Hungry and Cold.
When I was allowed to come downstairs to eat or use the restroom things could somedays be almost normal. Almost.
Who am I kidding?
Barb and Bob had invented a new hobby.
It seems I became more interesting to watch in the evening than TV.
I was told to pick out what to wear for school the night before.
Then I was told to wash it out by hand.
Dress, socks, panties.
Wash it out in a dishpan in front of the two of them seated on the couch. Rinse it the best I could and told to go outside in the sub-freezing winter night air and hang it all up on the clothesline.
The winter wind would whip around my freezing ankles and numb-red fingers as I would wring each item out and using wooden clothespins, hang the pieces on the line to dry. Freeze.
The clothes were stiff and turned to ice almost immediately.
My nightgown was there from the washing I had to do in the mornings before going to school.
Bath time now.
Using the same cold water I had used to wash out my clothes, I am told to strip naked and bathe in front of them. Right in the middle of the living room as they watch 3 feet away.
Bob reaches out to turn the television off and makes himself comfortable.
I am the freak show of the day.
Barbara has thrown a tattered rag at me and a bar of Lava soap.
My hands are cold from being outside hanging up my clothes for school tomorrow on the outside clothesline. Dipping them into the cold water to wash my body in front of them leaves me chilled to the bone but not just physically.
Emotionally, I am crushed by them.
That's the name of the game.
"Wash your smelly armpits, you cow" Barbara yells at me.
"God, do you see her ugly ass and her knocked knees?
What a joke she is. No man would ever look twice at her!" Bob says.
"Don't forget to wash your smelly crotch you whore. Nasty."
Her legs are skinny and so close together! Eww, she is so disgusting!"
"Wash your ass.
Use the washcloth and bend over so we can see.
Spread your butt cheeks apart and wash it again."
I do as I am told. I am shivering from the cold of the winter and the cold of these two and their sick imagination.
Rage is boiling up inside me. The humiliation hurts like a physical pain. A punch to the mouth would hurt less when you are 13 and naked and being ridiculed so intimately.
Barbara jumps out of her chair to come over and use her fist to punch me as hard as she can in my flat chested breasts.
"I read you can get breast cancer from hard hits to the tits.
Hit her there! I will laugh my ass off if she has to get her tits cut off.
Oh, I forgot. She doesn't have any tits!"
Laughing. She lands a fist again as hard as she can into my chest and I feel the wind knocked out of me as I reel to stay upright.
"Lift your arms up and wash again. Everywhere. Spread your legs apart. Rub the soap on you there until it gets foamy. Scrub yourself.
Wash your ass. Scrub your stinking crotch.
God, I hate you! I hate whores.
Wash it all again. Use that rag and clean yourself. You smell like a slut."
Over and over until my skin is raw from the lye soap. I don't even feel myself anymore. I feel like I am in the corner watching all of this and not feeling the pain. Not feeling the humiliation. Not hearing the words.
I no longer hear their perverted words.
I feel like an automon.
Wash. Clean. Scrub. Spread.
Their fun is over for the evening.
"Now, go outside and get your pajamas and put them on and get your slutty ass upstairs and go to bed. You're a whore.
Whores don't need blankets either".
None of this is new to me. I know what comes next.
I walk slowly to the back door and out into the dark cold winter night.
Their words echo in my head. Slut, whore, ugly, flat chested.
Naked and shivering I pull the wooden clothespins off my frozen stiff nightgown that is flat and hard like a large piece of wood and it crunches in my grasp. Ice thick and cold.
I walk toward the house carrying my stiff cold nightwear.
Open the back door wishing a blast of warmth would magically thaw the cotton of my nightgown. It doesn't.
I work the fabric between my ice cold hands.
It finally has a bit of movement.
I reach my arms into the sleeves of the frozen gown and attempt to put it on.
Frozen and cold.
I pull the frigid garment over my head and slowly climb the stairs.
There is no blanket. No sheet. Just a bare bed and a cold room.
It will be a long cold night before the heat from my body dries the gown enough to sleep...
Tomorrow, I get to do the same only with frozen wet panties, socks and dress to wait at the end of the snowy driveway for the school bus...