THE SEVENTH CROSS

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FLASHBACK

He’d grown up in Portland, Oregon and had a pretty normal childhood, as far as he could recollect. Except he hadn’t, not in the slightest. It’s amazing how well we can bury or suppress thoughts that would render us completely inoperable. And in some cases irreparable. And that’s what happened here. He just didn’t know it yet.

How could he know? Secrets were the thing that kept his family together. And isolated from most of the world. No one ever talked about the yesterday’s in this family. Today and forward, yesterday is done. Except it would never be done!

So that was his legacy even from a child. Anything he’s seen or heard were merely thoughts in his head, or dreams, or in that home, mostly nightmares.

But they weren’t mere thoughts. Any horrid nightmares he had were born out of truth. His father was indeed a monster. And he’d conveniently married Rosa, an immigrant from Guatemala, to give his life a semblance of normalcy. He’d wined and dined her but the reality was that he wanted a mate and she wanted to stay in the US. She tried her best to love him. She knew she’d have to make sacrifices, and that she was prepared for, but she knew she could learn to love him given enough time. But soon after their marriage, he began to change.

Change? Not likely. It’s impossible to hide reality forever and soon she realized that she had made a deal with the devil. Still she stayed. She excused his absences as best she could, and his drinking. After all, she reasoned, he was under a lot of stress. His business was failing and he had began taking it out on her. Like her previous husband.

Perhaps a child would settle him down. So the morning that she announced that they were expecting a child, instead of reacting to the happy news as she thought he would, he hit her. “How dare you!” he screamed. And the abuse that had come before would pale in comparison to what was to come. “Get rid of it!” But she wouldn’t. She would love this child and the child would love her. They would have each other! Who needs him!

But of course, that wasn’t true. She did need him, and he needed her. Dysfunction needs companionship and soon these two became as one. But then Jason came into their life, and for a few years she was happy. As happy as she could be given the circumstances. His dad, on the other hand, treated him worse than a dog, and Jason soon learned to avoid him most of the time. But when he couldn’t, he was ensured of a beating, whether he had done anything wrong or not.

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