Sunday, August 20, 2006

I Have Always Hated Sundays

Even since I was a little boy I have always hated Sundays. This probably has to do with the fact that both my parents were at home on that day, and inevitably before the sun went down they would be at each other’s throats both literally and figuratively. I was a captive audience until I left home at 19. Where does a 10 year old kid go to escape violent and mean scenes between his parents. In the closet, out to the street, under a bed? My bother and sister were both older than me, my brother by 13 years and my sister by 6 years, so it was easy for them to get away. Occasionally though they too would be drawn into my parents whirlpool, as the violence would sometimes come unexpectly and they wouldn’t have time to get their shoes on and jump ship leaving me to fend for myself. My father owned a luncheonette under the elevated subway (el) in Borough Park Brooklyn and both he and my mother worked long hard hours there. He had the day shift and my mother would go in the evenings to relieve him. She would leave his dinner in the frig.or on the table and I would be left alone until he came home. I dreaded his coming. He wouldn’t say a word to me. If I were watching a program on the TV he would switch the channel in mid program to something he wanted to see, he just wasn’t capable of giving, and as a I grew up I would often wonder what the hell went wrong with his childhood to turn him into this monster. To this day I don’t know the reasons. I do know that his mother, my bubby was a scary thing who frighten me from the day I met her. She owned a brownstone in Williamsburg Brooklyn way before it became the “in” place for young yuppies to live. Gnarled and tiny she spoke only Yiddish and was always complaining about her health. I would hide behind my mother when we would visit, and I could only imagine what it was like for my father and his 3 brothers and sister to be raised by her, their father having died young. I would get up from the couch and go into my room where I would read or drawn or make things hating him all the time. He would flick his cigarette ashes anywhere he liked usually on the carpet or into his finished plate of food and he would throw the butts also anywhere he liked. On the carpet, in his glass of Coke and even sometimes in the ashtray. Around 7 or 8 he would go into the bedroom next to the living room and go to sleep. I would clean up his mess and then the TV was mine again and I was free to watch the situation comedies or the scary shows or the plays on playhouse 90 or studio one. Sometimes my brother and sister would be home with me, but I was usually left alone to my own devices. I would be asleep by the time my mom and my uncle Natie would come home from the store (as we called it) which was only 2 blocks from our apartment on 12th ave and sometimes usually in the summertime when there was no school I would stay in the luncheonette and hold court in one of the booths where I would drawn and color in coloring books or read my favorite comics and movie magazines that lined the shelves in the front of the store. One of my favorite things to do was to unpack the new comics and magazines that came tied up with thin wire cord every Tuesday and Thursday. I would carefully cut the thin wire with cutters and place the new comics and magazines on the shelves removing the ones that didn’t sell and helping myself of course to some of my favorites for my collection. I generally would have dinner in the luncheonette and the food was good as my mother would cook and prepare some of the menu at home or in the tiny kitchen that was located in the back of the store. Sometimes I would fall asleep in one of the booths my face pressed against the warm plastic seat cushion waiting for my mother and uncle to close up the store. Then the three of us would walk back home through the quiet streets of Borough Park, my sad mother, my sweet simple uncle and me. But on Sundays when they were both home, arguments and violent fights would always occur. I would grow up dreading the 7th day. They would usually not talk to each other and were barely civil to each other. On Sundays my uncle would usually take me to the movies or in the summer to Coney Island, but I would at some time have to return home. I grew up knowing to keep out of his way, to avoid him and his psychotic temper. The first sign of his anger would be the biting of his lip then the name calling would start, then objects, and food that was once on the table would go flying through the air. The fights would be about money and the lack of it, his gambling, their addiction to my mother’s diet pills, who was at fault for recently smashing up the car, or setting the bed on fire or imaginary and real affairs, whatever it really didn’t matter. Lets eavesdrop now on Oscar and Roz and see what they’re up to. She: “You mockie kike pimp”. He: “Get out of my sight and take your sissy Mary son with you” She: (screaming) “you broke my eye in”. When I heard this I thought he had broken her eye, when in fact he had broken her iron, which was probably a crime just as bad to my mother as his “breaking her eye in”. He did on occasion give her a few shiners, which she would hide from view with sunglasses that matched her raven black hair. She was a good-looking woman and he was a good looking man, and for 50 years they hated and loved each other until that February morning my mother woke up to discover his cold dead body lying next to her.


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