and a real mouse
The other day I wrote Coming Out of Mourning, as if it were true. For one day I believed it. The next day I began to have a horrible, very familiar, creepy feeling, “You’re lying, lying again, you’re always lying, deceiving people, pretending to be what you’re not…”
I’m scared. I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid of what I’m going to find out. Yesterday my therapist and I got everything set up for me to begin to remember what happened in Mr. McCormick’s house. She feels she needs to leave herself a gap in her schedule after my sessions now, in case she can’t get me put back together inside of one hour. That’s so generous of her. She says she’s taking care of herself, otherwise she’d worry. At first I thought it was unnecessary. But now I’m scared.
I recently read The Minds of Billy Milligan. I got scared that I am going to find out that I have killed someone. Or done some other horrible thing that I don’t remember. After my sister told me about The Keepers, I watched it on Netflix. It is a very scary show about sex abuse, about how you can forget horrible horrible things that happened to you. It’s a really good show if you can take it. It gave me the hope that I might remember.
Maybe it’s starting already. I found a dead mouse last night inside the window fan. There was a pile of little seeds on the couch below the fan, as if he was trying to take his provisions with him. I first saw that mouse on the day that I was thinking about the cartoon Mighty Mouse, which was my favorite cartoon as a little kid. We didn’t have a TV. I watched it at Mr. McCormick’s house. I remembered a scene of Mighty Mouse holding back a dam that was breaking. “Here I come, to save the day!” he sang in the cartoon I remember. I found the episode on YouTube, looks like an older version, pre-TV. Amazing. Here it is.
Shortly after I watched this, a little mouse practically ran over my feet. I’d never seen a mouse in here before. I thought it was a sign. When I talked to Bob his comment was “There is no such thing as a mighty mouse. Mice are actually powerless and small.” And then, as if to prove it, last night I find that little guy dead inside the box fan. Is that a sign too, like when a stalker leaves a dead squirrel on his ex-wife’s porch? Am I crazy? I’m scaring myself.
I might be lying though. Maybe I’m not really scared. Maybe I’m making all of this up. Just to get attention. Take everything I write with a grain of salt. Who knows if I’m lying or not? I don’t. Let’s call it theorizing, ok?
In the video, Mighty Mouse stops a river and restores a broken dam. How odd. I had been writing about dams and rivers. I was writing about the tragedy for the Indians, but it was a metaphor for myself too. I know that I too am a river, and I too am all dammed up, mourning a tragedy of untold dimensions. Bob said, in the same conversation about the mouse, “This will not be easy, so be prepared. A dam cannot break without a flood.”
After I wrote Is it too late to heal the child within?, I shared the story on facebook. That really was brave of me, showing it to people I actually know. I had no idea what would happen. Maybe no one would even read it. But so far over 350 people have read it on facebook alone, friends of friends of friends, etc., and the response has been overwhelmingly kind and supportive. Maybe that’s what helped to tip me out of mourning, if I am really out, which seems dubious. But maybe there’s nothing to mourn after all. I am probably just faking.
Two kids from another family that lived behind us in Mr. McCormick’s neighborhood, now all grown up, left comments under my story on facebook, remembering his “terrifying eyes” and his “hideous stare.” I don’t remember his face. I was inside that man’s house, alone with him, when I was six and seven years old. No wonder I needed Mighty Mouse to hold back the flood. Maybe I wasn’t allowed to tell. Maybe he threatened me with something, to keep me from telling. I eventually did tell, but only a little bit. My parents say that out of the blue one day at lunch I said, “I like Mr. McCormick, but I don’t like it when he puts his tongue in my mouth.”
What a diplomatic way of speaking. In adult life I learned that if you need to criticize someone, first you should say something nice, then the criticism. My memory is that I did like him. I thought of him as a friend. When kids say things like that at lunch, sometimes their parents don’t believe them. Mine believed me. My father told me I was not allowed to go to Mr. McCormick’s house any more, but things just got worse, as I described in Is it too late…
That child was never debriefed. No one ever asked her what else happened inside that house. The knowledge is still dammed up somewhere inside of me. Time for Mighty Mouse to retire. I hope I survive the flood. Maybe I didn’t lie about the mourning period being over. Usually mourning happens when a person close to you dies. One of my sweet nieces commented on my facebook page after reading my story, “Now you can have the life you should have had.” Maybe that’s what I was mourning — the life I should have had. If my father hadn’t dumped me. If I hadn’t been carrying horrible secrets. If I’d been able to love properly. If I’d been able to receive love. If if fi fi if if iffy.
50 days of so-called mourning got me here. I’m ready to remember. I’m determined to stay functional. I can sweep the front walkway. I can clean the sink. I can go out of the house now and then. Bob holds me. I hold the child. I won’t let her go. My therapist is ready. Yesterday near the end of the session I said, “Shall I tell you what I do remember about Mr. McCormick’s house?”
She said, “Let’s save that. That will take us right into the other memories.”