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Early Spring 1988 arrived. Its Vernal Equinox was followed in just a greening month’s time by its Earth Day. One of those other people was about to enter my life, a woman this one was, by the simple name of Li Zhang, a name which probably, right now, labels nearly a million or more people in the World – both women and men alike. That’s a point. This not keeping my little self within, literally now, my very own homeland protected from other people can arise from so many, many angles that these unsafe people might as well all have the same name and I not be able to tell them apart. They’re so alike in several ways, the least of which, of course, are their own names. I, to this day, have never met this woman face to face. She was lodging one particular March day and night at the Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago and, while conferencing there, was apparently victimized by theft of some valuable stuff of hers I was told, a camera or a purse or a microscope. Something like that.
There’d been a medical meeting. I believe the umpteenth medical meeting in my and the Truemaier Boys’ lives. When Herry left Othello Drive for it, I was only given the same ol’, same ol’ as I had been so passively and so wickedly told at the outset of all of the rest of the local and statewide medical meetings or national, cross – country trips Herry had taken and attended before this 1988 one. That being, at a minimum, two per year for 11 years so not umpteen of them but, as a matter of fact, about 22 or 23 for certain by now, “Where am I going to be? You don’t need to know that, now do you really? Do ya’? If an emergency came up, well, … well, you’d have to go on and handle it by yourself alone anyhow, now wouldn’t ya’, Cunt? Well, wouldn’t ya’?!”
“Yeah. Yeah, Herry, I suppose so.”
“Well, then. I’m off.”
And that was it. Gone. No kiss. And no telephone number. At where to try to get a hold of him.
Hell, Herod Edinsmaier wouldn’t even know himself the first names nor the last ones of the vast majority of our babysitters, let alone, their home telephone numbers around the towns where we lived; that is, the Boys’ surrogate caregivers – when their primary one wasn’t I, that person never being he. In case when he telephoned home to say that his plane had arrived to wherever safely and we four were unavailable or out when he called, then Dr. Edinsmaier could ring up one of them instead with the message that he was okay and ask them to get it back to us. We didn’t always have an answering machine in those days. Then Herry could go on about his medical business meeting there knowing that we, his loving family back in his homeland, were reassured about his safe arrival and subsequent sojourning, too.
Shit! For what did I just the fuck go and write that down? He never called back to say that. No, he never, ever did. Not one time did Dr. Herod Edinsmaier even try to telephone back home or to anyone else near our several, various homes – nannies, neighbors, my friends – to say anything like that at all: that he was safe. Much less, to find out … if we were!
What am I thinking?! Herry never even locked the homeland doors before himself retiring to bed at night. Actually outwardly stating to me that that was too much work to do, that he was too tired and that it wouldn’t matter anyhow: if someone really wanted to get inside and do us all in, why then they’d find a way to get that done – with us all locked in or not.
So. I, every single night of the 12½ years which he, according to mother – fucking society and according to himself, headed up and was socially credited as its bloomin’ lord and master with keeping safe our household, locked all of our homes’ doors myself. If they were going to be secured at all, then it was up to me – – no matter how tired I may have been, too. No matter that. That little itty bitty thing. No matter that it was every single night. The man, he is especial. He is, ya’ know, so off to bed he goes whenever, however. Don’t you be expecting him to do any of the work of protecting and of keeping safe you, let alone, his and your kids, by his having to do the work of remembering to and then actually getting up off of his ass and going to the ridiculously stupid effort of locking the family home’s mother – fucking doors.
Fuck, Dr. Edinsmaier gets to sleep right through anesthetized and unconscious women’s (that’s plural!) scheduled breast biopsies without actually losing anything, like ya’ know, his job, let alone, his medical license! Why shouldn’t I be thinking that Herry would also get to sleep right through basic home security, too?!
“Fuck!” I used to think every single time but dare never state to Herry for fear of his upbraiding and dressing down, “Mirzah could be dead, Herry! Mirzah could be stone – cold dead – and … and Jesse and Zane and I have him buried already! And you would never even know to care to be back in town in time from any of your bloody fucking meetings to kiss him good – bye. We could actually do that! We could actually bury for you … all – absolutely all … of your blesséd children for all you knew and cared! Many times over we could actually have done this! For all that you cared.”
