Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pictures of Me

There used to exist, before I destroyed it along with most of the other pictures of my childhood, a picture of me and my maternal grandmother. She was a lovely, hard working woman, and I spent a great deal of my childhood at her house. She, unlike the wolf that raised me, was a wonderful cook, and is probably the reason that I was such a tubby child.  She died about a decade ago on this day, and I, much to my dismay, rarely think of her nowadays,.

Either way, in this picture a (very young, tubby me) is seated upon my doting grandmother's lap it is a picture that Norman Rockwell would be proud of, and is disgustingly happy. Such a happy photo except for one small flaw, that being that in the picture my grandmother is sporting a lovely black eye. When I was older I inquired about how she obtained the shiner in the photo, and was told that the younger version of me had "accidentally' head butted my beloved gran, and given her an unintentional black eye.

It is a sign of my gullibility, and my sheltered childhood that I believed this story without any second thought. After all, who expects the grandmother they worship to lie to them?  Now that I am a fully grown, card carrying cynic, I realize the truth of the matter. It is what I do for a living, not buying the lies I am told on a daily basis. I get lied to a lot, and I like to believe that I have a fairly well developed ability to spot a lie when I am told one.

Fast forward about 20 years until yesterday afternoon, I have been in a murder trial from Monday to Friday of this week, and it was only on Friday afternoon that the jury found the defendant guilty of all sorts of bad things, and sometime next month the judge is going to sentence the murdering bastard to a whole bunch of time in prison (hopefully).  It is what he deserves, and I am mostly proud of the result.

Though the credit for the verdict goes mostly to my brilliant co-counsel, I like to think that I played at least a small role in the piece. Friday night, after the verdict was rendered, was a night of celebration where I received the congratulations of many of my very supportive colleagues, and was bought a whole lot of alcohol.  It was a nice night, and I must admit I was a bit proud of myself. However, as I awoke the next morning with the mother of all hangovers and feeling smug, I realized that instead of basking in the glow of "winning" a trial I should remember the victim.

She was not Snow White, and she was not 'as pure as the driven snow' but she did not deserve to die like she did. She did not die a brave man's death, but died pleading for her life (on the 911 tape).  She had a child in common with her killer, and he took away a little boy's mother. I know it is silly, but I kind of feel that now I have taken away that little boy's father (even though he is a murdering bastard).  That was my week, and I am very glad that it is over. Until yesterday, it was a week that could be classified as a 'good week.'

It was yesterday afternoon that things all went pear shaped.  I was listening to my IPOD, minding my own business ( I find that minding my own business gets me into a lot of trouble), when a song about domestic abuse begin to play, and the 'repressed' memory of my grandmother's black eye bubbled to the surface. It was like my own personal punch in the face. When the, now grown up, me connected the dots that younger me could not manage to do all those years ago, I was shocked at my ignorance.  That song, of all things, brought the concept that my grandmother was a 'battered' woman to the forefront of my mind.It is a good thing that I was already sober (for a change) because it was a sobering, gut wrenching thought, and I must confess that I had several moments of deep seated angst (or I cried like a Frenchman at the fall of Paris, you pick).

After those moments of angst, which are still plaguing me as I write this post, I called the wolf that raised me to confirm my suspicions that my dear gran's 2nd husband (she had buried the 1st) beat the shit out of her on a regular basis. It was confirmed with a world weary sigh, and the comment that "it was a long time ago." I replied that I did not give a shit how long ago it was because it was all new/green to me, and I proceeded to tell the story of my week to the wolf that raised me. I made her promise to visit my grandmother's grave, and pass along the story of my jury's verdict. She promised me that she would, and for only the second time (that I remember) in my adult life the wolf that raised me said "I love you" to me.  It was a proud moment, and a sad moment all at once, and this post is dedicated to all those women and men, like my dear gran that are true victims of domestic violence. You are not alone, and I will be there for you as long as my sanity allows.


tideliar said...

nice. Was glad to be there to have a pint with you mate.

Lindsay said...


Anonymous said...

Mae West once quipped, "I used to be as pure as the driven snow... But I drifted." Well, friend, we've all drifted. Nonetheless, your wasted breath is not always wasted. And this friend is proud of what your voice (and work-wife's) did & do for the "drifted" every day.