13% [chapter 0]


All you wanted to do was go home.

You hate hospitals. Their slippery smell. That look people get when they're paid to care but can't afford to anymore. The nurses were so curt with a fuckup like you. Pregnant again, barely 22, unmarried, uninsured, minimally waged and oppressively uninterested in life or in bringing any more into this world.

Pain thresholds are actual places. You found yours in a windowless little room at South Boston's General Hospital on February 4th, 1992. As they inserted bamboo spikes into your cervix, one after the other, the nurses complained about your screams, "It can't hurt that bad." When you stood up and stumbled through the door, you let out a stream of yellow puke that decorated the long hallway. Then you passed out onto the floor, so they carted you off into another darkened little room.

They couldn't understand why the induced miscarriage wasn't working, working under the assumption that you had waited too long to have a regular abortion and that this fetus was now at 15 weeks. Later, looking inside your womb with an ultrasound and some cold goop, the noise that came outta the nurse's mouth when she uncovered the truth did nothing to soothe you. Quickly, she turned the monitor away so that you could not witness the state of what was growing in there, all misconstrued. It was not one infant, but a conjoined two. Aggravated, they agreed that an operation would have to be performed the following morning to remove this misery your uterus was attempting to reproduce.

That night, your thoughts drifted back to Ben, the one and only boyfriend you ever got an apartment with after falling into some kind of love. The relationship itself felt much like the type of music you both coveted - industrial. Cathartically exorcising your demons every week by dancing at a venue in Cambridge called Ground Zero, you reveled in the electronic barrage of Controlled Bleeding, Revolting Cocks, Skinny Puppy and Front 242. No spooky gently flowing hand gestures here, just hard sweaty aggressive transcendence. But the underlying coldness of your young detatched love that lasted a whole 7 months revealed itself upon the discovery of this unplanned pregnancy. "Oh well, there goes my new carburetor," Ben exclaimed with all the joy of any proud father.

Abortion was a given. There was no discussion. There was no fucking way you'd be a good mother. This, you most emphatically knew. Barely able to feed yourself or pay the rent on time, you were too drunk, too high, too self absorbed and too unstable to raise children - especially and/or inevitably, on your own. Hell, you couldn't even manage being someone's girlfriend.

Already, at the ripe old age of 8, a boy told you he liked you. The second you agreed to go out with him, he snatched you by the wrist and dragged you around the schoolyard to all the places he wanted to go. When you spoke, he told you to shut up. You got angry, snatched your limbs back, yelled that you didn't like being treated like a dog and broke up with him by the end of recess.

This trend seemed to have no end. To you, the word "girlfriend" meant being socially cajolled, sexually objectified, emotionally suffocated, spiritually stifled and wholly controlled. As if it were expected of you, being born female, that all of your interests, skills, duties and concerns in life should revolve around the pleasing, nurturing and supporting of men, no questions asked, no two way street of equality. Yeah. So Fuck That.

The next morning, as they put the anesthetic mask over your mouth, you found it noteworthy that the doctor made sure to reprimand your slut life. His eyes glared barely beyond that clipboard holding your sordid medical record. "This is you third abortion?! You gotta stop doing this to yourself," he declared. Counting backwards from 10, you fell under at 7, but not before muttering a nice muffled "fuck you" to all those comfortable judgements standing above you in that operating room.

You gotta stop doing this to yourself...

Thusfar, all of your experiences in life had taught you that sex was all you were good for. This belief found itself compounded by your mother's accusations as to why your father had been sexually abusing you for so many years. "It's your own fault," she said, "for dressing like a slut." She never took into consideration that the abuse started when you were so young that she was the one dressing you.

By the time you were in 8th grade, you outted your father's disturbing sexual proclivities to the school counselor. As a result, your mother stopped speaking to you for a couple years. Maybe she harbored some kind of deluded, jealous resentments? Perhaps the guilt from knowing her husband was fucking around with her daughter while she did nothing to stop it, forced her into a hard corner, painted thick in denial? Because, several years earlier, your father had confessed to her that he wanted to seek professional help for this compulsion toward pedophilia, immediately after he molested you for the first time. But she convinced him not to seek help and assured him that everything would be just fine.

Sitting there in the school principle's office with both of your parents in rapt attendance, your father rapidly admitted his guilt and let out a sigh of loathsome relief. On the next downbeat, your mother bleeted, "She's a liar!" Huffing and stamping her feet, teeming with a ridiculous display of disbelief. You just sat there, frozen in that wooden seat. Staring deep into the swirls of a knot in the rounded worn out armrest, gripping the chair to ground out some momentary stability, to find some faith in the reliable forces of earth's gravity. Had you the strength to raise your thoughts out of that knot, you might have been graced by the wave of compassion that came crashing toward you as the principle stammered at your dad, "I have a daughter too, but I just cannot imagine...how you could...how Could You?!"

It was a profoundly sad sense of pseudo-community to later read that statistically, this anti-intuitive abandonment by the mother is a typical response for over half of all daughters molested by their fathers; the mother lashing out due to the achingly insecure notion that her own daughter represents some kind of sexual competition in her gapingly sad dysfunctional marriage.

Observing also the shrugged off stance of your father; guilty only of repeating his own childhood traumas. Offhandedly, he succumbed to his sexual impulses. So What about his giving in to the almost culturally permissive right to have this primordial fascination with sticking his dick into the tightest orifice possible? Oh, Whoops was his attitude toward his need for total control over these other people that belonged to him exclusively, that he perceived as being his own private property.

And perhaps your mother was just another one of the countless women that unconsciously clings to those remnants of Victorian-era thinking; believing that without a man she is nothing, worthless, not a real woman, nonexistant, less than a whole human being?

