For those that have just started following my blog, thank you for reading and the warm comments you have sent. It’s greatly appreciated.
I’ve blogged a lot about Jack A. and hardly have devoted any effort into my mother. I know that the strongest sense of betrayal that I feel (and still hang on to) is towards her. This is probably going to be the hardest blog that I’ve written to date. Here goes…
I was roughly nine years of age when the emotional and verbal abuse started. Even then, there were ‘punishments’ that included ‘spankings’. I can remember seeing something under the surface of my step fathers face… that he was capable of so much more violence. I just didn’t meet that side of him until a few years later. The first major incident was previously posted in the Sanctuary blog.
I returned from my grandparents house that summer and during that first week of school I got hit by a car and ended up with a broken arm. Yes! This was traumatic but not as bad as what happened after the accident that day.
I was riding bikes with several of my friends in the ally behind our house. There was this one house at the end of the ally that had this really steep driveway. We used that driveway as a launching pad for racing. The one thing none of us thought about were the shrubs on either side of the driveway that prevented us from seeing the ally to check for on-comming traffic. Because I won the last race, I was the lucky winner of a five second head start. I launched down the driveway, pedaling as fast as I could and in the split second that my tire met the ally way, I collided with the side of a white cadillac.
I knew my hand was broken as I flew over the hood of the car. There wasn’t any need to even look at it. I landed on the other side of the cadillac trying to retain consciousness as the back of my head connected with pavement. The driver of the cadillac was a young woman in her late teens taking her fathers car out for the first time on her own. Back then, that information didn’t register. Now, I feel badly for that person. What a way to start your driving record! One of my friends ran down the ally to get my mom. We didn’t have cell phones back then and if you did, you were rich and we certainly weren’t that.
Kim (my mother) was pregnant with my sister Suzie at the time and was somewhere between her seventh and eighth month. I don’t remember much of what happened between my friend getting my mother and getting to the doctor’s office. I guess the reason I remember the doctors office is because they had set the bone and at nine years old, I can still remember the pain. I also had a concussion from hitting the pavement. That’s one fight I didn’t win. We went back home after a full exam and the casting of my right arm.
I wanted to start with that story first because when we returned home, Jack A. was waiting. My mother sat down on the couch having had such a shock. I was explicitly told (by Kim) that my accident would probably cause her to go into early labor. This incident is where I remember blame always being laid on my shoulders. It was always my fault after this point.
Jack A. called me over to where he was sitting and actually pointed to a spot on the floor that he wanted me to stand on. I stood on it, hurting and tired. The doctor’s office had prescribed a low dose of pain meds that my mother didn’t see fit to have filled. She said I didn’t need them. Jack A. proceeded to berate and lecture me on how the accident was all my fault and that poor woman would probably never want to drive again. I probably stood on the designated spot for an hour or more. To top off his lecture he told me to go and get his belt from his bedroom. He said that because I broke the rules, I had to be punished. I am strong enough now to say that I cried like a baby. I begged. I remember saying “It was just an accident, Dad. What did I do wrong?”
To this day, I am still unsure of what rule I broke aside from riding my bike and getting hit by a car, which was sheerly an accidental coincidence. I was bent over the end of the couch and ‘spanked.’ I was sent to my room. I remember my mother coming to talk to me a few hours after under the pretense of checking on me. I was still very distraught and angry. I KNEW what Jack A. had done was wrong though I had no clue how to express my anger. I looked at my mom square in the eye and told her, “If he ever leaves a bruise, I will tell.” At the time, I didn’t know who to tell but I was so set in my resolution that I knew I could find out.
Kim went to tell Jack A. what I had said. To top off the day I had gotten another ‘spanking’ and was explicitly told that IF I did tell, they wouldn’t believe me because I was just a kid. Then he went on to say that if they did believe me, that they would take me away from my mom and I would never see her again. That they would put me in foster care and that would be worse than what he would ever do to me. He went through a list of things that I would never have again like toys, new clothes, my own bedroom, and even a bed to sleep in. He terrified me with the idea that I would have nothing and no one.
My mother wasn’t present for the second ‘spanking’ and the discussion that followed. If I remember correctly, she was taking a ‘nap.’ After Jack A. left the room, I curled up under my blanket and cried. Even though I didn’t know the word for it, I cried for the betrayal. For the fact that I was already alone because my mother had chosen to ‘tell on me.’ In a sense, I guess you could say that I felt like my mother had chosen Jack A. over me.