A large portion of family pictures I posses are Polaroids.
I have a timeline of them.
Some I wish I had never seen.
I remember visiting the local police station with my sister so we could identify Polaroids they had in evidence of my father.
Why did we do that?
Who even called us in to do that?
Was that her idea or did some detective call us in to revisit that crap? We couldn’t have been minors, but I don’t feel like I was old enough to be there looking at dick pics in a police station. Does that seem right to you? What should we have said?
“Yup. That’s the one. Absolutely.”
And where the fuck was an adult? Victimized again in a police station. I didn’t even make the connection until I started typing.
And mixed in with the pictures of him were pictures of little girls we used to know. Girls that would disappear from our lives before we had a chance to even enjoy having them there. Back when I was stupid enough to think that I wasn’t so interwoven with my family’s dysfunction nobody would care to see if there was a difference.
How many times did it happen? I feel sick thinking about it. It disgusts me.
The police knew.
They just shuffled him around. Like a pinball game. Pedophile pin ball. Once the ball is released you really have no way of knowing exactly what it will hit. Try to control it all you want but it is not something you have power over. Or do you?
Direct hit.He’s got another one! Try again. Pull your arm back and let that ball go with all your might.
Send him to another town, another state.Make him somebodies else’s problem. No harm no foul.
Little girl collateral damage ain’t nothing but a thing.
Why have I never taken the time to study these pictures before?
Not those ones.
Those are still in police evidence files or some shit. Not that I would put them in the family album even if I had the pleasure of ownership.
I’m talking about the ones of all of us together on family visitation days. I have them. I just never looked at them closely. Thumbed past them in my haste to get to other pictures. Pictures that actually look like we were a functional family.
Pictures are funny like that.
They are able to simultaneously provide concrete evidence of reality and at the same time create visions of fictitious fantasy.
It’s all about perception.
All of the prison visit ones have cinder block walls in the background. No palm trees or amusement ride attractions on these family outings.
That fucking train with the animals is in the background of a couple of the pictures. Is it sad that I hope that train is still there? I know it can’t be. Painted over I’m sure. I would hope by now that the children’s playroom is in a different, more appropriately supervised area. I don’t want the train to be gone, though.
Back to the pictures…
We all have these grimaces on our faces. The kids do anyways. My Dad is actually smiling and my mom looks like she might be having fun if she had any idea what fun really was.Now that I’m attempting to confront the dysfunction that was my upbringing I’m tempted to throw them all away. Looking at them makes me want to break shit. Or burn them or rip them and scream and cry and rage. And scream some more.
What do I do? The images in my brain are difficult enough. They won’t stop. It’s like the view master toy that was popular when I was a kid with the little circle of individual square window pictures and it won’t stop clicking around and around and around. Eventually it brings you full circle back to the first picture and the story starts again.
Is that what is happening to me now?
I’m just looping back again and again hoping somehow the pictures will magically be different but knowing they will never change.
Trying to come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to move forward until some of this is resolved while knowing it never can be.