April 6, 2012

when I thought for a moment that things would be different, and then they weren't

She said, "I am going to make sure that doesn't happen anymore."
"Okay," I said.

I went into my room and sat on the bottom bunk; my brother's bed. I looked at the wallpaper and decided I would be glad to be rid of it. The walls at my grandparents' house were clean and white. It was not a huge house; I would still have to share a room. But the walls would be white. I scuffed my toes against the carpet, waiting. Maybe she was packing her own things first.

When I went to look for her, she wasn't in their room. She wasn't in the laundry room either. I heard water in the sink, a pan on the stove. I walked down the hall, slowly, slowly. She was in the kitchen, making dinner, and she had put her makeup on.

I blinked.

There was no suitcase out, no duffel bag packed.


"Do you want to watch TV?" she asked me.
"No," I said.

I went back to my room and shut the door.


  1. I am sitting, right now, in an Early Childhood Development training for my job. I posted the true behaviors of babies, under the age of 3 on my blog that I learned..yet again, here. It breaks my heart to know what the adults in my life did to cause the mistrust and insecurities I grew up with. MY CHILDREN WILL NOT EXPERIENCE THIS. YOURS DIDN"T, and WON'T EITHER.

  2. Why do you think - from your vantage point now, as an adult - that she didn't leave?

    Why didn't she take you away from there?

    I wish...

    Journal of Healing is right - your children DIDN'T and WON'T experience this betrayal.

    Cathy in Missouri

    1. I just don't know. Because she was mentally unbalanced, because she lived primarily in a fantasy land, and because she didn't see her children as autonomous but as extensions of herself? I was only about 5 or 6 yrs old when I found out what had been happening to me all my life was not okay, and I knew immediately the only way things would change is if we left and never came back; I knew that if what was happening to me really was as wrong as it felt, then leaving was the only logical thing to do. But we didn't leave. And we still weren't allowed to talk about it. Ever. So the abuse didn't stop, it just changed over time. She was 25 and she kept us in that house and turned a blind eye and even had another baby with him a short while later, my little sister who also ended up being horribly abused.

      I hate her as much as I hate him; in some ways maybe even more. I hope that someday I won't hate them anymore. Not for their sakes, but for mine. It's a hot and hurtful feeling and I don't like it. The best revenge is to have a happy, peaceful life and I hope that someday I will--not just once in awhile, but continually.

  3. And your little sister...?

    What is your relationship to her, now? Has she escaped, following you?

    Hot and hurtful, and how. And to be smothered in "no talk" for all that time, with such a volcano inside.

    Cathy in Missouri

  4. I've been thinking about this post ever since you published it. I'm hesitant to comment as this is outside the realm of my own experience so please forgive me if I stumble.

    The title, that hope in the title, it catches in my throat. And I think I can understand why you might hate her more, sometimes. Because she should have looked after you. That is what mothers do and that is what you would do. And she didn't. I can't imagine how much of a betrayal that was (is).

    I wish you the very best revenge possible.