The days seemed so dark for the next upcoming years. I wish I could forget as much as I remember. Writing this has been somewhat therapeutic but mostly painful. I write until I have to stop from the tears or the memories hurt like a physical pain. Most times I write a chapter in 10 minutes and cry for 20.
I know I was and am not the only abused person in the world.
I wish I could say that I was.
Sadly, it is rampant. People like my husband can't comprehend it. He came from the most "Leave It To Beaver" family out there. His mom was always home to greet him after school. Had cookies baked, dinner ready, clothes laid out for the next day. Both parents there for every school event etc.
Abuse? Child abuse? He had never even heard of it before me.
If you suspect someone, know someone or you yourself are being abused, don't be afraid. You are not alone. People do care. Take Action!
If you are afraid your internet and/or
computer usage might be monitored,
please use a safer computer, and/or call
the National Domestic Violence Hotline at
I remember school was my lifeline.
I loved school. I was good at it. It was safe. No one hit you. No one sabotaged your food. No one there set out to humiliate you.
I think food was my main focus after leaving the orphanage. That and survival.
Barbara loved to either starve my sister and I or gorge us with food until we puked. Depended on her mood. Depended on the madness of her day.
We left the city and moved into one of Bob's parents' farm houses. They owned so much of the town we lived in. House after house on street after street. Also, two farm houses deep into the country. A long gravel road with very little traffic. The closest neighbor was a mile away. No one to hear. No one to see or no one to report anything.
I would lie in bed of that two story house and dream of food. A piece of bread or a drink of milk.
3 days with nothing to eat. The lock on the door wouldn't budge. A tin can of water by the door.
Which was worse? No food or too much food?
Barbara would heave her oversized body up the stairs and see me lying quiet, pretending sleep. Trying so hard to be so still. Willing my heart not to beat. My breath to stop. My eyes not to move at all behind my closed eyelids....
If she thinks I am asleep maybe she will go away! Barbara trekking all the way up the stairs could only mean one thing.....
I could feel her presence peering over me....
She would grab me up by my hair. Pulling and twisting. Kicking and screaming in my face accuse me of stealing food from her!
I probably didn't weigh 50 pounds.
Her weight and breath all over me, she would drag me to the top of the stair case. It seemed like an eternity before we would reach the bottom. Yanking and pulling my hair. Punching me as hard as she could in my face, my arms when chunks of my hair would come out in her hands. Kicking my skinny legs. Slamming me into the walls of the narrow stair way. Each painful step of the way. Down each step.
"You stole my food!" she would scream.
Stole her food? I was locked away upstairs!
Suddenly, hunger wasn't my focus. Now it was how to get beyond her latest tirade of the day.
"You just wait! You are really going to get it when I tell what you did."
Think I would quake in fear of her? No.
Fear came when Bob would get home and she knew it. Real fear.
She was vile but Bob was 10 times worse in his rage.
"You dare to steal from me? You are garbage! I will teach you a lesson. You want my food. I will give you food, you miserable little bitch!"
With this she would slam me into the kitchen chair. Tie me to it with a cord around my waist. My hands free.
While emptying out the refrigerator of a weeks worth of leftovers, she would slam bowl after bowl of ice cold potatoes, congealed green beans floating in hardened bacon grease, corn swimming in butter hard on the top like ice on a lake in winter. Stiff macaroni and cheese, old tough pieces of meat. Cold. Anything edible, she flung it to the table.
"You have 20 minutes to eat every bite or else," she would scream into my face as she puffed on her cigarette clenched between her tiny brown teeth.
"Or else" meant she would put the butt of her lit cigarette out on my arm or my stomach or my upper thigh.
I chose to eat.
Stuffing my face with an eye on the clock. Watching the seconds tick by....
At first the food was easy to eat.
I was so hungry.
Shoving it into my mouth. Barely chewing. Swallowing.
10 minutes in and I fought the urge to puke.
"You had better eat every damn bite" she growled as she puffed away. Her fat red face alight with happiness or was it madness at seeing me struggle to keep the food, her food down?
The bright red stub of her cigarette would glow brightly next to me. Threatening me. I had felt the pain of it before. Many times.
The sizzle as it would burn flesh. The smell and pain. The scars. To this day you will never see me wear short sleeves from the scars. Daily reminders.
Fighting the urge to vomit and fearing the pain of the red hot cigarette....
Se would grab a handful of potatoes and shove them in my face.
Eat it all!
Fear of the burns and the feeling of cold potatoes suffocating me up my nose and down my throat. With little warning, I'd vomit all over the table. Into the bowls of food. Dripping down the table. Partially digested food and bile in puddles on the table and in the bowls. Mocking me. I knew what was coming.
"Now you've done it! Now you will eat all of that too. You have one hour. You dare to vomit on MY table? You Eat It! All of it.
Puke and all.
The ashes dangling and about to drop as she grinds the glowing cigarette butt into my upper arm. I scream in pain. Burnt flesh.
Black and ugly.
Thankfully, she happily stomps off to watch her soaps for the next 2 hours....
The smell of it. I can still smell it. I can still taste it.