Thursday, April 28, 2011

The scream

The day started like any other, which is to say it became intolerable around midday. So many days of waiting is what my life had become. Days of stagnation is what they felt like. I couldn't make peace with staying here and I couldn't plan for a future I had little control over.

And so I sat up and said into the silence, “I don't want to be here! This isn't my home! I cannot live like this. I want my life! My life.”

I walked the hallways of the house, restless to do something that felt like forward movement. I stopped and regarded his office, what was left of it. It was mostly empty now. Two different family members had flown out and worked to get it packed up and moved to a storage locker because I couldn't face it alone. But now I wanted it cleansed of him. All of him. I wanted to reclaim the space and transform it into something new.

I walked in and started packing up the last few things that remained. It was then I noticed a small jar on a shelf. I picked it up. On the outside, it was decorated with the thick, bright strokes of a child's paintbrush. I recognized it as something our daughter had made in preschool. A Father's Day gift. Inside were strips of paper upon which her teacher had copied down things she had related about her father: “I love it when you push me on the swings.” “I like to ride in the big, green car.” “I like that you don't burn the marshmallows.”

The essence of a daughter's love, condensed into a few lines and tucked inside a baby food jar.

I had an image then of my children, laughing, running across the lawn, trailing behind them their homemade kites that never flew, their innocence, their trust in the stability and completeness of their porcelain worlds.

I tucked the jar into my pocket.

Downstairs, I heaved boxes into the car. One, two, three. I was sweating now. I looked around for more. I felt an anger building in me that I had not felt in ages. It felt pure and clean and hot like fire.

I drove to the storage facility and transferred the boxes to the unit.

The jar was the last thing I placed inside the storage locker that afternoon. There it sat, next to the boxes of socks and t-shirts, photographs, eight boxes of CDs and DVDs, Doom 2 and Grand Theft Auto, the porn CD he had made for his brother, complete with an image of a woman's vulva strategically placed so the entrance to her vagina fell directly over the hole in the middle of the CD.

The jar. So small you hardly noticed it. Dwarfed by the prized art deco dresser and the painting of the dead woman.

As I started to close the locker I noticed some cards in one of the dresser drawers. Cards from me. Cards I had written him over the years. Valentines, birthday, anniversaries. I pulled them out. I slid the large metal door shut and turned the lock.

* * * * *

When I got home I walked straight to the fireplace. I didn't even open the cards and look at them. So many words written in the spirit of trust. Love given with an open hand.

I set them in the fireplace and put a match to them and watched them burn. I thought of the slow-motion limbo of my life, waiting for charges to be filed so I could move on. I thought of the dead woman and the eight years of silence and all the carefully crafted answers I had for my children that would be so inadequate and the jar and the jar and the jar. I felt a scream building inside me. I started to yell, “Get out, get out, get out of my house!!” but what came out was more like a keen, a long, low soul cry that went on and on and on. I rocked back and forth in front of the fire and wailed as the flames carried the ashes of what was up the chimney and out into the ethers.


  1. Cleansing. Sometimes fire really is the best thing

  2. The jar.
    So much power in that adorable little jar. So much love.

    Cleansing is a very good thing and so is screaming. One lets you move on and the other is expressing such intense and mingled emotions.

    I read your blog and I hope for you. Hope that there will be a way out and a rainbow story after this.

  3. Ive found your blog via AMB & also off blogs I follow.

    Ive been following for a while now but yet havent commented.

    You sound like a very strong woman. Life can be tough, major bitch and throw so much as 'us' that sometimes it feels like its all too hard and how will "we" go on...
    I love the way you were able to find your inner strength and then burn those letters in the fire, like the fire was helping to cleanse and rid of that emotional pain the past held.
    I hope today is a little easier for you.

  4. Dammit, I love your writing. So incredibly powerful.

    I remember one night when my ex had left just ripping up the photos of us, pulling him out of every one, cleansing myself of him.

    I get it. I do.

  5. Wow. Wow. I'm always amazed at how you're able to go on. And how your life has literally made a u-turn. I pray for you.

    You write so powerfully it makes me catch my breath. xx

  6. Screaming and fire. Letting go, slowly... Cleansing... Sometimes I feel like torching everything...


  7. I'm glad you burned them. Did you burn photos of him too?
    You may need to keep one or two photos for your kids though.

  8. As people have said above: fire is a cleansing agent. Cleans the soul and spirit. And an ancient symbol of rebirth.

  9. i understand some of that white hot rage, the anger that those words still exist when all trust is gone. *HUG* thank you for being so transparent and writing about this.

  10. I hate how much pain is involved in being cleansed, in healing. I wish it were otherwise.

    However, the result would be less powerful without it.

    So many hugs to you.

  11. My heart aches for you. I remember having to do that myself.

    Distance and time let me block it out of my mind. I'm just glad to no longer have reminders of my heinous mistake.

  12. I found your blog nearly a week ago, but this is the first time I've commented. Your writing is powerful and raw. I feel like whatever I say in the comment cannot come close to what you said in your post. However, I cannot NOT read what you post when I see that you have posted. I am trapped in your writing like a dragonfly in amber.

  13. Incarcerated by do’s n don’ts, I
    CRY for my save…

    Paths of extremism, chocks my air and I CRY for my save…

    Reflects agony, its hard to set the upsets , makes us helpless at times and we fail to understand the needs of time.

  14. I'm not really reading blogs atm, but i am always drawn to you, because in amongst the pain there is always beauty. Beauty in your writing, the way you express the overpowering emotions, and beauty in your strength and honesty. I know that scream. Mine is just starting to come out.


  15. amazingly powerful. thanks for sharing such intimate details. this ritual of letting go through the fire is an ancient one, seems to me.
    i jump back into your blog here, and i get the immediate energy of your moving on, continuing to pass through the storm no matter what it takes, something you would not do without authentic self love. and love fer yer kiddos.

  16. You'll get there. I can feel it :-)


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