As Heaven Is Wide


It's a Garbage song if you must know

I don’t really know where this is going, I only know I need to write or I might not survive to the next minute. 

It was a strange dream I woke from this morning: The Gorgeous Blonde turned on the coffee and packed her bags. I knew that was her plan because I slept in the guest room after a hard decision was made the night before. I went downstairs to ask her to stay, but she was determined. 

“You’re never going to do anything.” The word DO hung there deliberately. It was so much more than those two letters. A full indictment of my wasted life returned by a grand jury of people who aren’t actual losers. 

I opened my eyes and reached over like I do most mornings. She was sleeping. She was still here. And so was the ember knot in the pit of my stomach. 

I laid there, tear on the verge of escaping. “Get the fuck back in my eye,” I willed it. I heard Shirley in my head admonishing me to keep breathing.

I called my mother the other day. The conversation started out innocuous enough; updates on the goings on of her life, retirement plans, the like.  Had I said goodbye then I would not be writing this. I would not be waking up from shitty dreams of my wife telling me my life is shit; that I am shit. 

It’s a strange thing growing up unwanted by a parent. The list of things that an unwanted child spends pondering:

Why did you bother having me? 

What about me is so unlovable? It must be me. It has to be.

Shouldn’t a mother want her son?

I really must be a piece of shit if my own mother doesn’t want me.

Maybe she knows something I don’t and I should just do the world a favor. 

Rinse, lather, repeat.  

Had I said goodbye then… but I did not say goodbye then. 

So I got to hear the rehashing of the fights she has with her sister about which of them is a worse mother which lead to a rehashing of why she abandoned me in the first place. 

Cliff notes: I would have ended up like my cousins – in prison, shot multiple times, dead. 

She very well may be right. Unlike my cousins, I had a dad who gave a shit. He may have had a little something to say about how I ended up. 

I digress. 

After telling me that she was not the worst of the mothers amongst her sisters (a point with which I agree, by the way) for what felt like the millionth time she added a new twist. One that absolves her. 

“It’s not my fault I didn’t bond with you when you were born. You were in the hospital for 31 days and the doctors wouldn’t even let me touch you so we never got that time and so… ” I let that linger. I wanted to see where she was going with it. 

“You know what I’m saying?” I knew what she was trying to say, but I was not going to let her not say it. “No, not really, mom.”

“A mother needs that time to bond with her child and the doctor wouldn’t let me see you for 31 days so we never bonded.”

And there it was. It was the doctor’s fault for having the temerity to keep me in an incubator so I wouldn’t die.

Absolution is one helluva drug, boys and girls.  

I walked back from the beach letting her hammer this point over and over and over again. A neighbor was outside and wanted to update me on his sick son – stroke – which gave me a respite from the noise in my earbuds. I told her to hold and offered my neighbor a ride to his son’s hospital. 

My neighbor is an 80something year old man and his son is in his sixties. The social distancing just to stay alive has been a strain on some more than others. I will take them to their son the moment they say so. 

I took my mom off of hold and she continued. The momentary break from her snapped my mind back to reality and I rushed her off the phone.  

I’ve been out of sorts since then. Riddled with doubt, trying not to spiral into the black hole of self-loathing. I never don’t hate myself, but I can usually keep the monster’s screams down to a whisper.

It wasn’t my fault I didn’t want you, mijo. 

At least this time it wasn’t my fault, I guess. 

The siege guns having done their worst the towers are standing, but badly damaged. The monster has been unshackled and is pounding the door to get out of the cellar. 

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

The good news is I don’t want a drink. 

I will be okay. I have to be.

But today I woke up barely hanging on, gripping hard for something to hold onto to keep me centered. 

So I will crank the music that keeps me grounded and sober. I will pour myself into the things I can control. I will create… something. 

I might even find a Nazi to punch.

For the record I want to be explicitly clear here: none of what happened to me is an excuse for any of the shitty things I have done to the people who love me. I own the hurt I have caused the people I should love better. Mommy didn’t make me do it.  

I told you at the beginning of this that I didn’t really know where this was going. I just knew that I needed to get it in front of me so that I could fucking breathe. I know I am not the only member of the Unlovable Children Group. If you’re a member of that group then I hope this will serve as a letter to you. A reminder that you are not alone. You are not worthless. And I see you.  


Copyright 2022 Rudy Martinez
©2024 Rudy Martinez