Summer Fall Winter Spring
There is a Van Gogh painting of a wheat field with cypresses (1889). A sky full of curvy clouds touch the tips of trees above a golden field. I used to be afraid of my father. Even old and frail now, he is a towering, oppressive figure that dominates whatever space he occupies. In that painting, though it is of beauty, I only see those trees casting their long shadows on the foliage below, and I am reminded of when I was a child with no sun.
I used to hate my mother. Having suffered a great loss at a young age, She feared that at any moment the worst was to come. We were sheltered to the point of severe naivety, and bullied ruthlessly in school for it. It also did not help that we were poor. Everyday they would make fun of my cheap shoes, oversized jeans, and mended backpacks.
I used to want to die. I remember one day I got jumped in the bathroom after school by three big bullies. I was a small kid bleeding on the sticky bathroom floor. My new watch that I was so incredibly proud of was shattered. I got into the car, and the only thing my dad noticed was the watch, and he said that I did not deserve nice things.
I used to love watching samurai movies. We lived in public housing. Our back porch extended out to an undeveloped land. I had a knife. I left as soon as he dropped me off. I knew my mom would notice, and I did not want to explain what happened as she smothered me with her anxiety. I hiked up the road to where there was a secret trail that the homeless used to drink and do drugs. There was a lake. At the edge lilies grew. I sat down on my feet, put the knife in front of me, and took off my shirt. The first stab left a red mark above the navel, but it did not penetrate. The second stab cut a little of the skin, but not by much. I steeled myself, tensed my muscles, and with a loud scream I … could not do it.
I used to want to have kids. Now as an adult I have come to realize that the broken things inside of me will never heal, and I may inflict the same horror on my child. With me will die that cycle, and when this husk finally fails, I hope that it will be used as tinder for a bright and warm fire, instead of emitting that same cold of a forlorn dark I had come to know.