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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

=fairytale hour=

My mother came to me in the night and she said, "I've never said anything bad about your father, but I have to tell someone and you're old enough to know.  He's a good man and he has always worked hard to provide for us, keeps a roof over our head and food on the table, etc etc. but he's a werewolf. After midnight, when you kids are asleep, he rises with the moon, and depending on its phase, takes on, to one degree or another, his lupine form. The culmination is the full-moon, while the days leading up to and just after are almost indistinguishably as bad. I don't even know him then, and more problematic, he doesn't even know me or you kids. The animals we see littering the street when I take you to school in the mornings after those nights, furry little sacks all torn open with their vulnerable exposed covered with flies, I've held my tongue, but that's your Daddy's doing. Turn your heads children, I tell you, trying to protect you, this is not for your eyes, but you little rascals look anyway, don't you? Ewwing from the back seat, grossing out, but fascinated all the same, unable to look away. I worry about you kids then. Maybe the moon is affecting your blood, too. What do I know and who can you ask about these things? I consult books, mostly fiction, which is the only place where these fantastical facts of life can be safely discussed without the authors and their readers being carted off as lunatics. I can't begin to tell you the number of women he's attacked for I don't know myself and don't want to know. I don't go into details and never will. That's something you truly don't need to hear. Needless to say, it hurts me to the quick to know that your father doesn't feel he can get what he needs at home, from me, his lawfully wedded and faithful wife all these thirteen and a half years. What he thinks he needs from these other women I'm sure I'll never know—nor do I want to know—but it's certainly foul and blasphemous and nothing any respectable woman would ever do. I would rather have a stake driven through my heart if it came down to a choice. I am your mother, after all, and that's something you should never forget. When this need comes upon him, I'm sure his mind is clouded, his judgment skewed, and it's to save him as much as it is to save myself and you children that I deny the beast inside him. Those are the times when you hear me telling him to leave and not come back. I don't mean never come back, as you kids might misinterpret, lacking a sense of the subtleties of adult language as well as all the facts of the situation, which dearth of information I'm attempting to rectify, at least to some extent right now, but I mean don't come back until your madness is over, until you resume something resembling your human form again. My apparent cruelty is really kindness, for I know it would just tear your father to pieces inside if he ever in his madness harmed us. What I'm trying to say is, I'm doing this for his own good. I don't mean to scare you, which is why I've waited until now, and forsooth—yes, it's an odd figure of speech and I would feel ludicrous ever introducing it in regular conversation but this kind of tale told at this hour of the night is anything but regular and requires such a word, don't you think? This is the fairy-tale hour—so forsooth, then forsooth…I've lost my train of thought. Well, I guess the point is I love you children more than life itself, more than my own soul, and I would never do anything to hurt you no matter what anyone might say. I'm not specifically talking about your father here, but, well, should he come to you as well in the middle of the night like I am, if he should come to you at the fairytale hour, don't believe a word of what he tries to tell you if it contradicts what I've said here. For I am telling you the truth and your father, while I'm not saying that he is lying, I'd never say that, but I honestly don't believe he knows what the truth is, his mind being pulled this way and that, by the moon's influence, like the tide. He means well, your father, as I said, and you never should forget it. But he's a man flawed in the flesh, bitten so deeply by something it's injured his soul. We must forgive him for he knows not what he does at times, his judgment is clouded, his passions out of control But he's your father and he loves you and you shouldn't fear him. He would never hurt you on purpose and I'm here to make sure he doesn't by accident. Now go to sleep. Good night."

My father came to me sometime in the night, shaking me gently awake. His face was scratchy with beard and his breath smell sweet and dangerous. He said, "I don't know what your mother has been telling you and I won't ask you, that's between you and her, and I won't put you in the middle, but I want you to hear the truth from me. Many are the stories you'll hear, most of them untrue, but I'm not saint, I'll be the first to admit that. I have my flaws, but I am not a monster. Your mother…how shall I put it…your mother lives in a world of her own, a world of fantasy. She's locked away inside this other world like an ice queen inside a snow globe. She can be sitting there beside you but she's really a million miles away. She's a star you can't reach, even by rocket, within the normal span of a human life. I've tried, I hope you will believe me, I've tried my best. She's drained the life's blood out of me to the penultimate drop. You're looking at a man depleted, fighting for his life. When I lay my head down upon her breast at night she stares down at me disapprovingly and says, "What are you doing?" This is what she does…makes you feel the fool, the invalid, the pervert. When I touch her…nothing. I might as well be touching a table, a fire hydrant. It was like this from the start but I thought it would get better. I asked everyone I could think of to ask…what am I doing wrong? I asked my brother-in-law if he has the same trouble with her sister. It was an awkward conversation but by the very fact that I broached the subject with him you can judge my desperation, my earnestness in finding an answer. He told me he didn't have the same problem with your aunt and I was at a loss. Meanwhile, drip drip drip, I see my life draining away. The face in the mirror looks ten years older than it should and I'm twenty years older than I want to be. I figure that you're old enough to hear this and if you're not, you'll remember it later. I have a feeling that my time is short. You never know when the silver bullet is coming or where it's coming from. I want you to know my side of it because I know that I'll be cast as the bad guy in the piece forever more. Life isn't as simple as a fairytale, no matter what your mother tries to make you believe. Above all, I don't want you think that I'm telling you she is a bad woman. She loves you, as a mother should, has made sacrifices for you children, lord knows. but that doesn't make her any more perfect than I am pure evil. I'd say you'll understand this when you're older if you don't already but that's not true. Some people never learn. For some people it's always fairytale time. Your mother is one of them, I'm afraid. She used to lay out my clothes for me on the nights that I'd go out. I told her I was going bowling but she knew damn well that was a lie. She knew where I was going and why. She laundered my clothes when I came back. She knew! How do you think that made me feel? She might be even stiffer and less communicative than usual the following day but she never asked me not to go. Not once! Instead, she lay out my clothes on the bed after dinner, making sure the shirts went with the pants and the socks with both. How do you think that made me feel? If once, she said "don't go," if she threw her arms around my neck and said "please…just don't" do you think I would have ever left? But not once did this sentiment escape her lips and I can only conclude that's because she never felt it. She was glad to see me go out the door, knowing I was taking with me what she didn't want in her house…in her bed. Her bed! Because it was never mine. I never felt at home there. I never drew any comfort or basked in any love between those sheets. I go a little crazy out there. I can't count them all. Married, single, old, young, women, men…I didn't discriminate. I met them in bars, in bathrooms, in motels, in bus stations…you name it, I did it. I'm not ashamed of anything. It's my nature. I'm a very sensual person. I burn inside with passion. That's not a bad thing, no matter what anyone tells you. I might have been satisfied if only I could have had what I should have had by rights of marriage. But a person must take what he or she can if it means survival. Your mother, she says you haven't gone potty in several days now. She says you need an enema. Turn over on your tummy. She asked me to give you one when I got home.

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