The golden strands of hair that fell softly around his tiny, giggling body tickled him in his nostrils and ears and even got in his mouth once in a while, when he would have been belly-laughing so hard that he had been rendered unable to close it in time before inhaling a mouthful of his mother’s soft, naturally blonde hair as cooed over the boy and sang beautiful songs into the atmosphere around him. Sometimes the little boy felt as if those strands of hair had the ability to tickle the very heart beating in his chest; he loved his Mommy and everything about her. He loved the way that she seemed to just stare at him for hours without speaking, watching contentedly while he played with Legos and Duplos, or awkwardly thumbed through the bulky, cardboard pages of picture books. He never again knew the kind of pure acceptance that his mother showed him in those early years of life – the years that seemed so irrelevant to him until his trial and sentencing at age 38, for the murders of Jaylen Cross and Michaela Jimenez.
It wasn’t until then that, despite so many years of suppression and the varietal attempts at drowning the reality out of his conscious memories, that Vincent McCombs was forced to become painfully aware of his beloved mother’s demise…at the hands of his father in a fit of violent rage. Vincent was one day away from turning four years of age when the murder occurred in the McCombs residence right after his mother had finished the dishes from dinner that evening. The levy-crushing flood of memories that accompanied the initial triggering of his adult mind’s recollection of childhood was so intense that he nearly let go of his bladder on the stand during trial. Even to the many observers in the courtroom who wanted to see the man sentenced with the Death Penalty, it was obvious that such a revelation took immediate and deeply-rooted emotional and psychiatric tolls; his behavior became immediately submissive and apologetic, almost fearful of some force unseen to everyone but him. His desperation to understand and compute the information being relayed to him suddenly became more apparent than anything else about the burly man’s demeanor.
Golden strands of hair and soft kisses
Love, Love, true all-encompassing LOVE
Screaming, crying, yelling, begging
Rejection, loss, abandonment, confusion
He recalled then, his mother’s burial at the cemetery over the Hill in a beach town that she loved; his father standing solemnly and grimly next to him, handcuffed to a uniformed police officer whose name was “Jonesy”. Jonesy came to be someone in whom Vincent could talk to in the years to come – usually after being put under arrest by the imposing, no-nonsense black man.
I’m My Father?
Vincent left the burial with his mother’s family and never saw his father again after that day, the collective story told to the insecure little boy something along the lines of his having been orphaned by parents in trouble with the mob and forced to run. He had never believed that anyway, but was unable to retrieve the memories he had of what had actually happened prior to being prompted by specific questions in court.
The curious thought repeated through his mind over and over in confused redundancy at that point. Vincent cried inconsolably on the stand until he was removed by the bailiff at the end of the day’s session, by then, having shut completely down and simply mumbling quietly to himself about his father and mother in the third person. His sentencing was uneventful, as he requested the death penalty outright in good standing with the local courts and law enforcement. His request was granted and he was sent to Death Row at Calapatria State Prison to live out the remainder of his sentence.
His heart hurt him badly and relentlessly after the knowledge and undeniable enlightenment of his past; and he was unsure and unclear about everything around him in the world. He was unclear of who he was, who his family had been, who he pretended to be, and who he had set out with a goal of mirroring long ago, before he became a murderer. His heart hurt for his mother, for himself…
One day when he awakened in the frigid metallic cell that he had folded his existence up into temporarily before his death, his heart hurt for a new reason, one that he had never experienced before then: his heart hurt for the two beautiful, young women that he had murdered on separate occasions but with the exact same slice of insanity. His heart hut for their mothers, too.