John Henry Calvinist
it’s always someone else, it seems, who is at home in the world... But,
yet, I can still recall some of time’s lost fragments, when my sister -
finally too old to be unschooled - was away, and my mother & I
(miraculously) had no constant jealousy at our heels...no sleepless
vindict to attack the innocent pleasures that were ours, and I almost
too young to remember.
such joys were fleeting. Parents were fine...parents, though, had
grown-up tight-knit - amidst isolate larger families themselves - and,
never, themselves were so dependent upon a peer-group of one...and one
so without faith, or charity...
such was/and is, sadly, my sib. She never thought of others, save to
break their backs in rivalry...or to use them as the slaves she
craved... And, yet, none was so quick to claim unfairness whenever her
will was thwarted. So I learnt, far, far too early, the false wisdom of
compliance...and have sadly spent most of my life unlearning same.
was the “good” son, inconsequence...entrapped in the role, then blamed
for such - and, especially within our, isolate, family - could never
then walk away from this, without leaving my parents bereaved of any
offspring worth having. And she, she had the power - being two years
older, born without remorse, and high upon self-justification.
she, none other, bore the black dog that abides upon my back...having
ruthlessly shaped me for such a burden years before the damnable thing
itself was fully born...
Still...she did have help.
for one...which condemned me to shift schools three times in four years
- solely for the sin of being born 13 days too late...and far too
precocious a reader to sit idle amidst the previous year. And so, by
the time I was (finally) settled, I had fully learnt never to be too
much at home - outside of home - whilst the gorgon in the nest made
sure that I was never, really, ever at home there. And, yet, home was
always - by unspoken covenant - “ours”... I might - if lucky - be
(regularly) welcomed into the homes of others, as I was...at times.
But, I can never - ever - remember other children at ours, save upon
(very) special occasions.
just perhaps, I might have broken this spell - the fruit of my parent’s
childhoods, and mine own sister’s malignance - were it not for this
I try to look back, upon those first few years of schooling..I seem to
witness, yet again, fragments of a life I never had. All the happiness
of free childhood play I have is there - never to be repeated - with
playmates that were stolen from me, whilst I...I never moved an inch.
But by the time I found a school I/we could/would stay with, I’d learnt
to tight- focus my friendship...a lesson that served me ill - once that
friend moved elsewhere, and the exclusionary politics of puberty locked
in...and my role as isolate/scapegoat became firmly entrenched...at
exit - repeat, NO EXIT - was available. My parents - teachers
themselves - didn’t believe in either selective or private
schooling...and there were no other legal escapes from this dead-end
outer-suburban high school...with one of the poorest academic records
in the entire state. And so, as the “good son” - amidst mine own
sister’s own bullying (tolerated in the name of “fairness”) and
histrionics - I had to, simply, grin & bear it.
subsequent cracks took years to fully fissure - as I (still, damn it!)
tried to do what was wanted - but, eventually, the price had to be
paid. Funnily enough, though...no-one but me is ever to be blamed for
And so, yet again, I am alone...for, it is always someone else, it seems,
who is at home in the world...and, me?
I am here...amidst all of my hard-won defenses,
alone in my room...