|Posted on May 11, 2009 at 3:48 PM|
The house was dark when we pulled up at the front gate and I awakened by my husbands sigh of releaf. Numb as I woke to the surprise of our early arrival at the home I grew up in. Due to the storms passing in the middle of the night there was little to no traffic on the road so we arrived in half the time. Board and scared by the lighting I went to sleep to avoid my thoughts of going home. My husband and I spent many years as kids with him running past this gate and I wishing I could meet him looking out at him pass. Alex lived just down the road and we became childhood sweet hearts who ended up happily married. That story I will have to skip as I bring you into the reason we sit motionless in front of this gate now. Neither Alex nor I wanted to be the first to speak or move. I guess we both felt it would bring us face to face with the painful memories being back hear at all. We had vowed never to set foot on this soil again but hear we are.
I turned to Alex and ask if he sure we turned off the coffeepot. It took our minds back to what we where doing when we got the calls to come home. A body had been found between yards during the preparation of a foundation for a house being built between. No one was reported missing and they?re many questions being asked of the people living in the area at the time. The police had requested we all be interviewed hear if possible. We had no problems getting away Alex and I had done well with his law firm and my music and fashion production companies. Both our lives had cast many shadows we left in the past like they didn?t exist. His father was abusive demanding all A?s from the time he started school till his college graduation. Mimicking most of what was going on in each other?s life began to join us to the hip as we went off to the same college. It was like we where each a looking glass that keeps us from allowing our lives to be enslaved again. Never to give anybody not even each other as man and wife power over each others lives giving us comforts and trusts in each other. Not to mention the freedom to be who we each are.
Now like a lighting bolt we where jolted back to the recognition of not only being hear but talking about it all. My thoughts became erratic rampantly as my stress kept trying to repress my thoughts. Usually ending with me remembering an occasion where my father threw a punch at anybody in his path. No matter why he was angry you where the casualty. Our bodies both have scars that will never heal. They became symbols changing our mindset making them erotic tattoos of a struggle we survived. Just sitting hear though made each scar and its remembrance fresh as the day received before I learn how to tap into my Inner Peace. Clinching my hand in his Alex assured me the past was not able to harm us now. We where no longer scared children unable to protect ourselves from a parent who abused or allowed the abuse. After giving each other support we realized we could get this over with if we got out and open the dam gate. It would set us on a path up to the main house putting our past atlas to rest. Inside I was still that scared little girl. Each step was like a horror movie moment of fright ahead. My insides felt confused as I consciously look for space to up chuck. I was really bent twisted was my reality. Alex was no help fore he was dealing with his own fears. Our out reached support for each other quickly became instinct reaction for we still had fears in spite of our trying to brave up.
The gate full now of thick vines still open with ease telling me that the house was still being visited. Whoever came and went left marks of the gate opening because the grass was not cut and the drag marks left where fresh. Looking up the winding road leading to the house there was this breeze that seem to whisper go away. I got this chill down my spin and the only reason I didn?t leave was because Alex was holding on to my arm. Ushering me back to the car we began the drive up the winding entrance. I could see myself as a child playing in the yard. Ducking behind trees as I did spying trying frantic to see who it was coming. There where parking spaces but we pulled up to the front door as if to say we not staying. This time I was quick to open the door and get out. It was as if I wanted the ghost of my past know that I feared them not. Every inch of my brave heart was pounding and why I was able to move forward.
Alex had to almost run to keep up with me as I open the unlocked door. I guess there was still the sense only a fool would come up to this house known for the abusive histories of the people who lived hear anyway. My fathers, father?s father was the builder on the sweat of the family he enslaved at his will. There where family stories that scared the hell out of me as a child. My elders kept thousands of photos of our family history, like a whip lashing out at the will of a slave master?s hand they kept us in line. As a child I didn?t need anybody telling me what happen. It was documented on the face and eyes of pictures taken by each slave master kept in its place of history throughout the house. When you open the door as I just did you get the feeling there was somebody standing there and that person was pure evil. Rarely allowing visitors so nobody knocked or rang the bell to visit as we lived sheltered from the outside world by a strange-planted circle of woods that surrounded the house. My only salvation was being allowed to go to school where I met Alex. His friends always picked on me because I was the strange kid living in a wired spooky house in the middle of the city looking out of place. I wore home made clothing that didn?t always hold up passing others in the school hallways. I was picked at but nobody got that it was nothing compared to what was happening at home. That?s nobody but Alex and he knew because he recognized the pain in my eyes and the way I stayed away from other children. Remembering him as a young man made me feel one of few happy moments of my past. I began to force myself to conjure up other times I felt happy but it was a hug task that sent me into to a tailspin.