But silenced I kept. Every single trip. Herry always had at his ready that standard, pat ‘question – answer’ sprinkled with those little extra loving terms of endearment for departing from me, “Well, Bitch, you’d have to handle it now yourself alone anyhow, wouldn’t ya’?!, Well now, wouldn’t ya’?” That common genre of question that Dr. Herod Edinsmaier had himself, often, already concretely – hard and cold as concrete stone – answered ... as he was allegedly mouthing its querying words. Same type of already answered question as when Herry from those darkened halves of the bed simply took for himself from behind those any – time – of – night, rocks – off quickies which he unloaded up my anus.
Same as everywhere else we lived. If I truly did need to know the name of the hotel, its phone number for guest information, the name of the meeting, the length of the meeting, the brand of flight or the route driven or, well, let’s just say if I needed to know squat I would, now 22 or 23 times, have had to call up Dr. Edinsmaier’s colleagues’ spouses and ask from them all of this information. “Gosh, Ms. Goldstein, ah, Ella, do you know the name of the hotel where Dr. Goldstein, ah, where Freddie, is going to be? And they’re taking what flight? And, … ah, ‘nd they’re expected back, ah, when exactly now? Gosh. Thanks an awful lot. So sorry to’ve been a bother to you about this.”
Never, in 22 or 23 times, was there even the illusion to me that if shit happened to any one of us four, Herry’d be like, “Whoa, Darling, I’m there! I’m on the next flight there! Just hang on, Love! Hug the babes and keep your eyes and your arms open. I’m almost there!” Never. Not one mother – fucking time. Ever. O, wait a sec! It did too! Several times this happened. But always in Another World … in my Fantasy World.
Just like Herry never once rang up my folks living very near to Iowa City to ask them if his most belovéd wife and his most belovéd children had made it there to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s okay. Not one time. Ever. When all four of us – alone and always, always without Herry – traveled to Mehitable’s and AmTaham’s for any kind of those 12½ years’ worth of vacations or holidays or just simple, ordinary visits.
It took one hour to slide across slithery Columbia one christmas eve the ice and the wind were so bad. And it was now, on its northernmost slope, dark – time treacherous.
A normal trip to Williamsburg in great weather and with good roads? Six hours. Three little itty bitty kids all lined up in the back in their respective car seats and their mama. Christmas eve and an hour to navigate what normally took a mere 10 minutes. I pulled into the last gas station before leaving the City and rang up mom. To hear Mehitable’s response, you’d’ve thought our not coming for christmas that year was going to bring down the Fires of Hell onto all the little girls’ and all the little boys’ christmases all over the World. “It’s noooot that bad out. The reports here are not what you say. You’re always exaggerating. You don’t know. What’s Herry say? I just know it’s not that bad. You’re overreacting again. Just take it slow. What’s Herry say? You’ve talked to Herry, right? What’s he say? The Boys’ll be sooooo disappointed. How can you take this away from them? Herry wouldn’t. You know he wouldn’t. You know he wouldn’t say no to them. You know that. He wouldn’t sooooo disappoint them like you’re goin’ to.” Mehitable, of course, didn’t right out loud on the telephone say Bitch! Or Stupid! Or Stupid Ass Heifer! Or You Don’t Have a Brain of Your Own! But. She did.
Herry didn’t even look up when we walked back in the door.
At least and, of course so alone the next morning on christmas day, I thanked myself, “We didn’t go. I stood alone. We did not go. I did not try to move – with my babies, with my babies’ breaths – one mother – fucking inch further. Merci. Merci. Danke very much!”
That particular 24 December evening I probably saved all of our lives and the lives of folks we don’t even know and will never know. Another one of those life – altering events that night. Gone wholly unnoticed and unheralded. Except by a mother fucked. I had only myself to give me gratitude. Which is exactly how Herry would have it. What I am thinking now is, “How many, many fucked mothers just like me were also trying to do that, that is, trying to do the impossible that night and every holiday eve before and since? The World over? How many?” Because I certainly know why they are. And why they and their babies die when they do try to accomplish the impossible. The insanely and stupidly impossible dicta of allegedly powerful and controlling others.
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Mother - Fucking:
Chapter 14, "Husbandry and Homeland Security," pp 81 - 83
Chapter 14, "Husbandry and Homeland Security," pp 81 - 83