Family dysfunction is sometimes a justified psychosis.
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Wil Warner is a tormented son tossed about by the waves of both parents. His father is a beautiful but simple father and husband, and his mother is a narcissistic woman obsessed with the art of acquisition and the relentless climb to the top of society. After his father’s death, an adult Wil is left to face the ultimate horror of his mother’s mental illness.
My dead father sits at night with no lights on. The outdoor floodlights sparkle in his eyes. The house is still, save for the grandfather clock ticking in the vestibule. I enter the parlor quietly, careful not to wake my mother upstairs. I tiptoe in front of him and settle cross-legged at his feet.
I cannot touch him yet. Crazed, despairing pirouettes fill my soul just looking at him, let alone touching him. Would I run screaming through the hallways of Lockwood, falling and crawling about in lunatic distress? Or, perhaps, pass out once again when upon reaching out and taking his hand, if I do not feel the warmth I long for? Is his soul still there, inside, patiently waiting for the morning of eternity? Or is it disturbed it has been denied the peace in death all souls deserve?
“I’m so sorry, Daddy,” I say, breaking the silence. He is imperious as he listens. “But she is ill. And worst of all, doesn’t even realize it. In her mind, she is justified in what she did to you. We should have seen the signs years ago.” I bring a hand to my face in fresh horror of what sits before me. “Tell me how to make it right,” I plead. “Let me know what to do and I’ll do it for you. I don’t want anybody to see what she’s done.”
I begin to cry. From far memory, I hear my father’s gentle voice. Now, now. None of that. I try to remember the place and time. I cry harder.
Now, now. None of that.
Through the corridor of time, I am transported back to a boat rowing to the shore where my mother waited. His great, thick arms pulled us closer to her. All of the dread and resentment of childhood was full upon me as I watched her emerge, clearer and clearer. I urged ignorance of her presence, just that once. I longed for the opposite way, another shore.
With the recollection, an idea stirs within me. A small thought at first that explodes into soaring fireworks of certainty. I am uplifted as a plan arouses me from the slumber of depression into a manic awakening. The masterful plot excites me. I feel ennobled with the knowledge we will not be forsaken to satisfy her will this time.
My resolve is undeniable. I smile in the darkness.