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Fighting in cars with boys

by Anonymous

August 31, 2018

Content Warning: abuse

Dad loved to get into fights in the car. It was the perfect vehicle for him to deliver the muted blows, the pointed whispers to a prone and helpless victim in the passenger seat while he steered through the steaming asphalt rivers of South Florida. As I got older, I got through these car rides by staying quiet and imagining him dead.

My favorite car fight happened when my dad tried to tell me that my mother had gotten pregnant with me as something of an accident. The implication being that she didn’t intend to have me, or she was somehow helpless in the decision to give birth. My mother was just a woman carried along through nine months of gestation period with the kind of casual “whoops” that might befall someone clumsily dropping a glass of wine.

This was not an uncommon theme of bullshit for him, and it suited his needs very well. It gave both me and my mother less legitimacy in one fell swoop.

Very calmly, “That’s not true. If she just wanted to get married and have a kid why have an abortion the first time she found out she was pregnant?”

He paused, confused, his eyes shifting to me. I froze until he murmured some affirmative.

“Oh. Right.”

The moment the words were out of my mouth I remembered.

My mother had told me, a few days after she had married my father she found out she was pregnant and very quietly without telling anyone not even my father, gotten an abortion. It was another two years before she decided to have me.

My dad, not wanting to show his hand, had feigned understanding.

We drove the rest of the way in silence.

I love you, Mom.

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