This Boy

July 3, 2024

My mother caught wind of something I wrote sometime ago. It wasn’t anything new to her; she lived it as much as I did. But she was angry because some other family members confronted her about it. I didn’t need that, but I get it. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but none of it was new to any of them either.

So if you’re reading this and you happen to know my mother, just say nothing. It’s my story to tell.

On that, when I consider how my own mother feels about the things I write about I can only think of that not-so-old addage: if you wanted me to write you better you should have behaved better (paraphrased).

But here’s the truth of it all, boys and girls. I don’t write to be a dick to people who have shit on me. I write because I know someone out there has been shit upon (shat upon?) and that can be the darkest, lonliest place. If my story can help them in any way at all – whether it simply makes them feel less alone, or maybe helps them find a light at the end of a very dark tunnel – I will consider it a win.

I write because I live in my own head. I survived a lot of the darkest days of my life inside my mind and the world it created for me. I have conversations I play over and over and over again that I wish had gone another way so that the next time I am prepared; so that when I get a text in the middle of the night from a friend on the edge I can say to him what I needed to hear when I was on my own ledge. I make up stories in my head correcting mistakes I made with people who once loved me so that I might do it the right way this time around.

I tell my story the way it plays in my head. In doing that my only hope – my only sense of obligation – is to those other misfit toys that spend most of their time in their own heads – to make them feel, maybe, not-so alone so goddamn always.

So… I’ll call my mom tonight and let her rage at me again. I’ll let her say the words that make her feel like she’s got something resembling control in her own life. I will swallow the blame she will again heap on me and hang up exhausted. I’ll smoke a cigarette and remind myself that this is not an excuse to pick up a drink. I’ll wish I’d had the courage to tell her to fuck off back out of my life. I will choke on the words I say to my wife as she comforts me and does her best to put me back together again.

And sometime in the future I will write something about it so that some other unloved, motherless child can feel something better than rejected, worthless, and unloveable. When I do, please don’t fucking run to my mother about it. Thanks.

-R

©2024 Rudy Martinez