bitter bed time...

I remember being put to bed (to a child, this is the same as being put to death).  You lay there at 7:30pm looking out your window wondering why your parents are doing this to you, wondering why God gave you parents that are so heartless, unfeeling and cooler-cold.  You can see the sun and it's still at least 7 inches from setting on the horizon.  The shadows are indicating that the night is young, so young that the day is far from ready to acquiesce and give up the ghost.  But still, you are laying there staring out the window chained to your bed with commands to "honor your parents in the Lord, for this is right".  Sometimes I wish the verse said, "Honor your parents in the Lord unless you're right" because I didn't think this early bedtime b'ness was anything but child abuse.  I remember thinking, "It just ain't right!"  But my mom told me that ain't ain't a word.

On that window next to my bed there was an oval sticker with a fireman on it.  I didn't know then, but it was a little "flag" to the fire dept. to get their ladders to this window first in case of a fire.  It was a sign, a purple cord of sorts, in the window to let the O.F.D (Oswego Fire Dept.) know where the children were in the second story of our dilapidated yellow house.  

There was also a crack in the corner of the window that I would run my fingers across while I laid their waiting for my eyes to close.  You could feel the uneven window pane where the crack was and I loved wondering whether it would shave off the skin on my fingers like a razor.  I would never press down hard, but I would play with danger, flirt with disaster...I lived this way the better part of my life.

The house next to ours was only about 4 feet away.  They were packed on this city block like sardines with little alley ways in between them leading to iddy bitty backyards with a plot of grass and fence to parcel off people's properties.  Let's be honest, it was a place to stick your kids when they drove you nuts fenced in like dogs with nowhere to go.  I remember the moans on the other side of the fence of young children-prisoners bellowing like hound dogs to their parents dying be released to the free world.  To no avail.

I remember looking out the window at the neighbors siding watching the paint peal over the course of time.  It was a fascinating case study in many ways, watching the weather patterns of our city and the direct impact of those weather patterns on my neighbors siding.  In the years I stared out that window, the neighbors house took quite a beating from the inclement conditions of Mother Nature.  The fact that I know this indicates how many boring nights I spent staring out the window.  It was torture.  

I have to imagine that many a child has a similar story minus the unique siding sidebar.  There is no wound so deeply lodged in my spirit than the endless nights of waiting for the sun to set nursing bitter feelings toward my mean parents.


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