Truth Serum for My Father
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth Serum.”
My heart was broken by my father. My memories about my father had always been wonderful. He was loving, kind, funny, and gentle. I would remember how gentle he was when removing splinters from my hands. Although not one for physical affection, the look in his eyes when he looked at me was as good as any hug. We laughed together often and usually it was at each other and ourselves. Much time was spent together bicycle riding through the neighborhood and playing badminton in the back yard. Other special times together including art lessons using the John Gnagy Learn to Draw Kit. Dad would also make his delicious ice cream shakes and sodas for me on hot summer days. Oh, how I loved and adored my father.
But then, in my thirties, the flashbacks began. First, they were about the newspaper boy and his friend who had sexually assaulted me repeatedly on my way home alone from school. Then, they were about my father. How I had finally told him despite their insistence that no one would believe me or else would blame me. The attacks by the boys stopped after I told my father. But, the flashbacks were not done. They continued. Now, I would climb the stairs into the attic when I would feel myself having that strange trance feeling that would precede the flashbacks. And then I saw the unthinkable. My father had sexually abused me. And threatened me into silence. My sweet, wonderful father was a part-time monster. I fought so hard to not believe these flashbacks. How could the man who so gently removed my splinters defile me? My father loved me, how could this be? After several months of these returning memories I finally confronted my father over the phone. He not only denied everything, but called me a lying slut. His voice in that phone call was not that of the good father, but that of the bad, threatening father. If I had had any doubts they were extinguished now.
We have never spoke or seen each other since. I have never fully mourned my loss of him. I have been struggling just to survive and function each day and raise my son. But I have cried this morning as I have written this. The prompt for today was “who would you give truth serum to?” My answer would be to my father. And its not to get him to admit to the abuse. I don’t need that. What I want to ask him is “Are you sorry you abused me?” and “Do you miss me?” I want to know that he has remorse. That all my love was not completely misplaced. Or, maybe that the love I perceived was not all a lie, but was real. I know the abuse was real, but what about the love?
A Perfect Afternoon
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singin’ in the Rain.”
The rain has been persistent all day. It’s been dreary inside and out this morning, but I have finished all the chores and it is only one o’ clock. I turn on the lamp by my overstuffed reading chair now. It casts light on the window panes behind it. The rain is trickling down them. A whole afternoon to myself. Free to do anything I want. I start by putting a record of Debussy’s music on the stereo. The Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun fills the room that is lined with books. Then, to the fireplace. Kneeling down on the hearth, I place a log and some kindling inside. After opening the damper, I light the kindling and watch the bright flames flicker. My cheeks redden and warm from the heat. The room has transformed from dreary to cozy. The light from the fire glows in the cut glass of the decanters on an old table. “What a good idea.” I think and pour myself a sherry. Grabbing my latest mystery novel, I sink into the chair and sip the sweet wine. Dinah, my tortoise shell cat, pads into the room and throws herself down on the braided rug in front of the fireplace. I sit, well content, and listen to the music. After the last piece on the album has played, the silence and the sounds of the rain are all I want. And, I have taken the precaution of taking the phone off the hook. Neither the cat, nor I, will be disturbed on this fine, rainy afternoon.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Imaginary Friend.”
My imaginary friend refused to grow up. She is still five years old. She is still trying to have the childhood she never had. Severely abused, but safe now, she wants a life of bright colors and laughter. Tears of relief are okay too. Her name is simply Little One. She plays with her own dolls that are no longer taken from her. They have tea parties with sugared tea and many smiles. Watercolors, her own watercolors, are taped upon every wall. These pictures that she has painted of her dolls, stuffed animals and her new Mom adorn the room. I am her Mom and I love Little One with all my heart. I do my best to try to make up for her years of sadness and hurt. She is sad less and less and even dances sometimes. Can you see her spinning about with her dress twirling as she laughs?
Her imaginary room has a bay window with long, soft curtains that move in the breeze from the open window. Sitting there, Little One basks in the feeling of being safe. Safe to be. Safe to be little.
Image from Bing
Momma was a Witch
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Wicked Witch.”
