Did you ever have someone impact your life so greatly that all that you experienced…every part of it…reaped havoc on your soul for all of your days?
There once was a girl, 14 years old, sad, but hopeful…hopeful someone would come love her and heal her heart. Hopeful that she could survive. Her mother was a drunk and a drug addict, who never protected her, and at 14 she was on her own. Not knowing anything about living, but very well schooled in surviving, this was all she could do.
There once was a boy, 16 years old, angry and disturbed. His father was a drunk who used his fists on his mother. He told the girl he loved her and her heart swelled. Then one day, her lip swelled and her body bruised, and she knew fear. Fear that was stronger than all the fear she had felt before.
She dressed as he said, talked as he said, did as he said, and cried and cried. One day he asked, “Why do you always cry when we make love.” She learned to lay still and say nothing.
She learned to run and hide when he became angry, and she was never ever, ever to tell. One day, the girl woke up and she knew something was different. Time had slipped by and she had swelled, and bruised, and hidden a great deal now. She was more afraid than ever….because she knew that she was different now. Her heart swelled. Suddenly, she felt love!
Soon her breasts swelled, her belly swelled, and her ankles swelled. All day, every day, she thought about the baby. All day, every day, she was afraid for the baby. There was a day when he came to her and threw her to the ground. “It’s time for you to die.”, he said, and told her how he would kick the baby out of her. She lay on the ground holding her belly protecting her baby. She was already eight months along. She believed he would eventually kill her.
He threw all her belongings into the street and shut the door behind him. She stood there in the middle of the night, cold, and afraid. She picked up her things and walked away. It was snowing and dark, but she felt better for walking. She passed her parents house, and kept going, because she was unwelcome there. She flipped them the bird.
She walked all night until she arrived at her aunt’s house and there she slept on the floor. She tried to leave him, but he followed her. He always followed her. He followed her to work, he knew when she got her check and made sure he brought her right to the bank to cash it. “Here is twenty dollars for you.” he would say. She would be grateful. He followed her when she was walking down the street, on the bus, or just in the bathroom. One day he came in while she was using the toilet, he peed on her, and then just walked away.
He followed and watched, waited and accused, he hit and he screamed and he said “Get in the back seat, you slut!” He did what he wanted…even when she choked. He did what he wanted…even when she cried. He did what he wanted.
One day, a baby girl was born and he wouldn’t let her hold her. He took the baby and he told the social workers that he didn’t know what was wrong with her and how she wanted to leave him. A woman came by to tell her to be nice to him, that he was trying so hard to love her. Once they were home, he forgot all about them for sometime. Then she was alone with her baby. She sang to the baby and wrapped her in swaddling blankets, she fed her her breast milk and tried to stay healthy.
One day he was angry again, and he went to take the baby. The baby was on the bed and could fall off, but she grabbed him and wouldn’t let go. He punched her and punched her, but she wouldn’t let go. He punched her in the stomach until she could not feel it anymore. He punched her until he was tired, but she wouldn’t let go. “I won’t let you hurt my baby! “, she yelled. She stayed up at night thinking of ways to escape.
She went to the nuns, but he found her and brought her back. She asked her dad for help, but his wife answered by calling her “Whore!” and shutting the door on her. She went to the police, they took reports and put them in a folder. She got a restraining order, but he broke into her new apartment and held her there and took their daughter. He ripped out the phone and took the baby into the other room and wouldn’t give her back. He stayed there for hours.
When she left her house he was hiding in her bushes….she ran and ran…she ran to the police station, but they “couldn’t do anything” because he was not there now. His brother knew the mayor of the town (yes, really!). They kept taking reports, but they could never find his folder when she needed it. When she was on the bus, she watched constantly to see if he was following behind her. They went to court. She told social workers about being raped was told “You picked him!”, and “None of that matters!” “Does he hurt the child?”
“No, he has not hurt the child, but I’m afraid he will.”, she said.
“Well, that is not good enough.”
