Fishin’ in the Dark

It was the summer before I graduated high school.  I was sixteen.  We lived in the middle of no where, around the corner from my best friend.  We lived in this old a-frame farm house without central air or heat.  We sweated like pigs in the summer and froze during the winter.  We survived by squeaking by using window unit air conditioners and space heaters.

Jack A, for whatever reason, got it stuck in his craw that we had to go fishing every day that the sun was shining that summer.  There were some days that it wasn’t and he went anyway.  It was an obsession for him.  He wasn’t working or contributing to the home financially.  It was all about fishing.

Fishing, fishing, fishing, and fishing.

Needless to say, I got sick of it.  Totally and completely sick of it.  I was able to convince my mother and Jack A to leave my sister and I at the house.  It was in the afternoon.  My mother had gotten off work and they took off to go fishing.

I started to not feel well.  It got to the point that the feeling was more than uncomfortable.  I had no idea what was wrong.  I felt like someone was stabbing me in the ribs whenever I took a breath in.  The more time that passed, the more intense the pain got.  I started crying due to the pain that I was in.  Suzie started to cry because she was scared for me and my parents were no where to be found to make it better.  Not that they ever made anything better.

I laid down on the couch with Suzie patting my head.  She was being very sweet to me.  She was genuinely worried about and for me.  She kept telling me to call them but I couldn’t.  This was before the cell phone craze and even if it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have been able to afford one.  I felt even worse than just the stabbing pain because it was scaring her.  I knew, beyond all knowledge that once my mother and stepfather got home, my conditions would only worsen.

It was almost dark when they did get home.  I was still on the couch, curled up in a ball and still crying.  Suzie sitting on the floor next to me.  The second that they walked in the door Kim had this look on her face like she was being assaulted.  Jack A just walked in as if everything were normal.  Neither of them asked what was going on or what was wrong.

Suzie walked up to my stepfather (her biological father) and told him that he was going to take me to the doctor.  He asked her why and she retorted that it was the right thing to do.  He said fine.  He loaded me up into the white cadillac and drove me to the hospital.  They did a chest x-ray and discovered that I had a bad case of pleurisy.  For those that don’t know what that is, it’s technically an inflammation of the lining surrounding the lungs.  It stems from a  viral infection most of the time.  Typically you can’t die from it.  It’s just extremely painful and can pose the problem of possibly collapsing the lung.  The concern with me was that very thing because of the build up of fluid.

Because of the severity of my case, they wanted to drain the excess fluid and place me on a twenty four hour observation.  All of this, I uncovered at a later date.  The doctor’s didn’t address me but my stepfather.  Jack A refused the course of treatment from the doctor’s recommendation and requested that I be placed on medication and that he would monitor my condition from home.  He promised that he would bring me back if my conditions worsened in any way.

They removed the IV from my arm, gave me a bandaid, and sent me home with Jack A.  I knew beyond all doubt he would kill me at some point.  I knew that every penny of that trip to the hospital would be taken from my hide.

Upon arriving home, my mother sent me to my room.  Jack A conversed with my mother about what they were going to do with Suzie the next day.  She had made arrangements for Suzie to go to a friends house.  With the medication that I was taking, I would be unable to take care of my sister Suzie, who was six years old at the time.

There was a horrible side effect to the medication .  It gave me really horrible migraines.  Jack A thought that fact was hilarious.  The next day, my mother took my sister to her friends house.  I stayed home with Jack A.  We had a stereo system that he was rather fond of.  He decided to put on a Grateful Dead CD and turned it on full blast while my head pounded.  Sleeping was impossible.  However, that was the thing that I needed the most.

I did the best that I could to close out the base and the noise by putting a pillow over my head.  Because of the pillow, I didn’t hear Jack A on the stairs.  The next thing that happened made me believe, affirmed the truth, that Jack A’s intention sooner or later was to kill me.

Before I could remove the pillow, I felt a pressure on either side of the fluff.  Panic ensued and in that panic I scrambled with my hands, searching for the source of the pressure.  Searching for the reason behind why I couldn’t remove the pillow which would allow me to breathe.  I felt his hands griping the pillow.  I scratched and clawed at his hands.  I searched the air for his face.  I searched for something that would give me back the air my lungs needed.  In that moment, I recognized what he was doing.  He intended to smother me.  He intended to kill me.

