editing Jen

I stopped half way through 

Jen’s autobiography

Because things got dark when

The Ouija board killed

The man cleaning the coffee pot in the kitchen

Close to the unnamed laundromat which seems to me to be

A protagonist they used to smoke and drink behind

She was only 13

Don’t-didn’t-can’t-now

Tell mommy

That is when the addiction started…

“We struggled, moved to the next road over in a house outta apt, Tara was staying out all night, got a boyfriend way way older than her”

She lived with her father and her stepmom until Jen was born and she was abused.  Then she came to live with her mother.

“The Monopoly Game at McDonald’s-Tara and I lived on that for that whole summer.”

Other people in the house played a different kind of monopoly game, eating everything, seven people in a three bedroom house.

“He and his girlfriend in my mother’s bed..we did not warn them when she came home…she threw the girl out”

Inadvertently losing both a daughter-in-law and her own favorite bar shirt which the young woman was wearing at the time.

“Mom started doing cocaine”

Lou started…

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Quiet Here

Jen asks me why the parenthesis around Badamo(?) and I give her part of an answer in words then spend the rest of the day thinking about how inefficient it is to attempt to distill rage, grief, voicelessness into a slim set of punctual marks.

There was a moment (or a million) after I lost my foster daughter (Veronica Celeste Badamo) when I thought, baby mills (they never cared who they were hurting, I was just a care-giver placeholder, God, how much this hurts)…

I was (just) a foster mother.  Just a bystander, unless heartbreak were a thing objectively quantifiable.

Not just the way they lied to us.

All the children who got taken.

All the voicelessness 

In parentheses.

So irrevocable.

Jen’s Story, Part 2

just the (minimalist) editor here-

Part 2

I miss her.

She’d call me Jennybug.  She was sexually abused by her paternal uncle. They made my brother watch. Devastating.  Terrible monsters.

My father had been exposed to agent orange in Vietnam.  He got cancer.  It was bad…before he got sick…he stole me when he was in remission.

My brother had just gotten out of the army reserves and needed socks so we were living at my Pap-pap’s.  I was only eight.  I had a bad feeling and I begged and begged my mother not to take him to the store.

They left me at the laundromat to get the socks from the store.  As soon as they left my dad showed up and took me.

End Part 2

Jen’s Story

My friend wrote a story– hit me in the gut.  Here it is.  Not my words, hers:

We used to hide in the closet not knowing if our mom was dead or alive.  She had a scholarship but my Pap-pap got sick so we moved in and she hung out with the wrong people.

She wouldn’t go to school because people would make fun of her.  Her stepmom used to lock her and my brother in the basement, crack eggs on their heads, beat them…

She raised me, never had a minute without me unless I was with my Grams.

We had a boat. My dad loved her as his own.  We three were always on the boat.  We used to have to go chop wood and drag it and it was cold.

They were cheap so they used the fireplace, ugh-deer meat! They made us eat deer meat.  I refused to eat it. She did dishes, so I would spit it in a cup and she would throw it away for me. 

Funny…

End Part 1