Every Day Above Ground (mallorys_camera) wrote,
Every Day Above Ground

Encounters of the Parental Kind

Ichabod and I were chatting about his prep for an upcoming trial that probably won’t take place because why would Ruralcino County want to spend all that money on a trial for a misdemeanor charge?

The accused steadfastly maintains his innocence, but of course, the DA knows he is guilty, and is gnashing her pearly little teeth that she can’t lock him up for a thousand years, so she is arranging endless numbers of pre-trial hearings to fuck with him.

Can the defendant be represented at this contingency hearing by his counsel, your honor? He will have to take time off from work

No, the defendant cannot be represented at this contingency hearing by his counsel.

Is it worth noting that Ruralcino County has a Black population of 0.2% and that this defendant is Black?



Just as a sidebar:

Ichabod is passionate about reforming the criminal justice system, and I’d advised him long ago, this being the case, it would make far more sense for him to pursue employment within a district attorney’s office. DAs are the ones with discretion. My motto has always been: Subvert from within!

But I think for Ichabod, working for the DA’s office would be like sleeping with the enemy.


Anyway, half an hour or so into this (to me) fascinating conversation, we get a text from RTT on the shared Mother-Courage-and-Her-Two-Sons texting hotline: RTT wanted to do Facetime!

I was overjoyed because getting RTT to communicate is always like pulling teeth.

So, Ichabod and I jumped onto Facetime.

Ichabod was preoccupied and soon went back to trial prep, leaving RTT and I for the solo chat.

RTT was deeply depressed.

“I miss Dad,” he said and began to cry.

I didn’t know what to say.

Because not only do I not miss Dad, I can barely remember what Dad looks like. I don’t think I entertain any active ill will toward Dad—although I could be lying to myself about that one. I just don’t understand why I spent 17 years in thrall to the man. He was very, very good in bed—I supposed that was part of it. And, of course, an excellent editor and writer, and very serious about my stuff—I suppose that was the other part.

“Dad loved you very much,” I said to RTT.

What the hell else was I supposed to say?

Of course, I knew that something else was going on with RTT that was deeper than missing Dad, but I didn’t know how to approach it. Was he feeling invisible? Was he feeling unloved? Was he realizing that time is rushing on but that he isn’t hitching a ride? RTT is 26 now, and this is the age where people do need to start thinking about getting it together.

Was this the crash after some alcohol-and-weed-fueled party? I knew from stalking him on Instagram that there had been some wild goings on at the casa the night before.

New Thing to Worry About: Could RTT possibly be bipolar?

“Dad loved you more than anything,” I continue. “And you know the thing he worried about most in the world was your tendency toward… depression. How’s therapy going?”

“Oh, I stopped doing therapy.”

You. Stopped. Doing. Therapy.

If there’s one person on the planet who really benefitted from therapy, I mean palpable improvements that I could see, that person was RTT.

“Why did you do that?”

“I missed a few appointments in a row. So, she terminated me.”

“Why did you miss a few appointments in a row?”

“Oh, I got busy.”

Busy doing what? I wondered. Is this whole stock market/cryptocurrency tracking thing he’s been into for the past four months evidence of some kind of manic phase? It does have the hallmarks of a manic fixation.

“Did you burn that bridge?” I asked.

“No. She was very nice about it. Said I could start again when I had more time.”


He was as low as I’ve ever seen him.

I stayed on Facetime with him for half an hour, taking him on a tour of the Patrizia-torium. The awful Sculpy cat figurine, destined to live in the retablo, which I’m gonna scrap and start again from scratch since the cat looks like a reptilian space alien. The real live cat, her own self. The daffodils on my desk. My Jackie Onassis doll. My I-Love-Lucy doll. The teddy bears that somehow got saved from my childhood back in the Jurassic. The Tropico city I'd been building when he called.

But I had an Easter party I was already late to.

And I remembered a conversation I had with Ichabod a long time ago when Ichabod was really, really depressed.

“And you know what the worst thing about this is?” Ichabod said savagely. “That I’m talking to my mother about how depressed I am.”

RTT’s a grownup now.

I can offer him the understanding and support I might offer any other grownup I loved who was feeling down.

But any other comfort I might offer veers dangerously into infantilization territory.

I don’t think it’s mentally health to wander off in that direction.


It’s absolutely the worst thing in the world when your kids are in pain, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

I'd been in a really upbeat mood that morning, but the interaction with RTT leached all joy from the day.

I felt hollow. And grey.

A contact depression, I suppose.

Bit better this morning, which is good since I have a shitload of stuff that Needs to Get Done.


The other interesting thing that happened yesterday: The Former Mother of My Unborn Grandchildren posted that she’d had a miscarriage and was looking for miscarriage stories.

The first thing I ever published professionally back in 1993 was actually a Studs Turkel-style piece in which I interviewed a bunch of women about the narratives behind their experiences with being pregnant and giving birth.

One of the women I’d interviewed had had an incredibly poignant miscarriage experience.

I texted Liza: Would she like to read… ?

Yes, yes, yes!!! she texted back.

So, I hunted down the magazine in which the story had appeared.

The type is very faded, which makes merely scanning the story and then uploading it into Google Docs kinda problematic.

Fortunately, Google Docs has an OCR feature.

Anyway, I have been scanning. And, of course, rereading.

The piece is actually purt-ty good.

I’d written it originally planning to pitch it as a book proposal.

But life intervened. 1993 was actually the year I found out I was pregnant with RTT.

Would it still make a good book proposal?

Maybe. Crossposted from Dreamwidth.
Tags: #anyway, #he, #it, #just, #the, ben, birth, covid-19, max, robin, writing

  • The To-Do List

    It rained. I worked. It rained some more, I worked some more—and then decided I wanted to play video games, which, of course, are a Complete Waste…

  • Standing On Your Head

    All day yesterday, my nose wouldn’t stop running—which made me flash on the joke I thought was the height of sophisticated humor when I was nine…

  • "The Group" Plus "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"

    Continuing my tour of 60s movies, last night I managed to track down The Group, the film version of a controversial, bestselling novel by Mary…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.