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No She Isn’t (Baby, What a Big Surprise)

My Mom drank quite a bit when I was growing up and even more once I was grown. I think like most children of addicts, the thought of outing her for the role she played in my trauma makes me feel guilty. It wasn’t all bad. It almost was, but not quite.

The more work I do on myself, the more empathy I have for my Mom. I know about her childhood, her experiences as a teenaged heroin addict, the traumas that continued to occur throughout her life. My getting out and stopping that cycle gives me a sort of survivor’s guilt. What made me so special and others not? Who would my Mother have been had she the opportunity to breathe for five fucking minutes?

It was a hot summer day with nothing to do but have a few drinks out in the yard. We were at my Mom’s friends’ place… Murray who lived on Murray Street (no wonder he acted like he owned the place.) I must have been 11 or 12 and I loved days like this. I usually got to choose which classic rock records we listened to AND play bartender. It was always fun to see how strong I could mix their drinks before someone noticed it was mostly vodka. Anyway, on this day there was a new person hanging out and she was a fucking nightmare. Big mouth, trying to pick arguments. Her terrycloth tube top and matching sun visor was only overshadowed (literally) by the blue eyeshadow and teal mascara combination that was popular a decade before.

I can’t quite remember what she said, but something set me off and I unloaded on her. I was yelling about how she was being a rude asshole. I called her a bitch and told her no one wanted her there. I think I went off for about 30 seconds before she said with disgust, “You’re just like your mother..” I opened my mouth to reply when I heard my Mom scream “NO SHE ISN’T” as she ran up and decked her right off the picnic table. The woman was absolutely hammered and wasn’t knocked out so much as unable to get up – which may or may not have had something to do with my bartending. I stole $15 out of her purse (as a child does when their mother clocks someone) and they shoved her in the back of the a cab. I handed that $15 to the grown ups and spent the rest of the night with a bottomless cup of mix.

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