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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

my life continued...

funny how things turn out.

i was a melancholy, subdued child.

do i hear a gasp of astonishment and disbelief from my audience?

true story.

the many horrors of my childhood included this bizarre and poignant story:

one of my mother's dearest friends married a fellow who was- to put it mildly- slightly 'off'.

all of their children were a little strange. not dangerous, but just not right.

grandma laura, as we called her, was a precious little lady with a boisterous laugh and a heart of gold. she stood about 4 foot 8 inches in high heels. not that she ever wore high heels...rubber boots, more likely.

anyway.

one summer i remember the whispers, always the whispers...'manny's run away again.'

manny was her youngest son, a few years older than me. emmanual...her blond baby boy. a silent, hunched child from my memory. i never recall hearing him speak. i see him sitting in the shadows, in corners, looking sideways out of haunted eyes. in nowspeak, he creeped me out.

he always ran away from home.

summers, this was ok.

winters, not so good.

usually, they found him, cold and hungry and terrified, in the bush near their farm. grandma laura would praise Jesus in church and weep and shout and stomp her joy over the return of the reluctant prodigal.

one fall, manny ran away. the whispers again. only this time, they couldn't find him. and he didn't come home.

all winter we waited. every sunday grandma laura would stomp and shout and weep and laugh and hold on to her faith in Jesus bringing manny home.

we hoped. oh, how we hoped. mom cried.

the long horror of the winter passed. spring came with aching beauty and the hope of finding manny holed up somewhere in a shack, or sheltering at some farmer's place out of the bush.

no manny.

i was in high school already when they found his bones, hunters pushing bush- they assumed it was him. there wasn't much left. he would have been about 20. he'd been lost 4 years.

strange- i don't remember grandma laura's reaction to the finding, only to the losing. and i remember the whispers, most of all.

a little bit more of my mind broke off, numb with the unspeakable.

funny how things turn out.

(to be continued...)