Catatonia seems to be the only fitting word to describe the years of my childhood. I blanketed myself in the pallid sweetness of catatonia from the moment I first discovered how to hang upside down on the monkey bars at my local elementary to the beginning of seventh grade. It started largely with the uproar between my parents, much like two political parties: two different ideologies pitted against each other in their respective sordid affronts. My mom based her articulations out of a consideration of humanity, the breath of human collaboration where she derived much of her maternalness and comfort. My father, on the other hand, took to beating when it suited him, a fact that fired up my mom to something beyond human.
I hated my father; I truly did. I hated him most of all because his reflection stared back at me in the mirror: same ugly, hooked nose, same eyes veiled with suspicion and malice. I especially hated the fact that he took to makeup to conceal those vicious eye bags which plagued his youthful mirage. Admittedly, he taught me a lot about the real world with his parenting style: the collective doesn't give a damn about you, so get used to hunting for real solutions. I learned this as early as twelve when I began sneaking out of my father's house. The sounds of bodies slapping and slamming against each other, supplemented by discordant pop rhythms drove me out the front door with the housekey buried in the sole of my shoe. I would leave for hours, connected in heart to my iPod nano, the scratchy tunes of Jack White filling my ears with nostalgic impulses.
Try to imagine a twelve year old dribbling a soccer ball between her skinny legs at 4 am as she crossed desperate, winding sidewalks, dipping under construction signs and bulldozed asphalt around a little red school called Sand Piper Elementary. Luckily, I never ran into any trouble, but a few black sedans lingered longer than necessary as they followed my erractic trajectory. Those shabby knees of mine with legs connected to flat feet would not have made it out in time. I also made a habit of ordering my own food, since the only remnants of my father's fridge were spoilt mayonaise, a half-empty salsa container, and chocolate liquer that stank of post-recession divorce.
It wasn't half bad; because after age four I transcended the spankings in favor of a new phenomenon: heavy-handed neglect in the most ironic sense. I remember my small hands probing the gold doorknob that seperated me from my father, who was far too busy spooning his equally small Asian wife, watching the same old episodes of 24 with Keifer Sutherland as he munched on stale tortilla chips. This occured in the same manner, day after day. On school days I would get up as early as 5:30 am to make the commute from San Jose to my middle school in San Carlos, a more, affluent suburban neighborhood at the time that assured civillians they wouldn't get double crossed on the streets.
My twin brother slept on a deflated air mattress in the times we spent at our father's house. Of the two of us, he was the least favorite.
I don't know what's become of my father now. Frankly, I wonder whether or not his heart palpitations have finally swelled into maddening bursts, with those blood pressure pills a tad too weak for his middle-aged body. I wonder if the toupee of patchy, mystery hair on his balding scalp had wilted flat on his head. I wonder if he's yellowed out like old papyrus, his body finally matching with his rotten insides. A part of me hopes that he is dead, because at least he will have a convienient excuse for missing out on my wedding, the birth of my first child, the birth of his grandchildren.