My thought process slowed down.  The panic left.  The fight went out of me.  It left me like an exhale.  The thought, and the only thought, that ran through my mind was:

FINALLY!

Finally…

Finally, I could see an end to my hell.  Finally it was going to be over.  Maybe it was the lack of oxygen, but it was like a wave crashing over my body as I lost consciousness.  Obviously I am not dead and that wasn’t the end to my story in a very literal way.  I wish I could just end this entry with a ‘I came too later’ but I can’t.

I did come to later…

My stepfather used me as a sex toy while I was unconscious.  When I regained consciousness, the sweatpants and underwear I had been wearing were on the floor.  My stepfather was gone.  Gone fishing to be exact.

When this all occurred, it had been early morning.  When I had a mind to do so, I checked the clock.  It was around noon.  He returned home a few hours later.  I was sitting at the table, showered, and completely dressed.  Any time that he would use me, I scrubbed until patches of my skin would bleed.  I only showered when he wasn’t home.  It was the only way that I knew it was less likely that he would barge in.  Even with that, he would still get home sometimes before I could finish and barge in for the hell of it.

When he arrived home, I was sitting at the dinner table.  I wasn’t doing anything but trying to not think.  If I cracked, I knew it would turn into a chasm as big as the Grand Canyon.  I felt like I was being held together by Elmer’s Glue.  I was sitting there when he walked in .  He went straight to the refrigerator for a coke.

I cleared my throat.  He looked at me as I stood up from the table.  I placed both hands, palms down on the wood for the support.  I lifted my head as high as I could and did something that I could never bring myself to do.  I looked him straight in the eye and made a declaration.

I told Jack A that if he ever touched me like that again, I would kill him while he slept.  In that moment, he knew that I meant it because I did.  I meant every word.  I made a choice and I chose to speak up.  He would either be angered enough to finish what he started or he would stop using me but either way… it was my choice.

I never believed he would let me walk away after making that declaration.  That promise.  He did though.  My mother walked in with my sister and that is what I believe to be my saving grace that night.  I went upstairs and went to bed.  Exhausted.  If he killed me while I slept instead, it would be an end to hell.  If he didn’t retaliate, and we continued on the way things were going, then hell would continue.  BUT…

AND it was a small glimmer of a chance…

But if he took me seriously, then at least the sexual abuse and the rape would stop.  At that time, I didn’t know the significance of what I had done.

When I made that declaration, I was taking back a piece of my dignity.  The sexual abuse stopped.  The beatings and the emotional abuse got worse.

But the sexual abuse stopped!

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23 thoughts on “Fishin’ in the Dark

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  1. I only clicked the like button because of your bravery when he (I can’t say step-father because no type of father would do what he did) returned from his fishing.

    The story sickened me beyond belief and I just cannot imagine what hell you were experiencing. The fact that you stood up to him proves my previous comment where I said that you were much stronger and braver than me. This story proves it and although it was sickening to read, the final part was like a breath of fresh air. I was so impressed by the impassive way you told him what was what and how that ended part of the hell you were living in.

    I still cannot understand the attitude of your mother. I have heard of incidents like this and cannot fathom why the mother ignores the plight of her daughter. My first thought is fear but a caring mother would fight until her last breath to protect you.

    It is a terrible thing and something that no child, no person, should be subjected to. I don’t feel sorry, that would be condescending, rather I feel admiration for what you did especially considering your situation.

    I hope that by telling that story a little of the internal pressure that you were keeping a lid on has been released and that you feel a little better because of the telling. I hope that you will feel better because of it and eventually let the memories fade in their intensity and pain so that you can put them away in a corner of your mind and find peace again. Sleep the sleep of the innocent and don’t let your horrific past haunt you any further.

    YDx

    1. This entry is truly the first entry that I have been able to do about the sexual abuse that I endured. I have not been able to re-read it and process my feelings on it yet but I know that I will get there eventually. I know that when someone click’s the LIKE button, it’s in support and not necessarily the liking for the experience. It comes with the territory of what I write about.
      My mother wasn’t a mother. She was a fill in… a space holder. I have two wonderful, bright, and awesome little girls and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to help them or protect them. It’s only served to pronounce her short comings.
      I know that once I am able to process this entry as I have done with the other posts, that I will only be better even though it is difficult.
      Just know that my life is wonderful now. I’m just healing old hurts.
      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

  2. Phoenix, I don’t usually say this in case it sounds flippant, but it comes from my heart…. You are so very brave, not only for standing up to the beast but for finding the courage to write about it here on your blog. I know what that feels like – at first it is terrifying but, believe me, you will start to find even more courage to share some more and, through that process, you will eventually start to find “healing”. In writing, you also help so many other people, some you here from, while others sit in the background soaking up your strength and your insight.

