My mother forced me out of her house when I was thirteen.
I went to live with my father and step-mother.
They threw me out when I was barely out of my teens.
Did I steal? No. Did I take drugs? Had I ever laid a finger on any of them? No.
So why? I honestly don’t know. My father would only say I was ‘difficult’ and put a ‘strain’ on my step-mother (in fact, my father threw me out at her behest).
It is certainly true I was (as my father always taunted me) ‘morose’ and prone to outbursts of vebal rage. I also once, according to my step-mother, when I was fourteen, knocked a cup of coffee out of her hand (she had recently shouted at me in what she believed to be ‘tongues’ – she was a religious nutcase) although I have no memory of this.
Also, I once threw a set of keys at my bedroom wall, knocking out a little plaster from the wall. Essentially, my step-mother, I think, believed these were signs of some kind of particularly sinister demonic possession.
The final straw came when I told my parents I was gay (actually, I don’t like that word, it sounds so, well, for want of a better word, gay). This, according to my step-mother’s belief system, was unequivocal proof that I was evil beyond redemption, fit only to be eternally tortured in hell.
But the incident that immediately proceeded and finally provoked my banishment from the (soon to be inaccurately described as) ‘family’ home was almost absurd in its triviality:
My father and step-mother had been away on holiday. I took advantage of this by inviting some friends (who had always shown me the greatest hospitality) over for the evening. We drank and played cards. Inadvertantly, one of us (I don’t remember who, and it’s of no relevance) left a cigarette burning in a makeshift cardboard ashtray (the empty tray of a large matchbox).
The results were inevitable : a large, deep burn mark on the table.
On top of this, as the house had only two single bedrooms and one double bedroom (my father’s and step-mother’s) it seemed obvious that I would sleep in my own room, one friend in the other single room, and the two others (brothers) in the double. I did not give this a second thought.
However, on the return of my father and step-mother, the latter was overcome by an utterly irrational fit of moral outrage.
Now, you’d think, (wouldn’t you?), that she’d have been most angered by the burn mark in the table (which I and another friend had, absurdly, tried to paint over, with predictable results).
Apparently, by my having allowed the two brothers to sleep in the marital bed (as she put it), it had been besmirched, nay, sullied! It was a crime against God! Against nature!
The next day I was out. My self-esteem was so low, and this seems incredible to me now, that I meekly accepted my forced eviction, feeling I must have somehow deserved it.
My step-mother’s reaction seems so extreme that I now wonder if, projecting her own sexual anxieties, she didn’t suspect that some sort of homosexual/incestuous/generally weird orgy had taken place in the bed.
The final irony is that my step-mother was once divorced, had an illegitimate son (from when it was frowned upon) from some transient and ephemeral lover, and was remarried to my father (which the Bible, if my ecclesiastical knowledge has not deserted me, regards as bigamy). Presumably, she only believed in the bits of the Bible she approved of and which she believed, or, rather, conveniently chose to believe, ‘justified’ her venomous prejudices and nauseating moral hypocrisy. How many gay people have killed themselves in response to such religious twaddle? And, fueled by such attitudes, how many have been imprisoned (and sometimes raped by the very people holding them prisoner)? How many tortured? How many executed? And why, will somebody please explain to me, is the Church so utterly obsessed with sex?
Oh, and by the way, she founded and ran a charity for the homeless which garnered her (much to my not inconsiderable chagrin) much social adulation.
PS. I have briefly recounted the story of being thrown out of my mother’s house elsewhere, so do not repeat myself here.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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