Sunday, January 22, 2012

In the Office

I am 14 years old, a high school freshman. I am a dark wanderer. I am so painfully shy that being in the halls during class change is too brutally painful. I am always late for class, but I must look so ratty and strange, hiding behind my hair, matted and greasy, that teachers don't hassle me. They have never even heard my voice. I don't have one.

That day I am called to the front office. There is a lull in the library as I make my way out from the back cubicles. This is one of the most painful journeys I have ever made, every step feels awkward, as though everyone has turned to look at me and is measuring my every move. My hair guards my panicked face. My hair is all I have. I am otherwise naked.

The Office? I am not aware that anyone even knows I exist. I am lost in thought- the usual quandaries- am I in trouble? Did some one see me smoking in the bathroom?

I see him and I freeze. A sheet of heatcuts through me, my breath catches. He looks insane through his upstanding citizen smile. Only I can see right through it. I search myself for what I could have done that would warrant a visit to the school. What could it be that can't wait for a cigarette ground into my inner thigh later? Or perhaps a naked stint in the basement in the pitch dark with no food or water for a day?

He turns back to the front desk woman and asks if there is an empty room for him to meet with his daughter. There happens to be the principles office. He beelines and I follow, as I am alway and forever his puppet. I enter the room and he closes the door with measure- slowly, as if it should never open again. He closes the blinds, shuffles a few things around on the desk and then asks me who the fuck I think I am? I gasp as though he has just sucker punched me to the gut. I am lost- I have no answer and for that I will pay. This is beyond any invisible past "offenses" and I have not got a leg up in the least. He tells me that I have always tried to get in between him and my mother. I am a whore who is constantly making her jealous and suspicious with my slutty advances and scanty clothing. She has strange ideas after reading my diary that he has done something that would not look good to others and she wants him to stay in another room and go to therapy. For this, he says, he will have to kill me. I open my mouth to speak, remembering the previous day when my mother held my journal while sitting on my bed. She had promised not to tell. She had agreed to put it back under the mattress and pretend she had never seen it. I was sure that she would not renege for her own selfish sake. I want to tell him that I lied in my journal, that I am a bad person and that I will make it right, but he is upon me- his cold hand a snake around my throat, the backs of my legs pressing against the desk, my feet slipping. My lies, he tells me, are killing his marriage and so my lies will have to die with me. He is bellowing now, all composure lost. He smells of tobacco and Pepsi- his earthly crutches. I have never heard him raise his voice. He has always been too good at his game to ever have to do anything but look at me- his silent threats enough to speak loud and clear.

A knock comes to the door. A voice asks if everything is okay?  Every one is always so kind in these  situations, as though politenesses will fix anything and turning a blind eye means nothing ever happened. He releases me, but keeps his finger pointed at my forehead- a cocked gun. He tells me not to come home tonight. Don't ever come home.  He backs away from me, his eyes locked on my face, after neatly arranging my hair around my neck. He seems to think I look like my usual self enough to make his exit with collected and charming thanks to the front desk people. I emerge from the office, hoping to skirt around desks and chairs undetected as usual, but I am cornered. They want to know if everything is "really"okay. A simple yes is all it takes in the early 1980s and all is dropped. No one wants any trouble you know. I am free to return to the library.


  1. i told you this before in a message, but dealing with my abuse, i reached out to other people at school. i actually endured some bullying from others for being "weird". it was as if my classmates were oblivious to my home life and my family was oblivious to my school life.

  2. Hi,

    I was painfully shy as well, so I could relate to the struggle of daily interactions. I'm so sorry that you didn't have someone on your side to stand up for you against him. Very brave of you in your sharing. Good and healing thoughts to you.