“I watched Walking Dead this weekend,” I said. “The simplicity… They had a blacksmith, a garden… Everything was just… simple. And this… this is what I need to talk about. Ireland.”
Simple. I thought. Is that all I really was looking for?
As a child I stripped all electronics from my room. I wouldn’t even use my light. I used candles after dark.
But why Ireland? Pennsylvania Dutch is simple. Sami are simple. Why Ireland?
“I love it…” I said. “I more than love it. I hurt. I ache. Some days, I can’t breathe at the thought of her. And I know now… This isn’t normal. But I can’t live like this for the rest of my life. I shouldn’t love so much it hurts to breathe. Something is wrong with me.”
“You want off the grid,” Hosea said.
“I do,” I agreed. “I want self-sufficiency. I want a windmill, solar panels. A farm.”
We waited while our thoughts raced through our days.
“What else did you talk about with your therapist today?” I asked.
“We talked about the children and an award system. We discussed an allowance for the children. But they have to earn it like junior job training.”
“I don’t like it,” I said.
“We have to define money with value… we have to decide what has monetary value to it.”
Panic. Anger. I felt myself slipping. “I can’t…” I said.
“Yes,” Hosea agreed. “She said you would have a problem with this.”
“I was crying and holding myself while I rocked.”
“This is connected to Ireland,” I said. I just knew it.
“You’re still insecure,” he said.
“Yes.” I nodded. “I know I am.”
I stopped rocking. And remembered. I had heard that word before. And all at once everything flooded back.
Father. Gifts. Money. Work. Job. Bills. Debt. Car. Independence. Horses. Ireland.
“If I’m independent… If I don’t need anyone… I can’t be hurt.”
I was crying now.
“Bills. He would pay the bills and then… I watched him… he was hurt. He said kids cost money and I would see how hurt he was.”
And all at once I knew.
I was eight, watching my father worried and hurt. And it was my fault. It all was my fault.
“I hurt my daddy,” I said mid screams. “It was me. I used money to hurt my daddy.”
Self-loathing and hatred for money.
“And then my mother told me he hated me. Of course he hated me! I hurt him! That’s why I ran away! Because I hurt my daddy. And when he asked me… I couldn’t… I looked at him… at his eyes. I couldn’t tell him. It would make him feel it was his fault. So I lied. I blamed my mum. And she lied… then mocked me.”
“Ireland was a living breathing world where I could go and never hurt my daddy again. And I related to it. I… The art. The history. The embroidery. The simplicity. And their passion. It’s where I belonged. Far away from my father… where I would never take again and where I couldn’t hurt him ever again.”
If I didn’t take the money from my father… he could have helped the cats. I killed my cats.
And the whole time… the whole time… my mother kept insisting he hated me. That I was his least favorite. And my brother beat me. And my brother… Then my mother said that I deserved it. Of course I deserved it! I hurt my daddy.”
And I know this is all wrong, but… it took me this long to remember… to put words to those moments.
* * *
“This is why you hated you,” Angel said curled up against the wall of her steel room. Bergen watched from his corner, listening. “Why you wanted to punish you. Mutilate. Punish. Undeserving. All because of money. This is why I scream.”
* * *
“I wanted to scrub my skin off,” I said. “She called it self-punishment. Self-mutilation. I wanted to punish me for hurting my father.”
I rejected electricity. Cost money. Food. Cost money. Life…
Money was the gun I used to kill my father… and everyone insisted I pick up the gun again. It’s why I would starve rather than ask anything from my father again. I would be homeless before I ask my father for help.
And I forgot… Last winter… I ached for Ireland. There were days I couldn’t breathe. I lay, curled up on the floor, needing Ireland. Pining. Ireland… It’s all I talked about… My marriage was fine, but I wasn’t… I ached for Ireland… I… It hurt so much.
It was then, I met my Irish Raven.