I’ve been blogging on lighter notes lately rather than darker ones. I’d like to keep it that way. But today’s prompt moved me and it is difficult to write lightly about evil. I have come face to face with evil in my life and have written about it in older posts (see Parts 1 – 9, Archives: July).
My mother, with each passing year, looked more and more like a witch. In her youth, she was a beauty with porcelain skin, luminous eyes, rose colored lips and thick brunette hair. In black and white photos she looked like an angel. Unlike Dorian Gray (in Oscar Wilde’s book) her sick nature transformed her face from beautiful to ugly during her lifetime. By the time she reached sixty she looked exactly like the the comic drawings of Maxine but more witch-like. She was bug-eyed and her skin craggy with a twisted mouth.
I do her no disservice here. She aspired to be a witch. She didn’t drive and would offer to take you places on her broom. She cackled rather than laughed. She liked to be considered scary — especially to children. She reveled in bitter and ugly words and talk. She spoke hatefully of nearly everyone. Our home was her cauldron where she brewed wicked concoctions of all types of abuse. And she was able to cast spells. Her most magnificent one was to make our family look normal to the neighbors. We were made to look like the poster-family of middle class America. Our yard was beautifully manicured and lush with flowers. We would be seen going to church every Sunday. My sister and I had the nicest manners. My parents were seen as friendly and down to earth, sincere people. My mother appeared as a good mother. It was a glamour she cast well. I even believed it at times — when we were outside and she was being charming to the neighbors. I wanted to live in that reality and did while I was playing at my neighborhood friend’s house. But eventually the street lights came on and it was time to go home.
Her powers diminished as she grew older. My sister and I left home. She grew miserable having no one to torture. And she eventually died in a nursing home. I always wonder which momma did the nurses see — the good momma or the momma that was a witch?
Journaling by Hand
I write everyday in a journal. In it I hand write my daily thoughts, feelings and dreams. There is something therapeutic about taking pen to paper. Your emotions flow out in the ink. I write so that I can think clearly. I write so that my actions and choices are not mere reactions to life and people. Instead, I can live with premeditation and make choices about how I will react. My thinking can get all muddled in an unruly pile. I take each thought from the pile and put it on paper and begin to see what I really think or feel. More often than not I can see solutions where before there were only problems. Or if I am ruminating endlessly on some incident or interaction that is bothering me, I write it out. It gets that hamster off the wheel! Then, I can get on with my life. Don’t know what’s bothering you? Start writing and you’ll be illuminated. You think maybe the people in your life are not listening to you well? Tell it to paper. It is endlessly patient. Need to just complain? You won’t bore anyone and can kvetch till your pen runs dry. I try to encourage everyone I know to journal. Try it, you’ll like it.
A Conversation with my 14 Year-Old Self
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From You to You.”
I’ve got good news and bad news for you kiddo. Pimples aren’t forever is the good news. Tough times will continue but the abuse will end. You will cut the ties with your awful parents. The other good news is that you get to have a great kid. Just the one, but he’s enough. That’s right — a son. He is funny and smart and loving and you have all kinds of joys raising him. Your husband? Oh… well…you’ve had two so far. You’re not exactly lucky in love. Sorry about that. But you have good friends — some you even know right now! No, I’m not telling who, I want it to be a surprise. Your sister and you are still close and she has a daughter who grows up to be a published poet. Yeah, really. You? You become a reading tutor and also teach in preschools. You adore children and love your work. All that playing school years ago becomes your passion. When do the pimples go away? Ha! – in a couple of years. But you get to have some nice boyfriends with pimples so its okay. No, you don’t marry any of your junior high or high-school sweethearts. No, you never date Jimmy B. who you roped and kissed in kindergarten. You are boy-crazy, aren’t you?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Always Something There to Remind Me.”
I saw the wind blow white dandelion fluff today
and remembered you.
Running, prancing, and patrolling your yard —
Long ears flapping, plumed tail flowing.
Oh, how I miss your freckled face —
Your kind brown eyes
and velvet nose.
There will never be another dog just like you.
I sure miss a friend like Hoo.