Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A memory of Christine part 1



I was 11 years old.  It was a rainy friday, Christine had been missing for days.  Two weeks to be exact, more then her usual stint.   We hadn't heard from her and I could tell mom was getting nervous when her white wine intake doubled. All the ash trays were beyond full, creating an unbearable stench.  I could hear the same VHS tape of "I Love Lucy" on loop late into the night.  Something was off, Christine had runaway before, but this was different.  Usually I'd be in shotgun of the brown Buick driving around town with mom at four am looking for her. 

It was as if this time mom did not care.  Mom wasn't a mom then.  Mom was a vegetable.  I think she just snapped, she couldn't care.  I could tell she was in a dark place.  This time she had to wait for Christine to come back by her self.  I would feed Mom, fix her hair, change her garments, cleaned her ashtrays.

Mom would talk to my father, not on the phone, but in her dreams.  In her drunken passed out state she would ramble.  I would listen.  Monologues trail in and out to her run away lover.  

"Why did you go away Hank.... Were you ever here Hank?... Hank... Hank... can you mail this?.... Hank the garbage goes out on Tuesdays... and you were gone Hank... Were all good little soldiers Hank.... Love? Love, dare you speak the word..... you stick to what you know Hank.  The good old boys down at the bar and the women you stick it to." 

The closest I got to knowing why Hank left was in listening to those late night monologues.  I would sit by her as long as possible trying to suck up every bit of evidence.  All I learned was that my father was a bus driver and my father was a drunk.    In an odd way this was the time I cherished most with my mother at the time.  Other kids enjoyed pizza night, or a weekly trip to the mall with their mom.  mine was listening to my mother mumble out the stories of old while in a wine coma every night from seven to ten.

Bottles of White Zinfandel Wine lay encompassing the lazy boy chair in which she slept.  seven o'clock would roll round and she was out.  It usually took about two bottles and If it took more than two she would be awake all night in a slurring awful mood.  

I wondered where Christine had gone.  What would it be this time, navy boy, heroin, some strange prostitution sex escapade?  More importantly how she would return, dead, imprisoned, infested with scabies and STDs, an amputee?

I'd just tucked mom into her chair.  I was picking up the trash that lay 'round her; empty cigarette boxes and half eaten bags of 25 cent potato chips.  The phone rang.  I thought it would be one of Mom's creditors calling about an over due bill.  I picked up and heard a bunch of white noise and some sniffles.  "Hello?" I asked "Sam...." a voice mumbled and then I noted what I thought sounded like someone suckling the last drop of soda out of a Big Gulp.  "Who is this?"  asked a squeaky prepubescent  eleven year old.  "Sam (another sip) it's Christine,  I'm pregnant is mom there?"  Mom was there, but she wasn't.  Mom seamed to snore louder as if responding to her name being called.  "Hey Christine, Mom's asleep I'll wake her.  Where are you?"  It took her a while to respond,  I could hear her cover the phone and yell at her friends to quiet down.  "Where are you Christine?"  I repeated.  "I'm at Dairy Queen (sip)!  Jesus Christ Sam (I could hear her whimper) you've got to help me!"  I turned to Mom and the phone went dead.   

I tried to wake her, but there she lay a cold dead fish.  A dirty wine stained Hanes white tee and beige under wear clothed her. "Mom!  Mom Christine is pregnant at the DQ!" She didn't move.  I dumped half a glass of white zinfandel on her lap.  "A GOD DAMN HORSE!"  She screamed when waking. 

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