Unlearn Everything: Hometown Addition

We can’t pick our parents

More stories from Sabrina Ftouhi

Unlearn Everything
November 1, 2023

I’m from the small town of Wausau, Wisconsin. There isn’t much there except for alcoholism, meth and toxicity. On my first night back after a few months, I walked into a bar and some white guy called me Aunt Jemimah.

There’s not a whole lot left over there for me to hang on to. I used to have a lot of friends way back in the day, but time goes on and people transform. It’s just my mom and my two remaining best friends. Let’s call them Claire and Jade. 

In March of last year, Claire and I found out that we were going to be aunts. Jade was six weeks along.

When Claire told me the news I didn’t speak for what felt like five minutes. I’m not here to bash my long time friend for her choices, as a matter of fact this baby seems to be making her very happy. That doesn’t mean I’m not terrified for the first eighteen years of their daughter’s life. 

Jade lacks in an area where Claire and I tend to excel: emotional maturity. The last time Jade had an honest conversation about her feelings was 2017. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.

I love Jade and know her well. With that being said I believe I’m qualified to say Jade can be extremely entitled and just plain childish.

Nobody’s perfect, but I know motherhood is going to shatter that woman’s pride and ego. 

In all honesty, I have a lot more negative things to say about the baby’s father. I’ll be calling him Donkey. 

To give some backstory, Donkey and Claire were childhood friends and roommates. They remained close until 2016 when Donkey stabbed his grandmother with a switchblade three times. 

I didn’t know Donkey personally back then, but Claire was a rather adamant advocate for him. She said he’s always had rage issues.

She no longer defends him. 

The official consensus of Donkey’s loved ones was that he just ‘blacked out and stabbed her, he couldn’t possibly control himself.’

The report stated that Donkey and his grandmother were talking about butterflies before she was stabbed unprovoked. 

I was immediately distrusting of him and admittedly judgmental. He was released from prison right before my 21st birthday. We met officially and I mistakenly let my guard down. He seemed genuine and gentlemanly.

It was very obvious that Donkey was madly in love with Claire, she turned him down a few times. We suspected Jade had a crush on Donkey.

If we only knew. 

Throughout my 22 years I’ve seen plenty of out-of-pocket behavior from some white people out there. I did not, however, take it well when Donkey asked me if he could use the n word around me.

He asked it so casually. I called him racist and I went into 2021 with a brand new enemy I now seemingly had to tolerate.

During the full length of Jade’s pregnancy, it was clear to everyone that Donkey was just using Jade as a warm body that serves him food and puts a roof over his head.  

He would talk about sleeping with other women right in front of her, he would obsessively call or talk about Claire. 

One time Jade almost let it slip that she was having this baby to keep Donkey in her life. She would never have admitted it, but Claire and I weren’t born last week. 

A child is not the answer to anyone’s problems. Having a baby to fill some hole in your life is so irresponsible.

If therapy were free, maybe this wouldn’t happen as much. 

Can you at least understand why I’m terrified? Even a little bit?

But wait, there’s more. 

Two weeks before the little nugget was born via cesarean section, Claire realized she really wanted to buy Jade some self respect for Christmas. 

Basically, Donkey was doing cocaine with Jade’s older sister and they ended up sleeping together. I only found this out a week after the baby was born.

When I met with them a few days later, Claire was blackout drunk and told me what had happened. Donkey came over shortly after to question me about what Claire was saying … so many questions about Claire.

So I manipulated him into telling me exactly what I already knew. 

Donkey claims that he loves Jade, BUT, he is a sexual man. He tried coke, and couldn’t control himself. That’s the same defense he used after stabbing grandma. I guess prison did not teach Donkey about accountability.

This kid can’t be expected to have a healthy relationship with their parents when they’re bound to be taught disrespect and chaos.

I spent the last year doing my own thing and finding myself away from the close mindedness of Wausonians, but now I’m slightly on the hook for life. 

My four year residency in Eau Claire ended up teaching me that other people’s problems weren’t my own. This is something that I’m currently well aware of.

Unlearning my own control issues has given me a bit of foundation with dealing with this aspect of my life. 

All I can do is sit back and observe.

Hopefully I get to be the cool aunt someday and teach the kid about self worth. 

Best of luck, kid.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected]