War Stories #1: There Is No War Story Here

Remember when I was taunting the monsters to come and get me, because I was (sort of) ready for them?

I knew it was only a sort-of, that’s why I wanted them to come before my unpaid leave was up and I’d have to go back to work and survive somehow. So I could get practice.

Well, they’re here now. So what are they, really? Where do they come from, this particular crop?

Like most monsters, they are my father, really. Anything that caused him the slightest bit of stress would result in him lashing out. Anything. It could have been the smallest of things… perhaps the car needed to be refueled. Perhaps a lamp needed to be bought, and it wasn’t working and needed to be returned. Maybe the soup wasn’t warm enough.

And of course, any big stresses (paperwork, for instance, which I just had to file more of today) resulted in an explosion.

The insidious thing is that there were so many, nebulous causes for his rage. Also, the size of the stresser did not, in any useful way, predict the size of the outburst; you were literally rolling raw unadulterated d20s for his reaction check. To this day, I cannot clearly remember what encouraged my father to try to strangle me; something about coats and jackets. Or perhaps it was just because he was strangling me with my own jacket that left the impression.

It’s a wonder I haven’t killed myself yet to get away from the fact that every. single. thing. could have pushed my father over the edge. It’s no wonder that every once in a while I break down because I can’t take the constant stress.

But it is my father’s stress, not truly my own… he just found an effective way to transfer it, without it actually leaving him.

There is no one, defining incident that birthed all of my neuroses and phobias, which makes it hard to tell war stories sometimes. Oh, there are big milestone markers, like the first time he ran the door over my toes repeatedly to get me to scream, but in large part they aren’t stories. Stories have a structure, three acts, beginning, middle, end; yet these are pretty much random acts of violence wrought by a petty and abusive man.

How can you structure that? How can you even begin to encompass it?

How can you wrap all that up?

I have no idea.

I’ll probably end up writing more posts like these, trying to figure out the equation of mental torment that seems to outline my every reaction to circumstances—except for one.

The only type of circumstances that I thrive in is emergencies.

Such slices of life are a bit small to live on.

I suppose I’ll have to write it out of me….