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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Velvet Rope/A Stir of Echoes


This is a journal entry I made in Jan or 2003 while at the Manhattan Family Court Building getting a ‘Restraining Order’ against my mother.

There are repressed memories, and there are memories you simply choose to forget. Today has made me wish they were repressed. Maybe then this flood of history wouldn’t be drowning me. I remember as a child sitting in the Bronx Family Court House while my mom would make attempts to force child support arrests on my Father, or sometimes taking matters into her own hands for my grandmother to get “Orders of Protection” against my uncle.

When I was younger they still had the red velvet ropes, just like the movie theatres, but even when they switched to the more functional nylon pull cords it didn’t change the ending. A subpoena that was never served an ‘OP’ that got lost in a drawer; court date forgotten. I can still walk the halls of that court house and not get lost. The layout the procedures never left me. The first floor was ok I knew the guards; they were always nice to me. Adults always noticed me as a child. They knew I was to quiet to calm. I think it must be unsettling to see someone so small and young and know they’re studying you. I know as an adult when I see children do this it scares me.

After passing security we would reach the giant lobby/waiting room that to my five year old height was big enough to play baseball in. However the tall ceilings and marble floors were covered with wooden benches and filled with women and children and some men. The voices carried and echoed in this giant room so everyone always seemed way too loud. (Maybe that was just due to being so low to the ground) I always made sure to bring a toy and learned to just bring one as to not have to share. I would think to myself in a 5 years vocabulary ‘why does she have to subject me to this? I can’t stand these people I can’t stand these other children all you are too rambunctious, don’t you know I’m above all this?” I would always wish that one of the nicely dressed lawyers would find me and decide to take me home to what I imagined was his big colonial house with a picket fence and his photographer wife, where she would always take pictures of me running and playing in the yard with our 2 German Sheppard’s and I’d have a awesome big brother that would teach me sports or a little brother that I would be awesome to. Then while I was sitting around that big lobby if anyone asked I could just tell them “Oh no I’m not like you I’m here with my dad he works here, he’s a Lawyer you know the one that just sent your crazy mom or dad to jail!”

Don’t get me wrong there were some people I would meet that I was able to tolerate. We’d find each other; all you had to do was look for it. I called it the gleam of despair. That loud wish in our eyes to be anywhere but here. We were the ones trying not to speak too loud so that the stupid people didn’t try to converse with us or even worse want you to play with their even dumber children. Like I said for the most part I just tried to stay to myself.

Nothing is as unproductive as a day in family court. It’s a day in your life you never get back; if you’re late arriving you wait till the judges return from lunch and you except defeat. Defeat always left a bad taste in my mouth. As everyone exits to grab a bite you’re left with three types of stragglers. The new arrivals that got there very late and had already ate, the truly pitiful that can’t afford to go buy lunch and worse of all is the category I fell into; the people that snuck in their lunch, either out of laziness to take a walk or like my mom conniving and manipulative. She would try to flirt with a guard of court officer to be pushed up on the list so that she would be next. Now while she would stroll around with her shoulders arched back to make her already arousing figure even more noticeable (she was quite the fem fatale in her day) I would be left eating a sandwich and an apple in front of the lady with three kids and no lunch. I was suffering from ‘onlychilditus’ would not eat so that I didn’t have to be stared at or worse share. This backfired a few times, when my mom would return from flirting she’s find my uneaten food and donate it to the unfortunate as a way to thank who ever was supposedly keeping an eye on me.

My mother always seemed to get along with these ladies; I think because she truly believed she had it just as bad yet she seemed to love knowing that they thought she was better then them. Then again my mother has the ‘ism’ as well so I supposed that was just her way of needing to feel ‘part of’.

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