Saturday, January 21, 2012

Prow and Ice

I am seven years old. It must be a perfectly freezing day. I say perfect because I am saved by a stable thirty degrees. I stand under the eve of the two-hundred-year-old house I am being raised in. I am in my "night gown"- a shear peach-coloured shift that is a Christmas gift from my step father. It is lingerie, no two ways around it. He must have felt his evil prow to its fullest on Christmas morning when not a soul said a word upon my opening that gift and being made to try it on for all to see. Having learned how to make my body do commands without my mind being present and active, this was just another chore- something that I knew intellectually was bizarre, but automatically performed flawlessly. I also knew that not following commands was more dangerous than just getting things over with. I had cigarette burns to prove that. And now, as I stand under the eve, I am being schooled again. There are times when he has to prove his almighty power just for the hell of it, just to make sure that I know a surprise attack can, at any time, be launched. Be afraid- always and very.

The ice is an armory of a hundred spears. There is a menacing shifting of matter overhead. He has always told me never to play under the eves- ice-melts can kill. He always says that an icicle would be a perfect murder weapon.

I am quaking in my bare feet. I am a very small child. I don't eat much. I am ordered not to shiver. I take a deep breath. I am used to controlling my body against all odds. He tells me I will stand under that eve for twenty minutes. I will look him in the eye for the entire time. It will be a reminder that he is in control. He is creative. He can alter my brain with fear so unmitigated that I will gladly be his robot, his minion, his child wife. He is a crazy artist with a vision and I am his muse.

It was a particularly explosive climax that sullied my face an hour earlier that has made him like this. He was pleased at the time, but upon looking down at my face, he was no longer Dr. Jekyll.  Mr Hyde is now present.  He always plays games like this after. Experience hails the age old and cliche, "Don't tell a soul, or I will kill you".  That goes without saying as ice releases it's tears upon my nighty, my skin mottles and raises bumps in the cold. The sun is bittersweet in its attempt to warm me.  It's loving attempts may very well kill me.

A massive ice chunk gives way and crashes like a crystal chandelier six feet away from me.  It is impressive and as he shifts his eyes to take in the sparkling mass, I shuffle backwards trying to get closer to the house. I see how close I need to be in order to not be under the next beautiful disaster. I am afforded this insolence only because he doesn't see me. He is getting bored and realizing the time. My mother will be home from school shortly. He yells at me to get my ass in the house, what am I thinking standing out here in the cold? Go clean my face and the rest of the mess I have made at the foot of the bed that he shares with my mother. After that, I can put on snow pants and shovel the ice away so that my mother can park her car. There is no mention about how this is our little secret. I know that. I have known for four years now and I know I will harbor many more secrets in the years to come.


  1. How did you prevent yourself from killing him in his sleep? How did you survive? I don't know if I would have been able to.:(

  2. Good question. I am afraid I have the answer, but the psychology behind it is hard to explain. I will try.

    It never occurred to me until I snapped pretty badly when I was about 16, that anything he was doing was abnormal! I knew nothing else and was kept fairly isolated. I had moments to myself by the pond in the backyard that felt like what people described as happiness. School had me pretty confused though because people laughed and smiled and I did not. I was surviving and that means all systems except you conscious brain kick into over-drive. I was not living or thinking like a "normal" child. To this day , one could say that I have permanent brain damage because of that. I could not function without my meds.

    So, I held no anger, because I was not allowed to emote and because I didn't know to be angry.

    I don't know why some people survive and thrive as opposed to loosing it forever- never to return. This question is something I ponder a lot and tie into my spiritual beliefs. I guess I got lucky and had a temperament underneath it al that allowed for resiliency.

    It was shortly after I began to realize just how screwed up things were that I actually did try to kill him! I will write a story about that.

    Mind if I re-post these Q's on the "Questions?" page?