Safely Kept?
Bev Vines-Haines
Dorsal Winner

My mother named me Doreen but as long as I can remember she called me Queen.  That made me proud when I was young.  Really young.  Later she told me it stood for Drama Queen.  I don’t think she ever loved me.  In fact I am sure she didn’t.  I was an only child, born into the chaos of alcohol, adultery, and the tortured battles of two parents abandoned by their own mothers at birth. 

To this day I am intrigued by this phenomenon.  Abandoned children pretty much never get over it.  My mother reacted by seeking approval from anyone willing to give it.  She baked cookies for my grade school classes, begged to be a room mother and proceeded to forget at least fifty percent of the things she promised to do.  So many holidays and birthday parties I sat with my classmates and waited.  No treats.  No decorations.  No room mother.  Usually it turned out she found a man while shopping for ingredients or took a quick detour into the local tavern.  Those stops could take her away from me for two or three days.  In the early days, when I cried, when I begged her not to leave me again, she gave me that Drama Queen moniker.

My father?  Altogether different reaction.  He dove into his bottle and came out raging.  Every single wall in our house had a doorknob sized hole.  He never apologized and he never fixed the holes.  I remember one time when my mother didn’t come home.  He kept slamming the kitchen door into the wall over and over again, apparently craving the sound of caving sheetrock.  In a drunken frenzy, he kicked the wall and opened a cavernous hole, exposing studs and cobwebbed dust. 

On nights like that he slept with me.  He whispered I was his backup wife.  Sometimes he said he loved me more than Mom. 

Both of them told me many times how lucky I was they stayed with me and never walked away.  Looking back, I’d have rather been abandoned.
 



First published: February 2016
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