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Unbelievably my mother wasn’t done, she continued:
“After she said her piece, we thought it was finally over. But this woman was loony. She ran over to the doc, managing to scrape by Big Al and rip one of the scalpels out of Doc’s hand. Lunging toward the body on the gurney, it took three of the guards, including big Al, to stop her from actually cuttin’ it off.”
I couldn’t help myself. “How’d that go? She make it all in one clean cut?” This was the warped highlight of my day.
“Yep, made it all the way down. I admire folks who can express themselves artistically. But I didn’t stick around to see if he made it outta surgery, this happened right at shift change and I’s cravin’ my Jack. I scrubbed my mind and hands clean of him and gave report.”
My mother’s slurs drew out long and hard as the alcohol played its wicked game on her imagination. My duitful father ordered her into to bed before she deranged me further. As she struggled to get up from the couch, I called out to her, “Mr. John’s marital problems aren’t my business and they shouldn’t be yours. Just save his life and get on with it. Can’t we talk ‘bout something normal? Boys, our weight, shopping, land mines in foreign countries? Good night mommy...”
“Good night, don’t forget…you’re my favorite.”
My father sighed as he slopped her limp body into their bed and then hollered at me to turn the TV off and go to bed. I said good night to him as the house grew silent again. Walking up the stairs, I could see the walls staring at me as the voices inside stalked the rest of my sanity. In our family, as most others I knew, you didn’t speak of the dinner conversations, the silences left in the air afterwards were best left as exactly that—silence.