Nothing could be more pathetically tragic or hopelessly banal in this supposedly advanced civilization -- save for the predictable vicious cycling of grown victims victimizing their own flesh and blood, doing others in as was done to them as though that makes it less of a sin, ripping open their own calcified scabs of self hate, guilt and shame all over their own offspring's spit and skin, ad nauseum.

However, given your mother's ignorance of what the word incest meant (you had to spell it out for her when you were 13), what the fuck was Her Excuse for this loveless level of protection? How quickly after giving birth to her second mouth to feed had she written you off as a downer, a bad egg, a lost cause, a reason for regret, the dreaded black sheep? Why would the frequent violent beatings put upon both you and your older brother cause her to do nothing but stand aside and helplessly weep? How many paces away would she publicly stay, hoping others would not think you were related in some way? How deeply ingrained was her conviction that your conspicuous independence was a liability to making you a 'good wife' some day? How hammered in was the dogma that, by not hiding your intelligence for a fragile male ego's sake, you'd render yourself useless to this domineering patriarchal world, to this shit hole that your only goal should be to submit to and to accommodate?

Not surprisingly, this pattern of being the scapegoat in every relationship, both professional and personal, would remain on heavy rotation for years to come. You could take the blame, bear the brunt of other people's unresolved pain because being hated was better than being ignored, any day.

But, you gotta stop doing this to yourself...

Now you were old enough to pretend you actually enjoyed having sex with other people. And sometimes, in a drunken dissociated state, some other animal in you did enjoy it; the way you enjoy being stuck in bed with the flu when you're sick of your crappy job. Or the way you enjoy getting so fucking high and deprived that you keep creeping up to that tipping point where, at any second, you might altogether transcend life. But you wielded your martyred pussy like an unholy weapon, aggressively pointing that thing at whichever half flung demented ill-conceived hard-on dared come near you. As if you were getting revenge on the world by giving it exactly what it wanted...WTF?

Any chronically depressed deathwishing tomboy would behave likewise. Listlessly giving in whenever a dude predictably bitches about his pitiful lack of sensation from wearing a condom during those few minutes that he'll be fucking you from behind with his eyes shut tight. His momentary pleasure always outweighs any of the consequences that you, the disposable drunk slut, might incur from this lackluster, futile attempt to feel loved by another human being -- albeit, another random jackass of a human being that you just met at some lame keg party down the street. But rest assured, he will tell you the next morning, almost immediately after you've spit his cum out of your mouth, how much he truly loves his girlfriend. And for a moment, you'll sit with the despised wondering of why there was no mention of any girlfriend last night. Then he will magically vanish after taking down your number, just in case, and politely inquiring, "Uh, what was yer name again?"

Stop doing this to yourself.

So as you laid unconscious on that operating table, with all that scar tissue to cut through and anemic as a paper plate, you rapidly bled out. Your soul easily slipped your body off and for a minute or two, you were gone. An immense peace engulfed you as you floated above your body and flew through a long dark tunnel toward the warmest golden white light you've ever seen, completely beyond even the concept of beautiful. A vividly androgynous being of unknown origin, bathed in a radiant royal blue light appeared before you and asked you, in a deeply soothing oak tree voice, to make a choice. Begrudgingly, you chose to live. The blue being then said, "There is a lot of work you must do."

"We almost lost you there," the glib nurse said when you woke up in another semi-sterile metal bed. Twisting the stiff white sheets aside to go take a piss, that 5 foot shuffle pretended to last an eternity as you dragged that drip bag behind you like a life line. "Lucky yer not dead," she said with a chuckle and left. Closing the bathroom door, you sat surreally slowly down onto the toilet seat and stared at the silverfish slivering indifferently across the flecked olive puce and tan colored linoleum tiled floor. Eyelids heavy as lead from the morphine that flooded your veins like teddy bear stuffing, you listened to the drops of pee echo as they fell into the porcelain bowl's belly.

Still no visits from your boyfriend Ben. But J9 came by. She'd left a little jar of yellow and white Get Well daisies, there on the window sill. You were so grateful for this gesture then, and even now still.

One day later, you were pushing hard against the glass doors. Despite the hospital staff's concern that they should not release you until someone showed up that you could hold onto, you informed them that you had no more quarters left for the pay phone and that you wanted to wait outside. "I'm sure my boyfriend will be here any minute," you said. But you knew he was never gonna show up.

Soon enough, you'd be home. Soon enough, you'd lay your eyes on your bed and instantly know that Ben had cheated on you during your 3 day vacation with death. Soon enough, you'd see it behind your actual eyes in one sudden flash - a short, stocky woman with brown curly hair flailing about wildly while he did her doggystyle. His infidelity would not shock you. You wore cynicism like a suit of shining armour. Rather, you'd be more intrigued by this newfound clarity with which you could psychically perceive what had happened in your absence, as if those rumpled sheets would hold this memory of his betrayal just long enough to show it to you. And soon enough, Ben would admit that the event you could somehow see in your head was indeed,

Bolting out of the hospital doors into the soft sting of winter's air, breathing never felt so good. You had made the choice to live, to return to this bittersweet hell, to smack back down into grim reality after being absorbed in the pure infinite peace of that other place. It had changed you. Your soul now felt wide awake, palpable, real. It exists ~ it is aware and alive, inside of and in spite of, this damaged scarred beaten down motherless and childless but fucking resilient young begotten body.

Yes, there is a lot of work you must do. And this new driving force fueled your long walk all the way back to Allston. It's godlike song kept your steps in time as you trudged through the snow and ice with the threatening determination of a thousand furious horses on fire.