Cannot escape the evil
The devil always following close
Thrown in to a life of upheaval
Living life within the shadows
Friday The 13th. M.S. 1991
Yes I really did love my parents, each of them in different ways but they were my parents and in my formative years I knew no different. For the first seven years I didn’t know that other fathers weren’t hitting their children, I didn’t know other mothers happily showed attention and compassion to their children. All I knew was my parents and my home.
To tell you what it was that happened in my seventh year, the year I began to work out that there was something different about my parents I have to go back a little. I have to go back to Friday February the 13th 1970, the day I came into this world.
It’s a good thing that I didn’t suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia which for those of you who aren’t well studied on phobias is a fear Friday the 13th. Triskaideka being Greek for three (tris), kai (and), deka (ten) and the word Frigga taken from the Norse goddess Frigg whom Friday is named after. I was obviously too young at the time of my birth for such irrational fears but whether being born on such a date helped shape the rest of my life I guess is something that can only be looked upon in hindsight. However there is more.
To be exact and tell the full story I really have to go back to 11:51pm on that particular day. At 11:51pm, under the supervision Dr. Thanatos, a baby who several days later through the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages was officially named Herod Stanley Wentworth was born. To the surprise of both my parents and the doctor seven minutes later, at two minutes to midnight, after six and a half minutes of intensive and painful labour, I was born.
Of course one can always find a connection if the look hard enough but I found out in later years that I didn’t need to look that hard. That’s right, in horse racing terms I drew the quadrella, four winners in a row. Born on to a god fearing religious zealot who missed his calling to be a preacher. Born on Friday the 13th. Born at two minutes to midnight and delivered by a doctor whose name was the same as a Greek god who carried people off to the underworld when they were dead.
Although I didn’t know it at the time my father refused to acknowledge me as his son for the first ten days. Not that he was the sort of father to change nappies or cuddle his children but with me he refused to do anything. If Herod woke up screaming he would wake my mother, if she wasn’t already awake, to attend to him, if it was me that was screaming he would ignore the noise almost as if he wasn’t hearing it.
The first time my father actually acknowledged me was on that tenth day when he read the notification from the Department of Birth Deaths And Marriages which announced the registration of twin boys. In my mother’s defence she tried her hardest to hide the birth certificates for as long as she could, but her efforts on lasted two days before he found them stashed in the back of the food pantry, somewhere she was convinced he’d never be looking given that he expected his food prepared and served to him.
So what was she trying to hide? She was trying to hide the screw up which she knew could not be fixed even if government bureaucracy allowed it to be because the damage ran too deep. Whether the mistake was hers when she filled out the forms or the mistake was made at the department where the form was lodged remains to be seen but it didn’t matter the mistake was made and in my father’s eyes blame didn’t need a name. The mistake was a simple one, instead of the first born baby carrying on the family name it had been given to the second born baby.
So there you have a little view into my father’s mind, not only was he arrogant enough to enforce his own name on one child, he was also the sort of person happy to enforce the name of a madman who murdered his own family…and a great many rabbis, on his other child. What he didn’t suspect was that their names would get swapped and that the child he refused to acknowledge was the one who was forever carry his family name.
As I mentioned my father had a lack of acknowledgement of me before he saw the certificates but after he saw them that changed. You could be excused for thinking that he suddenly changed and turned to me as the person to carry on his name and nurture me into his footsteps but it didn’t happen. Instead I became the magnet to his anger, to his rage and to his hate. In the span of ten days, at a time where I was totally reliant on the two people who bought me into the world I had gone being almost non existent in the eyes of my father to being hated.
Whether it would have happened later in our lives or not is something no one can answer but having all the hate and anger aimed at me from our tenth day also seemed to change my father’s attitude towards Herod. He found love for Herod, he found the ability to nurture Herod and he found the desire to raise Herod as in the shadow of himself. It was something my mother seemed to regret but could never change.
I did mention that I knew none of all this until my seventh year, I should explain that. In 1977 I found a diary my mother had been keeping, a diary my father obviously didn’t know about. It contained snippets of her thoughts from the moment she found out she was pregnant up to our fourth birthday. Now obviously I could not read it’s entire contents at the age of seven but I could read bits and pieces, but even without knowing all the words I knew enough about what I had found to hide it until I was old enough to read it.