Once again, Joey could hear his mother's plea, a whisper with
a wandering whiskey cadence, calling him to the place where his
father would have slept. Moth-like, he found his feet treading
the well worn path from his room to his mother's side. Buried
with her blankets and soft wet kisses, Joey disappeared into
the lace covered warmth beside him.
Hopelessly drawn and repulsed, Joey could feel his body go
numb, as he clutched at their special closeness. Terrified and
confused, something inside him felt terribly wrong.....but, she
was his mother.
Joey, an eight year old Child of an Alcoholic (CoA), became
his mother's special little man as her drinking bouts sent his
father further and further away. Joey was her comforter and confidante,
haunted by the eyes that constantly begged for unending declarations
Seeing her emotionally hollow and hungry could seer his soul;
Joey couldn't give her enough. He continuously tried until he
stopped trying, until the sound of her approaching footsteps
would freeze him like a deer in headlights. And then, cornered,
he would stiffen as she would clutch him to her chest, loving
Mother's incestuous love was like a wild animal that devoured
its young. She was everywhere; even when Joey was a young teenager
she would make visits to his room when he was dressing "to
help him pick out his clothes." Her bedroom door was usually
ajar; he often needed to avert his eyes as he passed, overcome
with a mixture of curiosity and shame.
And late in the evening, between drunkenness and stupor, she
would curl up next to Joey on the couch. There they would remain,
her head resting snugly on his shoulder; silhouettes by the shifting
lights of the TV screen. His mind safely tucked away, he would
wait for release, hoping her head would fall into unshakable
As Joey grew, he struggled to be free of his mother's grasp.
He tried to date, but mysteriously, attraction to young women
would unnerve him, and their presence would literally make him
tremble. The harder Joey pressed, the more humiliated he felt
in his failure to carry off a simple date. He couldn't understand
what was wrong; he never suspected it might be his mother's voice,
murmuring in the shadows.
But at last, Joey found the haunted green eyes that could
give him refuge. Her gentleness and sensitivity somehow surrounded
his loneliness. In exchange, he embraced her pain which together
they would heal; never before had he felt such ecstacy. But slowly
he sank through her emptiness, as his sense of separateness began
to leave him. Horrified, he escaped, while still having a self
Many women passed through Joey's life. The faces changed,
but their eyes would stay the same. Then he met someone totally
different: serene, self-possessed: a grown woman without the
need of a knight. Joey was confused; he loved her, but still
pined for the passion in losing himself in another. He was sure
he disappointed her. Still, she just smiled, and glowingly escorted
both he and his astonishment to the alter.
Even so, despite his wife's steadfastness, Joey sensed that
something was missing. But when his daughter was born, she quickly
became the center of his life. No one had ever looked at him
with such adoring eyes; she lifted him from his emptiness.
Sometimes she would snuggle in his lap, her head against his
chest, and sigh contentedly with the rhythm of his breath. Seldom
had Joey known such peace; he wished he could hold her forever.
Then one day, while they were cuddling in their overstuffed
chair, Joey felt a disturbing presence within. Closing his eyes,
he looked, and to his horror, his mother looked back.
Suddenly, Joey knew he needed to bid his ghost goodbye, and
give his love back to his wife. Then, he called to her, and with
grateful tears, hugged her back into his life.