Benoit Couture

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Here's a story from my family background which serves to define much of the canvas I am issued from.
I am number 12 of 14 children.

Both parents are born reformers of everything they've ever done in their lives. They carried on being like that in spite of the family core imploding into confusion when I was 6 years old, sending every member of the family on new, estranged and separated orbits.

It happened as a result of the 8th child, who had died at 16, before anyone could make up with her. The oldest ones had lost touch with her, two years before, because of the company she kept.

The nightmare came to light when it became known that she had endured a year of blackmail to protect her sister who was then 6 years old, from kidnap and rape.

On the day of the 25th anniversary of my parents, during the celebration with some 500 guests, the Provincial Police came in to announce that they had found their 14-year old daughter in the ditch, near the U.S. border. She had been thrown out of a car at some estimated 60 miles per hour.

They threw her out because they found out that she was pregnant and therefore no good to sell on the Mexican skin trade.

She lost the baby and lived on for another year. A car accident took her life a year later, with her boyfriend, in 1964 at the age of 16.

The best way that "those who help" had found to deal with the situation while she was still alive, was for everybody to hush hush and to swallow hard and to send her away with the religious institutions who "looked after those difficulties with compassion and understanding".

In 1964 I was 6 years old. I did not know the story until I was 15. My mom sat me down at two o'clock one afternoon. I was just getting up from a night of drugs and she said: "I know what you are up to at night and I want to warn you that bad stories do happen. I can't be with you to live your life. You have to steer away from danger". She then told me my sister's story.

Up to that point in my life, my capacity for violence had been my greatest asset. According to the major newspapers of the day, I was poised to succeed in a career as a hockey player.

After being told of my sister's story though, my understanding of everything lost all sense of direction because I found myself plunged in the realm of ongoing interrogation and of never-ending inner conflict. Being dropped out of the teen care sent me spinni

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