Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Wall Made Of Windows


The man who murdered my godmother gave me a wedding present she had purchased for me days before her death. Nobody knew he had killed her at that point, but my family suspected (he made it look like a suicide). Nonetheless, when he called with the offer of the present, my soon-to-betrothed and eventually like everyone else soon-to-be divorced drove during a thunderstorm late into the evening to her old house to pick this gift up. She met this creepy dude in the personal ads (this was years before the internet and match.com and its other little friends) and there was something of a stigma attached to this sort of behavior, an aura of desperation that had forced you into writing what I consider the most difficult form, your life and needs meted out in a tiny little box designed to lure your true love. I do not know what she wrote, but I do know that I adored her. As a child, she'd hold me for hours and tell me about how I'd have to beat the boys off with sticks. She'd tell me about her students, ones who didn't have enough money for soap, who came from homes where they were beat and burnt and hurt beyond all reason. To speak to a child as if she were an adult about real things is, I think, the greatest gift. She'd been through the ringer, shock treatments for depression, pills, hands bandaged and ragged from washing them so much. She did not hide this from me, and I was not afraid.

But I was afraid driving through the storm with someone I was way too young to marry to pick up God only knows what from a man my daddy called Ace. Daddy was not a sarcastic man and this was as close as he got to insult. I stepped inside the huge house she had, one wall entirely made of windows, and started to shiver after I saw the clown doll that Ace had given her for her birthday. She'd been so happy to find him, even if his tastes in presents was a little off! That clown looked as friendly as John Wayne Gacy, and Ace handed over the present. We took our leave without a moment's hesitation. She and Ace had recently married in a secret ceremony nobody was invited to, and she signed the card from both of them. I opened the package right away, and it wasn't like any other gift she'd ever given me. Most of those had been beautiful dresses or jewelry. This was a white hand-held blender. Right then, I realized that marriage was going to be a lot harder than I thought. I tried to use it in honor of her, but cooking is not my thing. I kept her card, the last bits of her writing I have. But what happened to the blender, those sharp blades that I cut myself on one too many times, is anyone's guess.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I was right not to be afraid of any thief but myself, who will end by leaving me nothing." Katherine Anne Porter

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Food and Loathing Betsy Lerner

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

9 comments:

Dr. Jennifer Melfi said...

I hope you're not chained away from the TV on Sunday, Sept. 16 so you can watch the Emmy's! I'm nominated! Thanks for all your support of the show, Michelle!

Cheri said...

Clowns are the worst thing ever invented. Never comical they are hideous and frightening.

ugis said...

I find it touching that you've finally written a post involving me and my inherent creepiness.

You've even managed to belittle me yet more by reducing the whole bubbling morass down to a doll, something even a child might play with then throw down in ridicule. Very poignant, as well as being highly ironic.

You see, Michelle, me and Gacy and clowns all have a lot in common, as noted by my pretentious veiled threats delivered in Soprano character mock-up, such as the one above.

That's why I teach at Macomb, as opposed to write. Well, you do both, so I can't say anything about you. Unless its foul and disgusting.

And I can't even scare you or your students. You think me a clown...

a pity.

the walking man said...

Word scan be so beautiful in expressing the love and respect one person has towards another and so wonderful in the ability with one word "Ace" used to convey so much disrespect one person has for another.

I also love the way they can contain veiled threats that are made towards one who is untouchable. One who compares himself to a homosexual serial killer.

Under
Graduate
Interdisciplinary
Studies

Yes I love words but I am so far from an undergraduate degree, how many credits do I get for face painting (besides face painting in blood I know nothing about it, but maybe I could use the blood as an extra credit assignment)
serial killing could be my Interdisciplinary study professor "UGIS," what do you think any room left in either your clown class or your killer class.

Of course I have no fear of clowns or words and I think I may have gotten over my fear of death a long time ago, especially someone else's. My e-mail is readily available so please contact ME ace, I need the college credits to graduate. I do have this problem though I don't know how to write between the lines.

mark

JR's Thumbprints said...

Michelle,
You mustn't forget that those walls have ears too. It's too bad no one listens.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like your father's use of the name "Ace" here. It certainly seems to convey much. I think most people know when we've met someone who is a problem, even if we won't admit it to ourselves.

eric1313 said...

I always liked the term Ace. I saved it for those people who where quite obviously a few hundred pounds more than me, and yet felt some kind of need to act pushy, to impress their friends, or what ever reason. You know, as in, "Ease off, Ace. Unless you mean it."

A good stare in the face, and usually they back down--unless they meant it!

Then its a crap shoot as to weather I could get a shot glass or bottle in my hand fast enough to defend, or just eased my own wild acey deucy right back the hell off.

"gimme three steps, gimme three steps mr. and you'll never see me no more... for sure!"

Brian in Mpls said...

Clowns scare the shit out of me

ray da grouch said...

hey this ugis guy sounds like a creepy douche.

you want me to take care of him, toots?


PS- Gandolfini is a lardarse.