Satan and the Witch

–       Mum is coming by to pick some blackberries.

I say.

–       I think there’s enough room to land a broom.

He replies.

My parents were married for 12 years when they separated in 1978. I was practically a baby when Mum secretly found an apartment in town and moved out while Dad was working.

My first memory is standing on the couch in Dad’s kitchen, little hands on the window ledge watching Mum parking in the driveway. I don’t know how long they had been separated but I had no memory of her in the family home and was shocked to see her there. They fought in the other room and all I understood was Dad yelling something about having signed the papers. I was too little to open the kitchen door and Mum drove away before I could get to her.

It wasn’t until Grade 6 when my brother was first admitted into the hospital for mental illness that I saw them together again. After that was Grade 8 at my sister’s wedding in a small, dry town in Alberta. No scotch to help him through, Dad would leave the room whenever Mum would walk in. Photos were awkward.

Jokes about my mother and her broom made up for most of the conversation Dad would make with me prior to my coming of age. That, singing KKKKatie as I howled happily for him to stop and the sudden, randomly timed question that he used to break the normalized silence.


Pause. Pressure. Blank.

–       Nothing.


I hated Dad for making fun of my mother.

–       He wanted a dog, not a wife.

Says Mum when asked why she gave Dad a Labrador puppy he named Satan.

She was no different. She just didn’t laugh afterwards.

My graduation from university was the first nuclear family lunch and photo ever taken. The second photo was Dad’s 80th birthday party last year.

Though they have gradually started co-participating in family events over the past decade, it is only these past few months that blood has finally started to run clean.

–       She would have been miserable with me. She’s a world traveller and I don’t want to go to Sooke.

He says.

–       He’s a good man, just not a good husband.

She says.

Picking blackberries on the farm with my parents, sitting outside while Mum shows Dad old photos she found while spring cleaning and listening to them reminisce about their good old days, is surreal. The memories I don’t have of my parents together in the past are being made now.

Returning home from a weekend in Vancouver, Dad welcomes me with his funny bone tickled.

–       My ex-wife made me dinner this weekend.

–       I know. So nice of her.

–       When I asked her if I could put my plate down for the dogs, she told me she wouldn’t want to endanger them.

His loud laughter at her insinuating she would poison him.

–       That’s a good one, a real Classic!

He says.




About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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4 Responses to Satan and the Witch

  1. Mary (Bagnall) Stairs says:

    Must be fun to be part of this Ormiston family…too bad we have not met… to receive letters from Tom.HAd a short vivit with Lynn when she was visiting an aunt in Bedford N.S. She went to Gabarous with my sister but ,again, it was a very short trip.Never knew that Glenn had been “trsining” in the area.
    hugs to all Mary

  2. Mary (Bagnall) Stairs says:

    “LIKED” instead of like…i know Tom is nolonger with us!

  3. Jessie says:

    blood run clean is a beautiful thing

  4. Dangus says:

    Well captured! Such great times-love

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