Happy Friday! This is it, the end of this little twisted family drama with Lilli Goldson. Hope you enjoy. Happy reading!
Monsters and Demons
I keep clawing, each contact, each slash, an act of exorcism, the demons of neglect, then abuse, pain, then rape, shame, rage, pregnancy, fear. And all I see is red, red before my eyes and red dripping from my fingers. Hands are on me, prying me away from my mother. She deserves to feel and look like the monster she truly is. Another set of hands lift me, my legs are off the ground and I am being pulled away from her and in one more desperate attack I make one final strike before they overcome me. My hands spread wide and my legs held to together, while a third person paws my face, I shake my head in protest but I soon immobilised. Something round and soft is shoved down my throat and as I gag and swallow I feel my muscle slack and my mother’s defenders lift me away.
When I awakened, I am being soothed, someone is cooing, not hush now but “there-there, just let it out. It’s Ok now. You are home. We are OK now.” I let the voice in and follow the instructions and release the years of anguish, I cry letting go slowly of the sorrow and pain and shame. Slowly I settle down enough to see that Mo is my soother, she is chanting softly, “no one will hurt you now…”
But I am hurt, my throat burns, my mouth is dry and thoughts are clouded. There is the disconnection, and slowness of being medicated. She drugged me.
“Is she awake?” another voice interrupts Mo’s incantations.
I jump up in the bed, we are in my bedroom, Mo is sitting beside me, still rubbing my back and Jon is in the chair by the bed looking so lost and sad. In the corner, with her face red, purple and marked is Mamma.
“Leave us.” Mamma directs.
Mo gives me one last shoulder squeeze and Jon just looks at me and walks away. Is there meaning to the look? All I see in Jon now is sadness and disappointment.
Me and Mamma. For minutes we just sit there and I watch her watch me, and as time goes on, I feel embarrassed that I attacked her that I disfigured my own mother and now I feel that I am as much a monster as she is and then perhaps we have all been tainted by some evil.
“Lillian-Catherine, I need you to listen to me. If you think you can come here come embarrass me you think again. You have two choices here, you leave and you stay gone or if you stay here, you will stop this foolishness, you will conduct yourself like a decent person or I will call the police on you, I will report you and be sure that Mel and Al and even Jon will testify on how you attacked me today. I will have you locked away for a long, long time. Do you understand me?”
I am dumbstruck and yet I know that this is who my mother really is, she will take kindly to any form of public exposure. I can see her gears turning as she plans to wear veils and use makeup to mask the scars and bruising tomorrow, how she will act hysterical as the broken grieving widow to avoid any one coming too close to her tonight.
“I want to take Lisa-Maria with me.”
My mother smiles.
“Lillian, did you hear the options? You, leave. Or if you stay and you can only stay until after the funeral, those are the options. Lisa-Maria is not an option. You will not come here and disrupts that child’s life. Lisa is a good girl. She does not talk back, she does not lie, she does not sneak out at nights and flaunts herself at men. She does not…”
“She does not what Mama, get fucked by her father and then passed around?” my anger is rising again.
“Lillian, I am tired of you and your lies. My husband is dead and you continue to lie. Stop lying. You used to sneak out of this house every night to see that nasty Miller boy.”
I stare at her astonished.
“What you think I don’t know that? You think I don’t know about all the nights you leave this house and all the little nasty things you keep up with? And then ask you sista to lie for you?… What no answer?”
I sit there, confused and hurt all over again. Mama will never accept or believe what Daddy did to us.
“So you have until six this evening to make up your mind.” Mama rise to leave.
“He did it to Mo too, ask her.”
Mamma ignores this last statement and when she leaves the room, the lock clicks, she has shut me inside the room.
Panicking I rush to the door, banging, shouting demanding my release. The door springs open and its Jon.
“Lilli, please stop this. Look at what you did to Mamma. You have to stop.”
“Stop what? Stop telling the truth. Jon you know what he was like when he was drunk. You know he did it to Mo as well. Ask her, she told me afterwards, ask her.”
Jon just stands there watching me.
“Daddy?” Lisa-Marie enters behind him.
“Mommy called and she says he is leaving out now, she asked if you want her to take anything for you.” Lisa-Maria explains as she hands Jon a cell phone.
Jon takes the phone and retreats through the maze.
You OK, Auntie Lillie?” Lisa inquires.
And I wonder how much she knows, what they have revealed and what lies they have told her about me. But instead of telling her everything, I recoil and say yes I am fine. Because that is all I can ever wish for, being just fine enough to get by.
Promptly at 6pm, my mother returns with a tray laden with food and drink and a black dress. She has already decided that I will stay until the funeral tomorrow and that I will behave.
