In Standard Nine. 1988, I am expelled for Satanism. For 2 days, until my father makes a deal, makes them take me back for a caning, six of the best, then spends the evening with my grandmother’s sewing kit making me a pair of underpants padded.
I wrote an ironic essay on the basic hypocrisy of Christianity. Including local examples, the younger Religious education teacher, married, who we had spotted kissing a maths teacher by the wood work room, we thought, my cousin Terry, Christian guitarist with too much happiness for my liking at that point, some preacher caught “Fucking a Whore” as I, bad mistake, profanity, destroying my argument, put it. Early signs of my predilection for always striking to close to home. The essay was theoretical, realized then that I couldn’t hand it in, left it on my desk, someone else did for me. Early signs of self sabotage.
Let me say this now, as I have said before and said again. I know my father, my mother loved me, I know my father did, was human, struggled to express these things, none of what followed is his fault, really, really not. But then I felt the gap. Thought I had created it, acted like I didn’t care, for reasons still unknown to me.
When compiling the memories I felt I should explore it came to my recall the story of Jimmy Scabanti. Now when it comes to the moment that I must write this memory down, I find it dim around the edges. Something to do with Kevin and a fight at school, getting home late or detention, clearly it was Kevin’s fault but I could not blame him, at them moment of truth before my parents I blurted out “It was Jimmy Scabanti”, who I then proceeded to describe as an Italian boy from “the wrong side of the tracks”, Scabanti was mean, but through no fault of his own, his father had abandoned his abusive and crippled mother and so on, he was the perfect scapegoat. Soon the legend of Jimmy Scabanti grew, Kevin and I used him for any situation we need to. Dirty school clothes? Fight with Jimmy Scabanti. Out of pocket money? Bought food for the Scabanti family. Need to go to the sports club disco? Must help Jimmy with his homework and boy, is he stupid, it might take all night,
But Scabanti grew out of our control, others started to use him too, and parents do talk, soon there were conflicting reports of the nature of the Scabanti family doing the rounds and one morning after Kevin and I had been out separately and presented different Scrabanti-isms, his parents, mine and another set were talking at the local takeaway, compared notes and came home determined to finally have a talking to Jimmy Scabanti’s mother. We could not produce her. The artifice collapsed. For years afterward anytime anything couldn’t be explained, Kevin would blame it on Scabanti.
Just after Christmas, my parents are away. Amanda and I are alone in the house. I think, there may have been a party, there may have been other people, but we are in my bedroom, fumbling. It was not how it should have been, this was before the break up of course. I am poking around in her panties, feeling proud that I have finally got this far and ashamed at myself for not loving her. I feel dirty for lying and giddy with power, the contradiction in feelings puts me in an unknown, indefinable place. It’s not so much that I enjoy being caught between the two, but that I know I can never fully understand it. The feeling does not last for long, the power and lust take over momentarily and then I am flooded with shame.