Split Personality

Memoir Excerpt:

“In the fall of 2001, “There were a number of red flags screaming for my attention. One was the dropped Milton course.  It was totally unlike her to be that irresponsible and give up on something she had started. And then, a far clearer statement, there was the homemade concoction left in the basement for me to find.  On my way downstairs to the laundry room I couldn’t believe my eyes. One of my mixing bowls was full of some off-white substance I didn’t recognize. She wasn’t home when I found it, but I moved it up to the kitchen near the garbage disposal, ready to toss in the morning, so she’d see it when she came home.

At 4:30 a.m., Angie exploded into my bedroom while Gene and I were asleep:

“Mom, whatthefuck! How dare you mess with my stuff downstairs!

Don’t you ever touch my stuff again, youfuckingbitch!”

She looked raw, animal-like, with blood-shot, wild eyes.  I was half-asleep; I hoped I’d been dreaming. Angie slammed the door and my hand mirror, tempting fate on the edge of my dresser, fell to the floor and cracked.  Uh-oh, I thought to myself, seven years bad luck. OK, I guess I’m still asleep. This can’t be happening!  What planet am I on? ‘Scotty, get me outta here!’ Who is this horrible bitch?

Gene went downstairs to check on her, as if there was anything he could do to stabilize this toxic, nightmarish situation. He came right back upstairs, trying to comfort me, the only person he might be able to influence. I remember like it was yesterday how I pushed my face into my pillow, praying to God to put an end to this horror. Little did I know then in the fall of 2001 that this was just the beginning of facing down my daughter’s—and many of my own—demons.

         Oh, well, no more sleep for me. I freaked out—she freaked out—and thankfully moved out, temporarily, to live with her pusher. A half-hour later, I went downstairs to make coffee. Loudly stomping upstairs from her basement hideaway so I’d take note of how mad she was, she brushed by me without a word or a look, stony-faced and resolute. Carrying a garbage bag of clothes and shoes, she slammed the front door as she left. I went to the window to see if she was parked in the fire lane she had always parked in, and for once I was glad because I could watch her for a little longer as she drove away. Two feelings I would spend the next decade learning to reconcile: complete and utter hatred for this stranger who was living in my daughter’s body; and total and complete surrender to love for my child.”


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