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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Monday, February 11, 2013


As a child, my understanding of my uncle was a sloppy collage of my grandmother and mothers’ recollections of his youth layered beneath the chaos that he caused within my family from a distance. The bulk of the picture that I drew of my uncle focused on the panic that he so often stirred within my family; blurry nights when my mother rushed my sister and I to our neighbor’s house so that she could drive up north to make sure he was alive or hysterical phone conversations during which my mother would beg my grandfather to send him to rehab. I collected these shards of my uncle throughout my childhood, storing them beneath a dark veil in the back of my mind.  
The possibility of my uncle having to live with us was a threat that loomed over my family from the time I was very young, his presence an unfulfilled prophesy. In the winter of my junior year of high school, he burrowed into our dining room. Chinese screens were erected from the short pathway from the front door to the kitchen to give him a false sense of privacy. For two years, the urine glow that illuminated his hunched figure was the last thing I saw every night before I turned out the kitchen light. And his muffled sobs were the last thing I heard before I shut the hallway door, separating this fallen man from my sleeping family.
Within a week of his moving in, I began ignoring him and stabbing him with my disgust. I would stomp around him in the kitchen while I made my lunch, refusing to let myself look at him, convincing myself he wasn’t there. My boyfriend at the time once walked up to him to introduce himself, extending his hand, “Hey, what’s up, I’m Fra-,” “Don’t,” I hissed, slapping his hand away from my uncle’s. I wouldn’t let him touch anything that belonged to me.
My mother told him that he had to leave the night that we came home to a house that reeked of alcohol and his slumped body across the kitchen table. “We’re enabling you,” she said. “I don’t have anybody, Di. I don’t know where to go,” he sobbed, tears glistening on his scruffy, bloated red face. I remember thinking he was pathetic. He was gone the next morning.
6 months after he left, my mother, sister, and I were in Maryland for Christmas with my entire family. Nobody knew where he was and everybody was relieved that we could carry on the holiday without his raw presence reminding us of our own demons. The morning after Christmas, I woke up surrounded by torn wrapping paper and my mother’s muffled sobs. I walked into her room and she told me that our dog, Rory, had died on Christmas night. A Dalmatian-Akita mix and the size of a little pony, Rory held a special place in everyone’s heart and his unexpected death left us heartbroken. After finally processing that Rory was gone, the realization of having to both see and dispose of his dead body dawned on me. “I can’t,” I coughed out, choking on my sobs. My mother held me and stroked my head, mixing my hair with my salty tears, “Kenny took care of it, don’t worry,” she whispered.
We still don’t know where Kenny lives or how far he had to drive to take care of the dead body; we never called to ask him what happened. He silently floated up from whatever dark lair he had been staying in and gifted us with not having to see our pet’s lifeless body. I imagine that Kenny struggled to pick up Rory’s limp body and that his sorry eyes took one last look at the dog’s greying face before gently placing him in the bed of his truck. I envision Kenny disappearing into the traffic on the highway, his truck carrying the weight of both a dead dog and a man that has been crucified by his family for their sins.



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