Step on a crack

A trio of little girls, 9-12, sing a familiar song as they walk home from school. One has a really long city bus ride ahead of her, as the three of sing an old refrain. “Step on a crack, and you’ll break your mother’s back.”

Two of the little girls are trying to avoid the cracks, taking a step with each syllable.

A third, however, is trying to hit every single crack. “Step on a crack, and you’ll break your mother’s back.”

“Why are you stepping on the cracks?” One of the girls asked the third.

“I want to break her back,” said the third. The girls shrugged and went back to their little sing song chant until the three of them were bored of it. The two had walked the third to her city bus stop and waited with her until she got on to head home.

I was the third child.

I remember this as clear as day. I remember how far I had to jump to land on some of the cracks. I would do this for days and weeks.

I knew back then that my mother was abusive.

I knew back then that I was better off away from her.

I knew back then.

So did others.

So why didn’t someone do something?

“Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.”

She called last week. I was already on the Whip by then. My phone was on silent and I didn’t see the call come in. It was the second time she called during a set. The first time was about a month ago. “I have pancreatic cancer,” she said then.

“Oh, okay.” I said and hung up. Somehow, I was able to pull it back together and do my set even while nursing a sprained ankle right after getting xrays at the hospital. The stress she had added then almost made me cancel right before my first voiceover.

So she called last week. Black Ort and I just started up the “Ort Cloud” together. Black Ort wants to make sure no events butt up against his time for his roundtable, and I am the only DJ willing to run for an hour and pass him the stream. Except that’s not what we are doing. It’s more technical and why am I writing a blog post when I’m about to hit the air?

I paused here, writing this blog, before continuing. The preshow for Black Ort went perfectly.

Pancreatic cancer. A year ago, she called me and told me all sorts of stuff, including the “timebomb in my brain.” This time, I get more information from her in a text about 20 minutes after the phone call came in last week. The word salad she spooled to me was abusive at best. It spoke of how much pain she is in, how scared she is, and how she has to let her anger out somehow, and that I’m her favorite target, even though she actually said none of that. What she actually said was much worse, and I was the centre of the emotional nuclear bomb she let off.

The last time I saw her, she was screaming at me about how she would destroy me while sitting across a table from her. The other people in the room were shocked in the words she used and how violent she got towards me with her words and anger level.

Then, there was when my grandmother died. Over a decade from the last time I heard or spoke to her and she told my ex I was NOT family and was not allowed to have anything to do with her funeral. I was 35 weeks pregnant and the stress of the contact put me into a premature labour. The hospital was able to stop it, and my child cooked for another month or so.

When it was revealed that a cousin had told me that my grandmother had died, my mother had to be held back by her brother and another man, an uncle by marriage I was told. My cousin had every right to tell me my grandmother was dying. It’s not like I could have traveled to the funeral. My doctor did not want me to have a baby so far from home and the stress she put me under almost made sure I was going to have the baby that day.

Then, a decade ago, we found out that my mother had had a stroke through the son of a friend of hers. The next scream was that I was not allowed to visit, yet she wanted me to know? Family law at the time meant I was responsible for her costs and living expenses. Thankfully, someone else did a court trial thang and the section of Family Law that pertained to taking care of one’s elderly parents was stricken from the legislation.

She was silent again. Some of the next few years blurred together.

I got a message. “She’s not long for this world.”

I did something stupid and sent a text to the number I was given. I don’t even remember what I said, but that she wasn’t a part of my life was part of it. She never texted me back.

Then her apartment block burnt down.

Then another message about how she’s not long for the world again from the son of her best friend. I rolled my eyes. I got yelled at for how dare I have an opinion that wasn’t “dutiful daughter” about my duties towards my mother. That ended that friendship of over 30 years. I used to be his babysitter.

A year ago… almost to the day… she called and for about 45 minutes we – the children and I – talked. Sorta. More like she was pushing for information and I finally had enough and hung up on her. We had a texting only relationship for a month, and I finally had to say “go away.” Except I wasn’t as polite.

“Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.”

So, the word salad filled with hate that came last week affected me badly. Both of the dominants trying to keep me together know about it and have read her words. Both of them have tried to keep me from falling apart.

It affected me badly while broadcasting.

I couldn’t work the next day in real life.

I could barely work the next two days, but I had to. The two shifts after that, I’m still shaking and not able to work properly, but by then I had finally had the courage to reply to her. “Okay, boomer.”

There is one person I wish knew and understood and was there for me, but I had to be cruel to cut the ties to them and I regret it now. The reason why the ties had to be cut were made clear to me, and I used harsh words, and yes, I hurt them, but I needed to do it to help them heal too.

They know who they are, but do they know how much I need their advice and their cuddles? No. And I’m scared to reach out.

Pancreatic cancer. Kidney failure. Dialysis. Psoriasis. Militant smoker. Strokes.

How much longer is she going to harass me? How much longer is she going to reach out with claws aiming to hurt me? When she was coded a year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have known and wouldn’t be experiencing this hurt. I would have found her obituary through a search and would have cried and probably been happy too. Or one of her friends would have contacted me that she was finally gone and she would not have done all this damage and caused all this pain.

She’s hurt me. She has hurt my children. She hurt my ex. My mother never deserved any of us.

“Step on a crack and you’ll break your mother’s back.”

I am hoping this is actually an early obit for my mother, but I know life is not so kind to me.

I am not coping. I am taking it one moment at a time and I’m trying to stay in the present and not be the terrified child who was beaten by her mentally ill mother. I’m trying to stay here, in the present. She can’t hurt me anymore. But the girl I was was so badly damaged by her… I could write a book on the things she did to me.

One breathe. One moment. One hour. One day. One week.

I will get through this. She can’t hurt me anymore.

2 thoughts on “Step on a crack

  1. No she cant hurt you anymore. however. try to remember the good parts. See I did the move as far away as possible cure. I stopped talking to mine. You know what when she died. I was at her side. holding her hand. WHY? Because she was my mother and deep down, I needed to let her go. I needed to forgive her. I needed to say “I love you mom” even if it stuck in my throat. I think it was more for me , than her. Usually I will just.. not think of her. but then something will bring up a memory. not abusive, of when it used to be good. or something funny. and now I can laugh. I know, right now, you dont want to say ” Mom I forgive you” but eventually. some thing, might need to happen. It would be very sad. if she passed and you never got to say something, anything, to her. You know , I wish you peace. ❤


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