Looking up at the sealing made me a bit dizzy as my thoughts began spinning out of control coming going to fast. Then an old voice I thought long gone took my breath away. It was my mothers sister old and feeble making her way demanding to know who it is. I was in shock she was not only still alive but living in a house she was known to detest. Aunt Alice my mother?s oldest sister was the outcast in the family and it appears the only one of her seven sisters and two brothers still alive. The moment we came face to face she knew I was related and didn?t waist time on how. Talking as if we continuing an old conversation I was being grilled and never given proper time to respond. It appeared that Alex was more of a distraction than I was. She couldn?t quite size him up as she attack his reasons for being there. I had to come between them as I explained Alex was my husband and she attended the wedding. He reminded her of the dance she insisted on having with the groom. It seemed to brake the ice enough to start a normal conversation. That soon proved to be even more confusing. Aunt Alice was drunk and talking about things haunting her. Just like us only we were sober. Following her into the living room looking as formal as I remembered it. Aunt Alice went straight to the liquor and poured a stiff brandy before she sat in front of the unlit fireplace. Starring as if deep in remembrance we where invited to fix ourselves a drink. Before I could speak Alex quick on his feet began to pour two shots of brandy. At first I was reluctant but thought it best to take a stiff drink to relax. I was told it was really old and right for drinking. It was the best brandy I had every tasted. I should know brandy well for it was used on us kids to make us sleep through the nights. If we got sick it was used so my father wouldn?t have to spend the money on going to a doctor. That brandy was the cheap stuff my father would use during the week when working out in the fields or construction jobs he would go off to find. Aunt Alice found his stash of the good stuff while she waited for the rest of us to arrive. By the time others started coming in she had hid it again so nobody would drink it but us.
The more we relaxed and got settled in we began to understand some of Aunt Alice out of place comments. We kept reminding each other she?s an old woman whose mind was playing games on her and us. That turned out not to be the case at all. She was just having flashbacks of what happen in the house. That?s why it sounded crazy and out of context but exactly how we lived. From the pictures on the walls that captured all our fears to the furniture that enslaved my attention. All reminding me that as the youngest daughter it was my job no dust was to be found within my reach. With toothbrush mop and bucket of soapy water that kept my hands raw scrubbing the house till the day I left was my intire life. Looking at the floor now there was no evidence I mop at all. Some how I felt angry it was dirty like I did after mopping and my parents would come in and not care they walked on a wet floor. It was hell to pay if they slipped and saw their own dirty tracks. I would be forced to mop the entire house again while they slept. Then off to school without sleep till my brain refused to stay awake. Usually woken by my mother?s warnings my father would be home soon and I needed to get my chores done.
You could hear him the moment the front gate was open. Every sound was raw and noticeable because of the fear we lived not knowing what mood he would be in. Putting the fear in people was pleasurable to my father. He would look pleased to see grown men run off and women humbled at the mention of his name. Having many mistresses without a word of disapproval from my mother. It was rumored that we had many siblings born around us but because of the fear no one would dare claim him as their child?s father. I began to wonder how many of them would show up today and are they still living under the threat of that fear. I wanted to reject any notion that others could have gone through the same as us but faced it could be a reality. An entire city's birth had given into that fear and no telling how many nurtured it and the diversity of that nurturing set lose on the world. Thinking any of us could evolve worse than my father sent chills up and down my spin.
