Friday, November 30, 2007

Juju Keeps Me Alive

[Reminder: Some of my posts, including this one, are memoirs of my abusive childhood. In this post I'm relating events that happened in the spring of 1956, when I was 6 "going on 7". The links to the right can be used to follow backward through the memoirs, or to restrict viewing to other kinds of posts.]

I must have been in the military hospital for some time to heal up from the surgery, but I don't remember any of it. I think I was heavily drugged most of the time. My next memory was waking up in a house with a baby-sitter.

That's what she told me she was. I found myself in a stroller, of all things. It must have been an XXL stroller. My head was still bandaged. My arm was still in a sling. I was still not in Hawaiian heaven.

I told the teenage girl who was taking care of me that I wanted to die. I hadn't wanted to die before. I'd wanted to go to Hawaiian heaven alive if possible. But now I'd given up all hope of getting there alive. I wanted to die as soon as possible.

She said the idea was horrible. So I backed it up by describing my parents. I didn't leave anything out. I even told her of my Mother's rapes of me. She cried and asked me what I wanted.

I was near the entrance of the house. I saw that there were stairs outside. I asked where the stairs went. She said they go down to the street. "How far?" "A long way down."

I said, "Please, push me."

I think I may have had to argue a bit with her about it, but in the end she did it. She agreed that my life was so wretched I should have the right to die if I wanted to, and she pushed the stroller with me in it out the front door and down the stairs to the street.

As the stroller bounced down the stairs, I couldn't help laughing. It was such a fun ride. When I hit the sidewalk the stroller took a big bounce and overturned, spilling me on the grass strip between the sidewalk and the street.

Instead of being dead I was alive and laughing uncontrollably. I wanted to go at it again. The baby-sitter came running down after me and, seeing me laughing, started laughing herself. The whole thing was just absurd. I realized then that I couldn't die. Somehow, I wouldn't be allowed to die.

Just then, my Aunt Mina walked up. She said, "What's going on here? Why are you lying on the grass?"

[Left: Aunt Mina was another sister of my Mother, along with Alta. She's seen here holding me during an early visit to the DC area, several years before the event being described in this post.]

The baby-sitter started railing at her, telling her what a horrible Mother she was, and how she wouldn't ever work for her again. She thought Mina was my Mother.

Mina lived in Maryland. So my parents had got her to take care of me after the operation.

She told the baby-sitter she wouldn't pay her after what she'd done. The sitter, still thinking Mina was my Mother, stomped off, saying she didn't want Mina's filthy money.

I barely absorbed the exchange. I was dizzy with the thought that even if I tried I couldn't kill myself. Something wanted me alive.

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