    1. You don’t sound flippant at all. I appreciate and value the comments I get and the people that take time to make them. I greatly appreciate your warm thoughts.
      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

  3. Again I find myself in a situation where the word ‘like’ seems completely inappropriate: let’s say I admire, I applaud your courage, for telling your story so frankly and openly here.

    The things you describe are happening to others all over the world, all of the time, too often with the sanction of law to condone them. Until society begins to understand the psyche of those who maltreat women and children the four walls of a home will remain a prison for their victims, and the only solace it can offer comes from a services group with an equally spurious agenda. We need honest appraisal, and we need not to be afraid to accept there are some who should not only be prohibited from bearing children, but prohibited also from getting anywhere near to them.

    I am glad you survived, and I wish you all the power you need to state your case, often and clearly. Maybe some day someone will listen.

  4. I’m listening…..you were so brave to stand up to him, I couldn’t, not until he lay dead in a casket, I put a letter in his pocket and he took it to hell with him. I hated the bath too, his smug smiling face laughing at me as I swore at him and threw things, all the while trying to stay covered by a wash cloth…….oh boy, nightmares tonight. Keep writing kiddo, it all helps!

    1. I fully intend to go and dance on his grave when Jack A does die. I currently live 1200 miles away from that small time and from him. I will gladly drive there for that reason and only that reason.
      Despite the fear and the close proximity to death that I was, I meant every word. Going to prison for it would be nothing compared. I’m sorry that you suffered the same abuse and know that I know the pain behind it.
      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

      1. The most disgusting thing about my story was, back then in the Province we lived in No One, Could Get Involved Until “YOU” spoke up…I spent countless hours crying and in pain in the school’s bathroom and infirmary, the Principal was the one I was suppose to tell, He Looked Exactly like My Father!!, he scared me to death, I couldn’t even say hello to the man. I was so terrified. Years later everyone told me that they tried to adopt me or get me away from Oh the many ways to kill your abuser! I think the best one I came up with was poison him and have him drive off a cliff into the Ocean! lol..
        You have to keep laughter alive in you, otherwise you’ll go insane! If you ever want to talk,……… buggz_41@ahoo.ca Take care of yourself.
        T.

  5. Thank you for sharing this Pheonix. I can’t imagine how it feels to re-live the memory and write it down. But I’m glad you did. I too, would be struggling to work out why a heavenly father would let this happen to me, if this was my experience. I think you are doing a wonderful thing, because there are always those who want to hush up those who speak out, for fear their ‘religion’ would be mocked. But I want to encourage you to speak out as much as you like, sharing as much as you dare.

    This happened to you and there’s nothing people can do to try to pretend it didn’t. It’s your story and it is something that should be told.

    And how wonderful to hear that you stood up to him. You are being used mightily to help others – both women and men. Never let anyone try to belittle your story or silence you. Look how many people already have popped up on WP to support you – that’s great. Your daughters must be so, so proud of you and I know your husband’s a special man, specially chosen to walk by your side.

    Is it okay to re-blog this at some point? I will not add to your words in any way.

    I hope that one day, your writings could become an e-book or proper paper copy.

    Have a blessed week,
    Sharon xx

    1. You have my permission for the reblog.

      My girls are still very little. Five and six years of age. I always say that my husband is the one who picked up all of the broken pieces and put me back together again and my girls are the glue. I am currently working on one. In bits and pieces.

      With much respect,
      Phoenix

  6. Your story, every word you shared…and lived, is more than a daily ray of sunshine! How courageous you were and are!! (Not to be too presumptuous here…have you experienced EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, a research-evidence-based psychological treatment for Traumatic events and memories?). You can look it up and do some research. I have had several sessions myself and it has helped tremendously. Peace to you…and keep sharing!!

  7. Reblogged this on Light-bites For Your Heart and commented:
    I admire this dear lady so, so much. She is an overcomer, despite the horrendous memories she has to live with. The next time you are feeling sorry for yourself, please remember Phoenix and all the little girls she represents and say a prayer for them. Despite Childline, the NSPCC and similar charities around the world, this type of evil happens every day.

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