Thursday, January 16, 2014

mounting pressure and pain

9/1/2002

daniel and john are playing with my rhythmic gymnastics ribbons. daniel is whipping the ribbon... it sounds like dad's belt. that damn snapping sound they make when they want to scare the hell out of you. that 'someone's getting a beating' sound that scared the hell out of everyone in the house. half the time no one but dad knew who the target was. we all knew if mum had raised her voice at us that day, we had a chance to be the first one dad got to when he got home. we joke about the kids scattering like rats when the lights come on, when dad would make that sound with the belt. not a very funny joke, though people will laugh to cover how ugly the memory is.

the new dining room table we got after the night dad threw his chair across the living room and it smashed against the balcony, which later had to be repaired. watching people try to keep eating thru tears, pretending that dad's roaring voice wasn't ripping their hearts in two.

sitting downstairs, watching tv and pretending that we could hear the sound over the yelling from upstairs.

years later i remember missing that house so much. how can i have convinced myself i was happier there? happier than what? it did get worse. maybe not as far as dad's beatings because after we moved to alabama, he would be overseas for months at a time. then it was only mum, randy and rod we had to be afraid of. but it got worse every time we moved.

only two short years in alabama ripped what tiny shred of innocence left, right out from us. in those years we began the transition from cute little girl to the sullen child whose smile never quite reached her eyes. the month on the road to canada that killed the last shred of adoration i had for my daddy, my hero. from the second night after we hurt our foot, to pulling onto our road back home, where we laughed because our neighbors had rearranged the house numbers while we were gone, there is nothing. not a spark. not a fragment of memory.

stacy, amber, cameo, i know you're carrying this. you don't have to carry it by yourselves. you don't have to keep the secrets anymore. you don't have to hide.