My mother called this morning to tell me that my cousin, Cathy, spent the night in the hospital with my Uncle Cando. I’ve learned over the years that she likes to be the first to call with the bad news. She usually starts with, “Guess what?”, and her voice drops a register. That’s how I know bad, i.e. death, tragedy or shocking information, is coming.
See “Finding a New Bodega or How I Get Information Out of My Mother“, posted earlier.
Cando, according to my mother, has only hours to live. Very dramatic. She says he is in alot of pain, that maybe, paybacks are a bitch. Very resigned. This is as far as she will go as a condemnation of Candos’ sins. These sins include the general verbal abuse of his wife, my Aunt Lucy,a “saint” in the family’s eyes because she put up with his crap for years. The sexual abuse of my mother’s sister, Aunt Felice, who Lucy and Cando took in after her mother’s murder. The verbal and possible sexual abuse of Cousin David, another stray they took in. The verbal abuse his son Andy took over the years, maybe for being too soft spoken and effeminate. And the sexual abuse of Peter, his great nephew, that I witnessed that day I stopped in to visit him.
For years I didn’t believe he had molested Aunt Felice because she was crazy, just like her murderous father. She had lived in a fantasy world for years. I remember when she lived with us. She had the room accross from me and my sister, Carmen. Aunt Felice would be getting ready to go out with her girlfriend, Peggy. She’d be listening to the radio, dancing and pretending that she was talking to someone. I guess you wouldn’t categorize this as mental illness, but as subsequent events unfolded, it was, to me, a precursor. Later, when she really went crazy, I would think back to the time she lived with us and I would conjure her up in my mind, dancing in her girdle and bullet bra. Me and my sister would just look at each other and wonder who the Hell she was talking to, but it was out of our relm of experience. Sometimes I swore there must be someone in the room with her, but there wasn’t, because I’d peek around the corner and look. Sometimes I would just ask her, flat out, who she was talking to. I always got the same answer, no one, so I eventually gave up this line of questioning. It was just her imaginary friend, which at age 25 or so, she was too old to have. I would tell my mother that Aunt Felice talked to herself and she would respond that it was a wonder everybody didn’t talk to themselves with kids like us around. She always had a smart-ass answer, and I thank my lucky stars I inherited that from her. I like to say I was taught by a master. I can only remember once or twice in my life when I didn’t have a sarcastic response handy.
Anyway, I feel like a citizen of France, waiting for the word that the king is dead. Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!