Ms. Wolfe. I hope you know that I send you love & healing every night, when I pray.

    I hope the day comes when you can find the strength to put down the load you carry. (Ironic, isn’t it, how sometimes it requires more strength for us to lay down our crosses, rather than to shoulder them for a lifetime?)

    I just have so much love for you… I don’t even know what to say… I’m so sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Are you sure we aren’t twins?
    My mom used to slap me arou d too. Besides beating me with anything she could find.
    I drew horses too. My dream was to own a arabian horse ranch. Or any kind of horse for that matter.
    Funny how your life turns out the way we plan eh?
    ( sarcasm here..not for you, but everyone. )
    What happened to your brother..if you don’t mind me asking….
    If you don’t want to talk about it then thats ok.
    Lately my life has really turned into crap.
    My favorite hobby is sleeping. “It” sleeps, so we must be quiet too. And so do the dogs.
    Nothing is right.
    BTW, thanks for the comment on my site. It’s true.

    I can’t even grow plants anymore because bugs are eating them all up and my fat cat stepped on my blueberry bush and broke it. That’s okay. The grasshoppers would/will eat it when they come pretty soon.

    How do “normal ” people live? Because I don’t know anymore.

    Like

    • I don’t know how “normal” people live either..LOL
      My mama gave my little brother an aspirin bottle to carry around because it rattled. One day, I figured out how to open it and he ate the aspirin. It killed him.

      Like

      • Oh no, Laurel! But – as I’m sure many have told you before – that’s not your fault! You were a child! And playing with an aspirin bottle is quite dangerous! Nonetheless, I can see that being a heavy load to carry a very long time. He passed away and you carry that awful memory and guilt with you. I wish you one day seeing it the way your readers and friends do. Xo

        Liked by 2 people

        • The fact is that I opened the bottle. It’s like a child finding their parents’ gun and shooting their sibling. True, the parents’ shouldn’t have made the gun accessible but the child still pulled the trigger. How do you tell them it wasn’t their fault?

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurel, Sweet darling, Laurel, you must stop blaming yourself for your Brother’s death. You were a child. It is not your fault, even if your mother and father blamed you, The truth is not so. They needed someone to blame, she needed someone to blame but, deep down you know you were an innocent child.

    I am sorry for everything that has hurt you.

    Hugs, sweet, beautiful lady.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. I understand what you’re saying…but it was almost a relief when I found out what I did. I spent my entire life, wondering why my mama hated me so much. It never made sense to me that she was such a wonderful mother to my siblings and seemed to do everything she could to hurt me. You’re be surprised at what a load was lifted…but I still opened the bottle….

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s