I don’t remember how Eddie came to live with us. I know he came into our lives by way of three hundred dollars cash pressed between the yellowing pages of a women’s devotional that he gave to our mom. I know he was cousins with some of my friends from the Pentecostal church we started going to after mom kicked dad out of the house. I know mom told us not to tell dad Eddie was staying on a mattress in the living room of our apartment. I know he drove the U-HAUL from Louisiana to California while mom drove the car with me and my brother and our dog. I know Eddie stayed in California with us, bringing home money by doing odd jobs like painting and washing windows.
I don’t remember how the night of mom and Eddie’s fight in the car ended. I know it started because Benny Hinn, the televangelist and faith healer, was in town and Eddie and mom wanted to go see him, so we did. I don’t remember much of the service, except for Gary Busey coming on stage and prophesying something absolutely fucking insane and, even then, knowing it was fucking insane but I was used to that kind of insanity so whatever. I know Eddie tried to sneak backstage and talk to Benny Hinn. I know security kicked us out when Eddie got physical. I know my brother and I were screaming, crying in the backseat on the way home as Eddie grabbed our mom’s hair and yanked her around. I know he yelled, “You fucking bitch,” as she gripped the wheel, a chorus of cars honking at us as we swerved across the freeway. I know Eddie said something about our mom giving him a blowjob at a motel when he had gone on a bender back in Louisiana. I knew about the bender; my mom had told me. But mothers typically don’t tell their sons they give blowjobs to drug addicts as an incentive to get clean. Eddie made sure I knew, though.
I don’t remember the morning Eddie stole mom’s car and used it to go cruising with some local dealer. I know he came home late and chased mom up the stairs. I know she screamed at me and my brother to run, get out the house. I know she called the cops and the cops put Eddie in the back of their car and dropped him off at the train station and told him to get the fuck out of California and never come back. I know he went back to Louisiana and moved in with his mom. I know that was the last time we saw him.
I remember getting the news ten years later that Eddie had died. I don’t know how he died. I remember the fear of running into him when I visited family and friends in Louisiana dissipating and dying along with him. I don’t know what kind of funeral he had or if anyone went or if anyone cried or what hymns they sang or if it was a beautiful memorial. I don’t know what happened to his mom. I remember reading the obituary I found online and wanting to frame it. I remember wondering if he was in heaven or hell and deciding I hoped he was in hell because fuck him for all the shit he put us through.
I know it wasn’t all his fault. I know he was human and people don’t go bad just because. I know my mom was the one who let him into our home. I don’t know why she kept him around. I don’t know why she allowed her two sons – nine and thirteen – to be subjected to that kind of violence. I know that my dad was never like that, not even on his worst days. I know Eddie isn’t a topic we discuss around mom. I remember talking about him with my brother a few weeks ago at a bar in Hollywood. I know, for some reason, my brother had been thinking about Eddie, too.
I know I don’t want to remember any of it anymore.