The arrival of another couple was a welcome distraction from my thoughts. There was no use trying to remember them as they spoke because none of the children in our neighborhood were allowed to play with us. With the woods around our house we would only get a glimpse of each other at times. The conversation didn?t become relaxed till we all mention the different ways we would quickly wave at each other then run off. If we had been caught acting like we knew or liked each other it would be months before I was allowed outside again. Spending my time pondering over the spider webs in the attic or seller where I was sent as punishment. The light from the sun or light strung up on a tree in the yard was how I manage to see it was time to get up or go to bed till my punishment was over. I didn?t mind being in the attic or basement because it gave me time alone out of the path of daily beat downs. High up in the attic I could see over the treetops at other children playing or riding their bikes in the streets. My first glimpse at how normal children lived. Seeing their parents treating them with love was special and made me long to be treated that way. I would hug myself trying to feel like the kid?s look being held by their fathers as he arrived home. The attic became my favorite place to be and the one secrete I couldn?t allow to be known. I felt safe to gaze out as far as I could and it empowered me. Not long after the attic became my sanctuary it was my father who notice the difference in me. He was able to control people because he paid attention to their behavior. Reading your body language he knew just how far he could abuse you. His abuse was both physical and mental depending on how he thought it was best to break down your resistance. Strangely it felt like he was still around controlling then directing our behavior.
As the sun began to set it became obvious that all where neither going to show up. Nor would the questioning begin till the morning. Too early to go to bed even though I felt the need to climb into bed next to Alex and bury myself deep into his arms. Still I led Alex up to my old bedroom shared with my three sisters and I. Kim, Jordan, Sharon where the best sisters you could hope for and often protected me from being punished even if it meant they got hit instead. Walking into the room I could see us pretending to play house. Drinking from imaginary teacups. Eating crumbs we manage to steal from the kitchen that would surly have gotten us all in trouble. It was our job to tell on each other and if we didn?t you would get the same beating as if you had just because you didn?t tell. My sister Kim died during childbirth of her third child. Jordan ran off to join the army and never was heard from again. Sharon lives in New York City and vows it?s too painful to remember our childhood. So much so that she refuses to visit or show up to be, question. All from the fear of having to relive the pain and disgrace of our childhood. I have two brothers Clayton, Lee and I can?t even begin to tell you what happen to them. Kept in the fields working and grown by the time I was born I don?t remember them much at all before they left. My sisters conversations about them made me feel they where being raised to carry on the tradition of abusive behavior like it was a badge of family pride.
Sitting next to my doll was a carving tool I stole because I had inherited his skills. I often thought he hit me so much because he hated that his boys didn?t have the skills I did. To punish them he kept them tending to the fields growing crops we didn?t really need just so nobody noticed his shame. I was ban never allowed to carve or have anything to do with making things till I was in college. My going to college was a complete surprise to everybody because no one had noticed or read my report cards. Not even my sisters who took interest in most everything I did because if they didn?t I might get them in trouble for not stopping me. After winning a scholarship my escape was set and all I had to do was make it out the house to the bus station. In my fathers eyes a woman had one purpose other than to lay in his bed and a second purpose of having as many kids he gave her while with him. My mother was his second wife that we know of. His first wife died was all we where told. There had been roomers that he had gotten rid of her but my father would actually have seen that as a waist. He loved getting the best usage out of things and people. Often he would get angry and beat us all because he didn?t use something up and it got thrown out. They say there is a fine line between being intelligent and being insane. I don?t have any fears my father was that intelligent just good at being an abuser. As for my mother I was always at a loss about my feelings about mother. She didn?t behave the way a mother normally does. I could see this when at school waiting for class to start. When the other kids arrived and I could see for myself they where different even in the way they dressed. With fashionable clothing and makeup my mother was never allowed to where. Even if she tried to wear it while away from home dad could tell. She would come in looking like her lips where still stained from the colors she wore. Maybe it was at the mall and she just wanted to see the color on her face he would get off the chain mad. Looking out the window sitting hear day dreaming I would see them fighting in the yard. I couldn?t hate the way she treated me but I was ashamed of her behavior. Getting my freedom in school I soon learned about battered women. I forgave my mother for all she watched happen and took part in that abuse me. Thinking it maybe one day lesson the amount of beatings I got with her making me behave myself.
Categories: Book Notes