“Easter” by Louis E. Bourgeois


She, my cousin, sat next to me as children looked for plastic and real eggs in hidden places in the backyard of our rich uncle’s house. She stared hard at the empty sleeve and deep lacerations on my forehead and along my neck, the result of an automobile accident; 23 broken bones, a crushed skull, partial mutilation of the left ear, innumerable cuts and perforations from windshield glass and shards of fiberglass and mirror and metal, etc., an arm missing from the shoulder down, a crushed testicle— she had a good look at me for the first time since the wreck—it was a sunny day and all the bodily damage was now revealed for the outlandish display that it was—it was a bright day, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, after two days of absolute Death…I lived in her father’s shed, my uncle’s shed, self-imposed exile where I had taken up systematic reading of religious and anti-religious books, the Bible and Sartre for example—the family, my maternal aunt and her husband, wanted me to live inside their warehouse of a house—with all the other strays she picked up over the years (my aunt herself was a cripple—a severe nerve condition that tangled up her legs, in which she could only get around with a 3 pronged cane or a 4 legged walker) but I refused their generosity—the place for me was outside the house, outside house civilization, house culture; I had to come to terms with my new ugliness—my new crippledness, my deep fleshy scars and amputations of dozens of bones; books allowed me to forget about my body, especially religious texts and philosophy—my cousin didn’t read, didn’t like books, thought anyone who read as much as I did must be a Satanist, no matter what they were reading, and I was already suspected of Satanism long before the accident because the music I listened to was hard and fast with band names like Storm Troopers of Death, Methods of Destruction, Cromags, Volvex, Venom, Megadeth, Obituary, Death Angel, but that was all just for fun, now I really was straight from Hell, or, at least looked like it, which amounts to the same thing—my cousin was illiterate, therefore she could see that my eyes revealed something far beyond her world of backyard parties, television, and hanging out at the mall on weekend nights—I had taken to drinking lots of rum in those days, especially on religious holidays like this one, this was my first Easter as an amputee, I was already drunk and was still drinking beyond even the outer extremes of drunkenness, just to see what would happen, still pushing myself further and further to the brink of sanity, and somehow the worst always happed to me, not usually, but always, the Worst; the rum drunk was now almost as Transcendental as the morphine drip injected straight into my heart for 6 full weeks in the hospital, there’s nothing like it in this whole goddamned emptied out world—and she wouldn’t stop staring me up and down—I thought she was making sexual advances at first—one of the little girls in the Easter egg hunt cut her hand badly on a sliver of broken mirror in the tool shed, and the 3 year old began screaming as badly as I did once I woke up in the hospital after being in a coma for weeks—I was quite drunk, yet lucid, that’s always been my problem, I can never lose myself entirely and I reached out to touch my cousin’s long thick blue-black working class teenager hair and then she screamed louder than the little girl who flayed open her palm—my cousin then pushed me so hard that I feel off the bench entirely and hit the lawn hard, she ran—I sprang up from the suburban grass and ran after her—then it was as if the whole family, this tribe of people who had raised me all my life and who had made me who I was, now they wanted nothing more than to erase me from their lives, because I, Lucas Jeanfreaux, the first born and the most handsome to have ever been born to them, now was hideously deformed, something re-sent to them from their worse nightmare, a nightmare made tangible in the form of my body, eat from it, and drink from my blood as if it were wine, wine from Galilee—aunt, uncle, mother, brother even, were coming at me from all angles to stop me from pursuing my peasant cousin and pouncing on her, this cousin who had the nerve to stare down my infirmities and further to push me, the first born, off the bench and I ran well past my cousin and through the backyard gate and I kept running for blocks, that quickly turned into miles until I reached the outskirts of town— hours later somehow, I awoke on side the road—my step-father and only mother looking down on me—telling me it was time to go, to find a new home, and never to come back.


Louis E. Bourgeois