Wednesday, August 11, 2004

PART 29 - Cleaning House

I have always loved Phil Collins. In Genesis, on his own, in duets, doesn't matter. His music has always spoken to me, especially this one.

I Don't Care Anymore
Phil Collins

Well you can tell everyone I'm a down disgrace
Drag my name all over the place
I don't care anymore

You can tell everybody 'bout the state I'm in
You won't catch me crying 'cause I just can't win
I don't care anymore
I don't care anymore

I don't care what you say
I don't play the same games you play

Cause I've been talking to the people that you call your friends
And it seems to me they're a means to an end
They don't care anymore
And as for me I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind
I don't care anymore
I don't care no more

I don't care what you say
We never played by the same rules anyway

Well, I don't care now what you say
Cause every day I'm feeling fine with myself
And I don't care now what you say
Hey I'll do alright by myself

Cause I know
Cause I remember all the times I tried so hard
And you laughed in my face 'cause you held all the cards
I don't care anymore

And I really ain't bothered what you think of me
Cause all I want of you is just a let me be
I don't care anymore

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The next day, I had my sister drive me back home. She protested, but I had to get back to my house, the kids, and my dogs. As was my way, my hurt and heartbreak began to distill into pure hatred and anger that propelled me into action. I wasn't about to let him get back into that house. I had to get back there before he realized that I was gone.

I passed a message to him through his sister that if he came near me or the house, I would call the police and have him arrested - I had my report from the hospital on hand, and I wouldn't hesitate for a second. Needless to say, I didn't see a glimpse of him.

I was greeted by the dogs when I got home. They were starving and overjoyed to see me. I immediately let them both into the house with me and fed them in the kitchen, which had been completely forbidden before. I set up pallets for them both by the front door, and they both followed me around the house, sensing something in the air, I guess.

I slipped the sling off of my arm before the kids came home - I didn't want to scare them. Besides, they were leaving in a couple of days, and I figured there was no sense in letting them or the caseworker in on the deal. I told them that he had gone out of town for work but would see them soon. They seemed to accept that, and only Kimberly touched my bruised face gently and looked at me questioningly. "Boo boo?" she asked me, petting my face. "Yes, a little one, but it doesn't hurt," I answered her, kissing her on the forehead, and with that, she was her happy little self again.

Convincing the social worker was much harder. When she came to retrieve the kids later that week, my facial bruises were *almost* imperceptible under my makeup, and I of course put away the sling before she arrived, too. I explained to her that he was out of town on business, and even though she looked a little suspicious, she accepted the story and thanked me for everything. I told her that I had promised Cynthia that the kids could have the beds and toys from their room, and that I would arrange to have it all dropped at her apartment on Saturday. I kissed both of the kids, smiled and told them I loved them and that I was so happy that they were going to see their mama and their new house, and that I would see them soon. And without much more said, she left with the kids, and I was alone.

After they left, I didn't even cry. I was just . . . dead inside. Daylight slipped away into evening, and I was still sitting on the sofa, in the dark. I had been there for hours, not moving. Catatonic wouldn't be a far stretch. The phone had rung a few times throughout the evening, and I didn't know who called, nor did I care in the least. I went upstairs to bed and about the time I fell asleep, the phone rang, startling me. Without thinking, and half asleep still, I answered it.

It was LP (Little Prodigy, the bad brother.)

At first, I couldn't make out anything, all I could hear was sobbing and choked words. I kept asking who it was, and when he choked out that it was him, I was stunned. We hadn't willingly spoken to each other in years. Through the sobbing, I picked up snatches of conversation, like "going to find that motherfucker and KILL him," and "piece of shit, if I find him, he is DEAD," and "I know people that will take that sonofabitch OUT," and all manner of threats. What the hell? Where was THIS coming from?

He kept asking me if I was ok, and I assured him that I was, and that I was safe at the house, he had been warned to stay away, and I felt confident that he would. I could tell that LP had been drinking, heavily, and he kept blubbering and crying incoherently. I told him that it was late, and I thanked him for checking on me, and just as I was about to tell him goodbye, he blurted out,"I love you, Rita," and bawled like a baby. I was shocked to hear that, and stunned that he had even bothered to think of it, and angry that he was laying even MORE worry and stress on me. His presence was unsettling, and at this moment, it was unwelcome, regardless of his intentions. Not knowing what else to say, and feeling absolutely no love for him, I told him goodnight and hung up the phone.

The next day, I got a call bright and early from my sister in law. She passed a message from her brother demanding that he be let in the house to retrieve his clothing and personal items. I told her to remind him that if he stepped foot in the house, I would file assault charges against him, and I meant it. She called me back in a few minutes and relayed a message that he had no intention of talking to me or coming into the house, but asked if I could have his things waiting for him in the driveway. I thought about that and told her to let him know that his things would be waiting for him and to come by in an hour.

I got up out of bed and looked out my second story bedroom window that overlooked the driveway. With my arm still in a sling, I opened the window wide with my good arm, carefully removed the screen, and began to sling absolutely everything in that bedroom that was his out of that window. Clothes, uniforms, shoes, socks, underwear, deodorant, shavers, the contents of his nightstand, everything went sailing out of the window. His clock radio and boom box hit the pavement and produced a dazzling display of electronic confetti. Several bottles of cologne sailed out the window and smashed to bits on the driveway, their contents pouring down and saturating everything within dripping distance.

My neighbor across the street stopped mowing his yard, popped a beer, sat on his porch and watched the whole thing. He and my husband had exchanged words on a few occasions, and when he was sure that I was looking his way, he raised his beer to me in a show of solidarity as I continued to fling shit out the window.

It all went . . . everything. Framed pictures were hurled, frisbee style, and the glass made a satisfying smashing sound against the driveway and sidewalk. Anything that I spotted that was his, out it went. It was vengeful and spiteful, but it was the most satisfying thing I had ever done.

I sat upstairs at the window and waited for him to arrive. When he pulled up, his truck slowed to a crawl, and he didn't even pull in. He parked on the street, slowly getting out of his truck and looking wide eyed at the display. He had such a look of shock on his face, I nearly laughed. He dropped to his knees in the grass and began to collect his things. After awhile, he seemed to give up. Seeing this, I stepped into the office bedroom and collected a couple of large boxes that had been stored in the closet. Leaning out the window, I said, "I KNEW I forgot something," and flung the boxes down to him. He peered up at me, a look of complete surprise on his face.

I promptly shut the window, went downstairs and proceeded to make breakfast and take some painkillers. I was hurting like hell, but it was worth it. Sitting in the livingroom, lounging on the sofa, I looked out the window with smug satisfaction while he gathered his things, slump-shouldered and defeated, and drove away.

I was beginning to feel better already.

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget