I am writing this on my Android phone while I stumble through life alone, as you will probably ascertain from the startling automiscorrections that appear once my writing has scrolled out of my sight. I am an introvert. I think this may have been induced by overly strict-to-overtly insane parents who humiliated, mocked, and punished me every time they noticed me. I strove to be invisible by being slender, drab, retiring, and quiet. My mother dressed me very loudly sometimes, lest she forget me altogether. My grandparents “forced” my parents to have me and stop their gadabout lifestyle, mainly by withdrawing their supplemental financial support until it was needed for me. I “didn’t have the grace to die” as had my previous sibling(s), by which I like think Mother was referring to miscarriage(s).
I do have a personality, though. It comes out more and more the longer I am single and they are dead. Lest you think badly of me, please know that all of my husbands are still alive and “the parents” died as peacefully as two guilty consciousnesses can, in their eighties, under my tender care until hospice became necessary. My strict attention to duty is my revenge. In the end, they had come to believe all of the horrible things they had told people about me to explain my long absence. Mwahahahaha! The nicer I was, the more it scared them.
No, really, during my absence, I was just living my separate life with as much joy and peace as extreme poverty, ignorance/inexperience of the world, and naivete could muster, far away in New Orleans, “The City Care Forgot,” “The Big Easy,” the City of Sin as I happily deemed it, having first fallen in love at age 10 after my granddaddy Gooch dropped me off at a ballet sponsored by the local Romper Room at La Petite Theatre du Vieux Carré to get me out of the way for a few hours while he wet his whistle in a way I was not welcome to witness. At ten, I was a little put off by the kiddie nature of it, but it was BALLET, and I was to go unaccompanied! First, we walked from the Hotel Monteleone, the first hotel (not a motel) I had ever stayed in, down early 70s Bourbon Street where scads of hippies had descended for a music festival my parents had not planned for when they came down for their lily-white, tee-totalling square dance festival! As we walked my eyes were filled with shops carrying sparkly pasties with tassles and faux-fur hot pants of the American flag closed by tiny gold padlocks on the fly and swinging a key in a chain, photos of naked hippies piling on top of one another, and mannequin legs that swung in and out of a window and were sure to suggest something untoward going on inside. The ballet chosen for the children’s matinee, as introduced by “Miss Linda” of Romper Room, magic mirror in hand, was one engaging in a rather dramatic onstage suicide by hanging (Le Jeune Homme et La Mort?). As a child never allowed to watch violence, scary movies, Dark Shadows, The Big Show, even Tom & Jerry cartoons, after-school specials, etc. for fear I would interrupt my parents with nightmares, I was agog! Children were allowed to see such things here?! What must adult life be like?! On the basis of this ballet scene and a stroll down Bourbon Street, my one life goal that was not undertaken as an attempt to please others, not thwarted by circumstances beyond my control, became to live in New Orleans. When I think about it, I should have set more of my goals myself!
Over halfway through my 50s, just beating time until my parents’ estates settle and I can start the next chapter of my life, having closed out the books on the past, given up my career and retirement, to return to my childhood home to watch them shuffle off the mortal coil, I have decided to get a little writing practice by which I hope to gain some attention and test the waters for my next career, this time with no one to hinder (as they have never helped) or to claim either praise or blame.