It’s been a long, very long time since I felt driven to write one of these.  I’m not certain what touched it off.  Perhaps it wafted in on the night breeze.  Maybe it was triggered by the brief dust up with Theaker.  Maybe it was weeks of dealing with the madness that is Pacione.  Maybe it is the time of year.  We’re fast approaching the anniversary of the death of my oldest daughter.  Maybe it is the material I have been writing lately that has summoned  the flashbacks and nightmares.

Whatever the trigger, I feel like I am being swallowed alive by a sea of desolation — a sea without a name.  I have been heading for this one for weeks.  I’m certain of that.  In the past six weeks, I wrote 200k words.  That kind of productivity only happens when I am on the run from my memories.  If I write fast enough, maybe they’ll go away and leave me alone.  Doesn’t always work.  What does work is exhaustion.  I think I am fast approaching that.  Eventually I will fall apart, collapse, and be able to sleep.

As a child and a young adult, I used to give away the things I loved most.  Just give them away in the hopes that god or gods or whatever amorphous diety exists would finally forgive me for whatever mysterious sins of mine caused my mother to hate me.  They were sacrifices in the name of a nameless atonement.  I analyzed and analyzed and struggled to try and discover what it was about me that caused her to withhold her love and affection.  There had to be a magic key somewhere that would unlock her cold, disapproving  heart.

So I made those sacrifices in times of severe emotional pain, praying for relief.  But the gods never heard me.  They certainly never answered.

She left my first step father when I was 13.  She seemed to find it perfectly acceptable for the men she dated to flirt with me.  For God’s sake, I was 13.  It was not my fault that I had developed young.  It was not my fault.  It frightened me.  I would reply to those passes with verbal  savagery and, in a few cases, with a strong right to the face.

And guess who she thought was in the wrong?  Me.  It was all my fault.

Around that time, Jeannie C. Riley released two hit singles.  The Girl Most Likely and Harper Valley PTA.  I identified with both of them.  But the mother figure for the latter song in my life was not my mother — it was my grandmother.

Mama (grandmother) and Mickey (mother) became locked in combat over me starting around the time that I was 14.  That was after Mickey married my second step-father.  He hit on me also.  Growing up, Mama had always told me that I was the child she had lost.  She raised three children, but the fourth one — a change of life child — was miscarried late in the pregnancy.  The maternal bond between Mama and me was firmly established.

But the pain visited upon me by Mickey and my step-father had become a roaring noise in my head and heart.  The peaceful security I had known with Mama got shattered as the conflicts between Mickey and me gradually wore her down.  One night, Mama took me aside and disavowed everything she had ever said about my being the daughter of her heart with just a few words, “I’m sorry, Jan, but Mickey is my daughter.”

After that I was alone.

I was 16.