of Duplicity.

August 8, 2010

The vast and dangerous wilderness

Granddad lied.
Both my Brother and I, at our most vulnerable, in his hands. To mold and ply as he wished. Hanging on his every word.
Leading us out to his garden, to that back of 48 The Oval, What then, seemed a vast and dangerous wilderness to a four year old, was in fact, a few meager rows of cabbage, rhubarb and… potatoes. Those potatoes.
In each of our hands a seed. At his direction, we carefully scratched out small divots of earth and gently placed in them our very own seed of potato. Mine, and my Brother, his. Amongst the many others, already planted. All under the watchful and paternal gaze of our trusted Grandfather.
“There now, some time and you’ll both be eating your own spuds”
Some time, as it turned out, was the very next day.
Again, at his direction, we ventured back into the garden and where he pointed, we dug. Reaping two mature and perfectly suited potatoes for that evenings fare. With immense pride and broad grins, presenting them to our Grandmother for preparation. Our Contribution, Nana.
Some butter, a smidgen of salt. A hint of toil and harvest, The best potato I’ve EVER eaten.
Consider, I was no more that four years old. That I have precious few memories of that time in my life and that this farce, this ruse, this premeditated act of deceit, this lie…this wonderful lie, was one.
Lie to me.
Fill me with tales of fairies and monsters. Of beanstalks and dragon slayers. Have me bite my knuckles in terror and brighten with delight. Lie to me and make me believe. Make up stories of little wooden puppets with schemes to become little boys of flesh and what might happen if I follow the wrong path.
Then…let me grow up. You might be surprised at how easily I figure it out. Sorting truth from fable. At some point knowing the truth about Santa but never letting go of the joy he brought. Looking forward to when I can go to such great lengths to deceive my own.
You might even have to protect me from the truth. Deciding for me, as a child, if I can handle the truth, understand it.
“Mommy…whats this?? ~bzzzzzz~” “Well Honey…I use that on my hair…to..curl it. Now let me have that and you stay out of Mommy’s things, like you’ve been told, okay?”
“Mommy…whats this?? ~bzzzzzz~” “Well Honey…I use that to pleasure myself with. Here, let me show you in this Sex manual that has pop-ups for children just your age”
This trend of always telling the truth to our children, for truths sake. Really?
Yea…Lie to me.

7 Responses to “of Duplicity.”

  1. Alice said

    R, again I’m charmed by how dearly you express yourself…and touched by your obvious regard for your grandfather…how he created this magic and this memory, a gift he gave you and which you carry into your adult life. What a remarkable tribute to your grandfather.

    As a mother, in general, and as the mother you refer to in this piece in particular, I adore you for celebrating that there are lies adults tell the children they love in order to protect the innocence of their young days, to give them that sweet enchantment your grandfather gave you.

    You so clearly see now what your grandfather was doing there in that garden. Would that we were all able to see our family members as whole, dynamic people who live their lives in a way where no harm is intended, where we trust that those with whom we share blood live earnestly with no malevolence and no eye toward creating hurt, pain, drama. Your respect for your bloodline is evident in the way you treat your grandfather’s memory. I wish your family could be as circumspect with you. Always, in your reflections of any childhood experience or family interaction, you have squarely shunned martyrdom, victimization, playing the wounded party. The idea that you might relish this role, that you might seek sympathies and look for wounds in yourself, is so outside the frame of who you are that there seems little hope to fix what is so broken. Creating pity or sympathy for your life, past and current, is anathema to what you stand for, so at odds that I advise you to not be troubled at all when confronted with such accusations. These who might wonder at your intent or who suppose you wish to cause harm…I ache for these people because they are not aware, not in any way, how you walk around in life carrying yourself. They are so far afield of knowing you, of knowing that there is no light you hold to anyone without having first stood in its glare. Unblinking. They are unknowing of your unerring graciousness and often-bittersweet regard for your people—your family (whether present or not), and those who have that distinct privilege of being in your life.

    Your choices are self evident and your life needs no disclaimer, no rationalizations. You are respectful. You are good. Your intentions are pure. You meant to pay homage to your grandfather, and you did. Anybody, whether they know you or not, can see this in this piece. This affectionate and unpolluted piece of gold. Those who don’t see it deliberately turn away from what you are expressing, and that’s a shame.

    Let the bridge burn, turn to ash, and fall into the water below. Steer forth.

    Finally, a word to those who would criticize Roland for this written piece or for his life. The loss for you is great. I regret that you can read his words and draw conclusions about him, negative conclusions, about his intent or his current life or his heart or his future. You have no idea. And I grieve for you. There is no man, none, I know as reflective, evolved, insightful. There is no man I would trust as much with my life, and even the lives of my children, based on who he is and what he stands for in the world. You don’t know him. And from where I sit, that makes you a victim. “You are a victim of yourself.”

  2. Well, parents can always go the route mine took; show Debbie Does Dallas to their nine year old and field questions after.

    That skin flick seems quaint by today’s standards. How is a mother supposed to explain spitting and pony buttplugs?

    My parents were ridiculously open and honest and it probably made me pathologically honest. Oh, the feelings I’ve hurt.

  3. ofreh said

    That a Mother might explain spitting or pony buttplugs to a child at all, is suspect.
    I have no counter to your point though and it’s well taken. In the end, of choice.
    Mine, for the record, is to wax poetic (hurl) of memories of a childhood filled with imagination and fantasy.
    That you were robbed of all things illusory, having to digest the harshness of reality and brutal honesty at such a tender age, has not seemed to done you ill favor. To the contrary.
    Me?…I’ll just nibble this potato a while yet.

  4. ofreh said

    Yea. Alice. That. You.

  5. Alice said

    I have no idea what pony buttplugs are. I fear them, based on their name alone. Moreover, I fear imagining what they are.

    Yea. This. Me.

    Alice (cringe)

  6. mark harrell said

    bro, i REALLY liked that.

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