I eat, drink, take my medication and shower and dress before the fog takes over and I feel like a watered down version of myself as I go through the maze of the house into the living room. The house is packed, persons with paper plates and disposable cups are propped up here and there, the small groups engrossed in their individual low chats, while outside the mento band strums away, a gospel mixtape is competing and the air is hot and I feel like I am suffocating. I struggle through the crowds, trying to find a familiar face, Mo or Jon, Lisa-Maria, Mel or Al even my mother but I am surrounded by sea of mourners all gorging of food and drink.
On the verandah men are playing cards and dominoes but I don’t see my Uncle or his friends. Outside is cool and I walk around some just to feel a little clearer in my head.
I walk around to the side of the house where a large tent has been pitched under the large blackie tree. Under the tent are small plastic tables and chairs, more people, more food, more liquor and laughter, more strangers. I am about to turn around to go back to the front of the house, when someone grabs my elbow.
Instinctively I pull away, and I turn to push and cuss at whoever it is, a smile I loved more than anything else in the world greets me. TJ.
Tyson James Miller, Jnr. TJ, the love of my life, the most handsome boy I have ever met is standing before me after all this time. I have rehearsed how I would respond to seeing him, over and over again, I have different reactions planned and scripted. There is calm aloof Lilli, and there is flirtatious and light-hearted Lilli and there is indignant Lilli. But I cannot recall any of those responses. TJ is smiling and I am grinning ear to ear.
“LC.” He whispers as he gathers him into his arms. I let myself be held and I hold him tight. TJ is back and all that happened before now is insignificant.
TJ is first to withdraw, he is still smiling.
“I can’t believe how little you have changed.” he says, and I feel self-conscious in this midi dress that my mother insisted I wear.
But I continue to smile, not quite able to find the words to reply. TJ is different, his hair is long and braided into small twists and pulled back into a shag ponytail. I hate it and as I notice more and more, his clothes are baggy and ill-fitted and he doesn’t even smell like TJ. But still I smile.
Our little reverie is disrupted by a woman who a large swollen belly like she is about to give birth any second now.
“Ty, I am tired, I am going over to rest, alright?” she said.
“Sure, babe. Wait a sec, come meet LC.” TJ says.
Beaming now, TJ introduces me to Melleesia, his wife.
I nod and smile and engage and ask questions, how far along is she, boy or girl, first pregnancy, how long have they been married and I ask and smile but I do not hear the answers, instead TJ is married is on loop in my head.
TJ and Melleesia excuse themselves and I am left alone in the crowd, surrounded by my family that despises me, I walk around some more when I accosted by a man selling handbags, beautiful rich, bright coloured Michael Kors knock-offs. A haggler.
He asks if he can show me something, I say no walking away. He asks if anyone lives next door, I say yes and watch as he walks through the red, and pink hibiscus hedge that separates the Goldsons from the Millers. The mento band croons on and then loud above the music, the chatter, the chums and slurps, two loud shots ring out and people are screaming.
People are running and there is chaos, and shouting and noise, and I rush over to the Millers where the crowds seems to be heading. On the front steps TJ is bleeding and beside him Melleesia is screaming.
There is rush of activity as persons shout for the police to be called, others counter that will take too long. I am shell-shocked watching men lift TJ and carry him off to a car, Melleesia is taken off as well and the setup, the music, the mento, the merriment of mourning my father is all dimmed by death of another.
I have no idea how I ended up in my bed and how I managed to sleep but when I am awake again I am immediately struck by the need to report the man selling handbags. I run into the kitchen where Mo and Mamma are seated.
Almost breathless, I begin. “There was a man selling handbags last night that went over to the Millers, maybe he saw something or maybe he was the shooter.”
“TJ died Lil. His girlfriend said she knew the man that shot them, they were all mixed up in some scamming of sorts.” Mo discloses.
“Get ready and come, we have less than an hour to leave.” Mamma says.
The church is packed despite last night’s shooting. We are walking in formation of age it seems with Uncle Al before Mamma, then Aunt Melba, Jon, his wife Tara, Mo and her baby-father Daniel, then me, Lisa-Maria is walking behind me and all of Mo and Melba’s children and grandchildren trail behind us. We are expected to view the body and when it is my turn, I hesitate. Mo rescues me and hold my hand, squeezing me for reassurance and I step closer to the coffin, a shiny brown wooden box that gleams even in the dull dark church.
Daddy is in a navy suit, he is reduced to a shriveled thing, he seems so small, his skin is several shades darker now, his hair grey and powdery, he is nothing now.
“Mo, please tell Mamma.” I whisper.
But my sister shakes her head no, “Let it go now Lilli. He is gone. Just let it go.”
That’s it guys. What do make of Lilli now? Let me know in the comments.
How are you guys liking these Friday posts? It was an October experiment, should we continue or give it a rest?
Have a great weekend!