They went to court over and over and over. She kept losing her job for absences…he made it hard on her. He said he was being denied his visits so he got more time. He assaulted her daycare provider, but the woman didn’t want to see him “go to jail over it.” He yelled at the pediatrician because “he had rights and he wanted to see the little girl’s medical records, and Who the fuck do you think you are?!”
The girl was becoming a woman now and when the doctor called her to explain what happened, she asked for his help, but he did not want to “get involved in that!”
She got a lawyer, but couldn’t pay him. His lawyer was paid by his well-off brother. She asked some people to help her. She asked someone to “take him out of the picture”….”give him a warning”….but they looked at her like she was crazy. She didn’t feel crazy, she felt fear. She called an abuse shelter, but they didn’t take women unless “they were currently being beaten.”
She called social services to get help. She was getting an interview to tell her story! Her drunken mother called the social worker and told them horrible stories. “She was only trying to help!” The social worker cancelled her appointment.
The girl, becoming a woman, felt like a helpless child and cried and cried. She was fired from her job. She would get strange phone calls in the night…breathing…listening….waiting. They went to court again. It was the last time.
“If you don’t stop coming in here, and straighten out your own issues, we will make your child a ward of the state!” He would get her! He would get her! He would get her!
There was no help, no job, no place to live….she moved into a slum apartment building, with a slum landlord, and slum drug-dealers. Someone was shot in front of her house. The girl who was now a woman, felt fear and she cried and cried. The little girl was four now.
She had a new boyfriend and decided to get married….could he protect them?…would he protect them?. They would have more money and she could work again. She survived.
He didn’t protect them and he didn’t help. He didn’t do anything. The woman had another little girl. Now there were sisters..she taught them to love each other…she taught them to be careful…very, very careful…they had a code word for strangers..it was banana. She watched and waited and prayed every day. Take care of my baby. Please take care of my baby. They moved away and she hoped it would be too far for him to travel, that he would give up. It wasn’t and he didn’t, and when she was 12 the little girl asked to not see her father any more. The woman, could finally breathe just a small breath at a time. Small breaths…small breaths…small breaths. Two years passed by and they had not seen the monster. The girl, now 14, had been going to therapy for some time. She was “better” now. The woman got a divorce from the man who didn’t protect them. He did even less and still didn’t protect them. When she asked him to check on the children when she went to school at night, he said he would, but didn’t. The girl, now 15, and her sister, now 11 stayed home alone. The girl, now 15, had her first boyfriend.
As sometimes happens in divorce and otherwise….the children were confused, upset, and sad. They pointed fingers. “Tag!, You’re It!” As sometimes happens in divorce and otherwise, the woman was depressed and would sometimes stay in bed, she had trouble managing money and paying for their needs. They survived. She didn’t know how to teach them to live.
The little girl, now a woman, married her high school sweetheart when she was just twenty, she had a beautiful baby girl, and was a good mother. The woman did not know how unhappy her daughter was. She did not know that the daughter was drinking or feeling depressed or that she was having difficulty.
The little girl, who was now a woman was drinking away her memories. The little girl drank too much and too often. The little girl was suffering and trying to do everything right, but didn’t have the support she needed. Things happened that shouldn’t have, and the little girl’s family came apart at the seams. The sister went one way, the girl went another, the mother went this way, and the little girl’s little girl went to live away.
The woman cried. She cried until she had no more tears.
The little girl came to the woman and told her she remembers, she remembers what her father did to her. The little girl, who was now a woman cried and was very frightened. She didn’t know what to do.
The mother cried, but it didn’t help anything. The little girl, who was now a woman drank, but it didn’t help anything.
The little girl, who was now a woman hated her mother……why did you let that happen to me?
The woman, who was no longer young, or a little girl tried to explain all that she did to keep her safe, but it didn’t help anything. The woman knew it was her fault too.
They yelled and swore and left each other, and now the little girl is gone, the little girl’s little girl is gone, and the woman stands alone.