Saturday, July 28, 2012

Things remembered, to be forgotten

Please be aware this material may contain triggers.        
This one is hard. I wrote it in 2007 and just discovered it on here. It gets better...it does. 

 

    My early memories of my father are pleasant enough, though I remember later, he was extremely violent with my older step-brother. I wasn't afraid of my father until I was five or so. Before that, he was playful. He would pull me into his lap and lay me across his knees, on my back, then lower his head to my tummy pretending to eat me for dinner. All the while tickling me and calling me a fish. Later, I remember being called into the living room to watch him punish my step-brother, who must have been about seven years to my own four then. My father would pick him up and throw him into walls; it didn't matter how compliant my brother was. My father kept this up until he tired himself out. I can't remember my brother ever doing anything wrong and as I would learn all too well later, my father didn't need a reason to hit us or at least not one that had to do with us. If he couldn't find a lighter, you could get a clap to the base of your skull, as could running out of cigarettes, dinner being served late or heavy traffic after work. I recall my mother's response to these episodes so well. She would go scooting past us down the hall and into her room waving some romance novel or another complaining of a headache. She completely gave us up to this man, who would one day, go to jail for molesting 6 little girls.  She carried her own demons and so she was no match for her husband's fury.

     I remember my father once threatening to pop my sister's head off one day in the car. All I could picture, being four or so,was how he would screw back on my Barbie's head every time it came off and being afraid for my Sister. I don't think I got hit a lot in the beginning, not like the others. Not until my mother gave up her three oldest children to their father, in an attempt to keep them safe. My younger brother and I did not know until they left that they had another Father, but we quickly decided we wanted one too. This did not go over well with my mother, who loved to scream like a demon, right before she threw something large and heavy at you. My mother had uncanny aim for someone who hated all forms of sports. Four and five year olds do not really recognize crazy when they see it in their parents. We just learned to duck a lot.

    Living with my parents was a crapshoot. One day I went from second youngest and the next I was the oldest, with no preamble or warning. There was a stern lecture about how we had gotten away with murder for long enough and we were going to start towing the line. Now, five year olds are very literal and I spent this entire recital trying to figure out who I could have murdered. I, of course had learned by then not to ask. All I knew was that half my family was now gone and I was somehow to blame. Children don't naturally take these things well and being new to first grade, I started the school year by wetting myself in class. That by the way, does not make things go better for you, in or out of the classroom. As a coping mechanism I don't recommend it. This coincided with my father's first visits to my then, nearly empty room. We three girls had shared one bedroom and sometimes one bed. I hated having my own room and would sneak into my younger brother's room, who was equally as lonely, now that our older brother was gone as well.

    When I was ten, my mother told me she sent my sisters away so they would not become pregnant. She said this as if this was done for their benefit, at great sacrifice to herself. It would never occur to her to leave the man who was sleeping with her thirteen and ten year old daughters. My mother  blamed them and later me, for my father's predilections. She felt we were trying to take her man from her, and by god she was not going to let that happen. We somehow were temptations and she was not pleased.

     It was hideous after my sisters left. I had to keep the house clean, watch my brother and try to deal with my father's "special" attention, which caused another kind of attention to be directed at me from my mother. Unfortunately, there was no spare father standing in the wings to send me to.You can see why a child might have an accident or two while trying to balance on a tight rope she is predetermined to fall from.

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