Dominick Birdsey’s entire life has been compromised and constricted by anger and fear, by the paranoid schizophrenic twin brother he both deeply loves and resents, and by the past they shared with their adoptive father, Ray, a spit-and-polish ex-Navy man (the five-foot-six-inch sleeping giant who snoozed upstairs weekdays in the spare room and built submarines at night), and their long-suffering mother, Concettina, a timid woman with a harelip that made her shy and self-conscious: She holds a loose fist to her face to cover her defective mouth – her perpetual apology to the world for a birth defect over which she’d had no control.
Born in the waning moments of 1949 and the opening minutes of 1950, the twins are physical mirror images who grow into separate yet connected entities: the seemingly strong and protective yet fearful Dominick, his mother’s watchful ‘monkey’, and the seemingly weak and sweet yet noble Thomas, his mother’s gentle ‘bunny’. From childhood, Dominick fights for both separation and wholeness – and ultimately self-protection – in a house of fear dominated by Ray, a bully who abuses his power over these stepsons whose biological father is a mystery. I was still afraid of his anger but saw how he punished weakness – pounced on it. Out of self-preservation I hid my fear.
- Publication Date:
- 03 / 05 / 1999
- 177 x 104mm