I am often left at the close of each blog with the thought: What am I going to write about next? Most of the time, I get my ideas in the weirdest and most obscure moments where it is almost impossible for me to write or record my idea. Here’s an example. At 3AM this morning, I woke up out of deep restful sleep with a very clear idea of what I was going to write about today. I assured myself that I couldn’t possibly forget THAT memory and that there was no need to turn on a light, find a pen, find a notepad, and write down the subject matter. Since I woke up at 9AM this morning, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to remember what memory it was and for the life of me… it’s now drifted back to the abyss. So, this will have to suffice.
When you are asked about your childhood by inquiring acquaintances or people you are trying to get to know, what is it that you tell people? Do you tell them about a blue bicycle or playing ball in the park with friends? Hiking in the woods? Fishing trips with your dad? As a parent, I also wonder what my girls will say when they grow up. My husband and I can only do our best and by keeping this blog, attempting to let go of the negative feelings and resentment that reside in my heart, I can only hope that it will make a difference.
When I was twelve years old and starting to develop into a young lady, I had a strong sense of privacy. Most of my privacy had been taken away by this point and I was doing my best to hang on to what I felt I had left. When I would bathe, I started locking the door. We only had one bathroom and I did my best to be in and out as quick as possible.
There was once, that I can only assume, that I wasn’t quick enough. Again, my mother was absent and on the road for her job. It was the middle of the week and I was taking my bath before going to bed. My sister (2 at the time) was already tucked into bed. Jack A. needed to use the bathroom. Instead of knocking and asking me to finish so he could go to the bathroom, he jimmied the door open. I was sitting in the bottom of the tub in the bath water, scrubbing my hair. I didn’t hear him try the door knob and only realized it when he opened the door that he needed the bathroom.
He reached down and grabbed me by the arms and pulled me from the tub. The things that I imagined happening to me in that moment are things that I still have nightmares about.
I need to divert away from the telling of this story before moving on further. When Jack A. came home from work, he would check my chores. After which he would go to get out of his work clothes and relax. When I say that he got out of his work clothes, I mean that in the literal sense. He would take off his clothes, leaving only his underwear on and would sit in front of the TV for the rest of the evening. This was so much a regular part of how he behaved that I was used to it. I didn’t question it… this was how it was.
In that particular moment of my life, I was very much aware of my nudity and the fact he only had his skivies on. Instead of yelling at me or hitting me… or worse… he threw me from the bathroom, soapy hair and all, and slammed the door in my face. I took this opportunity to sprint to my room, I jammed a shirt over my head and with the soap in my hair, the shirt stuck to my back and I ended up with soap in my eyes. Ignoring my burning eyes, I located a pair of undies and shoved my legs through the holes. I did the same with the closest pair of jeans I could find. I wasn’t sure how long he would be in the bathroom but I sprinted to the kitchen anyway to rinse my eyes and hair. When I was done, I didn’t have a towel to dry my face and hair with so I had to let it drip. I didn’t care that I would get into trouble for the water mess. Sometimes you have to take the lesser of the two evils. I turned from the sink about to sprint back to my bedroom but halted in mid movement. Jack A. was standing in the door of the kitchen. Calmly and quietly (like nothing had happened) he said:
We do not lock doors in this house. I better not ever catch you behind another locked door again.
He turned and went back into the living room, back to sit in front of the TV. I headed back to my room as quietly as possible. I didn’t want to risk going back to the bathroom to get a towel, so I just dealt with it. I went to bed that night with really wet hair, wearing a shirt that still had soap all over it and a pair of jeans. I had learned early on not to cry myself to sleep because any noise of distress would bring the shark.