Siblings

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Art, journal, Women
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I feel akin to the Platypus. An orphan in a family. A swimmer, a recluse. Part bird, part fish, part lizard.”  Trevor Dunn –

Clothed Race Horses, ©2003- graphite on paper, 25x30 cm (10x12)

Clothed Race Horses, ©2003- graphite on paper, 25×30 cm (10×12)

The Story continues………

I always believed that sisters were suppose to have a special bond, part of that Pollyanna ideal I had established for myself when I left home.  As I grew older I tended to erase or forget some things that never should have never been forgotten. Wanting to believe the illusion, enabling myself to live the façade of being a big sister, and to forgive and forget on a regular basis without question.

I know they were there, that I grew up with them, but I have no recollection of them being part of my life with the exception of two real memories.  One when I was about  8 years old and my Christmas present that year was my newborn sister. Everyone else received presents ……… Capitán thought that was quite amusing.

The second memory when I was about 10 or 11, and is my next oldest sister with tears in her eyes begging me not to down the stairs saying, “If you go down there he will kill you!”   Capitán would routinely call me downstairs late at night when his friends were in the house, whether it be a party or small gathering so I could entertain the guest with my pet McCaw. Of course the McCaw would never do everything I asked, especially after being awoken from bird sleep, consequently there was always public humiliation to show everyone how incapable I was and perhaps I was doing this on purpose just to “humiliate him” in front of his friends.

The worse was being called down after everyone left so I could be humiliated in front of my mother who usually was crying by that time. He had finished with her and still had some anger left over and it needed to be used.

After my parent’s divorce, Capitán re-gained gained custody of my sisters and brother. Now, not only was he Capitán, but was also “Madre Miquel”. He had a new social image and reputation to maintain and because of this situation my sisters enjoyed a fruitful existence under his wings.

After I left home for school, I never really saw much of my siblings until I was in my 30’s. Even though I vowed never to return, I would go back to South America many times over the years as an adult. By then, except for one, they had all left for other parts of the world.

My relationship with any of them was superficial at best. Between the time I was 30 and 60 we would come together twice in an attempt to form sisterly bonds. They would chat about their wonderful childhood and their life.  I hardly knew who they were, wanted to, but anything I said or shared they would disapprove or not believe, misconstrue, twist the truth and use it against me later as needed, so I learned never to say very much.

They all had more than I could ever obtain.   They could not understand or believe that I was actually happy in my life and my chosen profession. There was always an underlying jealously towards me, that certain tone in their voice, a dismissal or something else that to this day I could not decipher.

I never really knew my brother until later in life and by then Capitán had damaged him beyond any possible repair, by denying he was his son, the never-ending emotional and verbal abuse topped off by sending him to a Franciscan monastery for schooling, only to be beaten and abused by the priest.  All I could ever offer him was my love and understanding.  My sisters and Capitán controlled and manipulated him throughout his life and I do not think he ever knew any real peace.  He managed to have a career as a Capitan of crew boat in the Gulf, married and had children.  I carried a deep, abiding love for him that never wavered.   In the end, as he lay dying, he managed to get someone to call me so he could say good-bye; it was the only time I really cried.

I have two stepsisters somewhere in the world today – Capitán’s 3rd or 4th marriage, but they, like their mother, were demented children of the corn and I did not have much to do with them save for one instance. My husband and I were sitting at the breakfast table in their home having coffee. The eldest of my stepsisters (about 8 at the time) came into the kitchen carrying pencil and paper. She sat at the table with us smiling sweetly and drew a happy face. She then left the table, humming as she walked over to the knife block on the counter, withdrew a knife, returned to the table, looked at my husband and with a smile, pointed at the picture she had drawn and said “this is you”.  She then began to stab the drawing over and over again saying, “die, Gene, die!” She then looked at me and said “ … and you are already dead.” Giggling she skipped out of the room. I never saw them again.

In my illusion as big-sister, there was no room for the scenario that one-day, on the orders of Capitán along with cousins and aunts, my sisters would join forces to stand against me. The epiphany of those fatal five years yet to come would re-shape my life; I would lose the battle but win the war, protecting the innocent, doing what was right and setting a path to a new life.

 

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