Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mojo

I am 11 years old.  My mother has come home with news that a new outlet store has opened that carries bins of bras with lots of small sizes.  She says she will take me to get my first bra after school one day this week. It is two days before Christmas and there is a sale. This comes as a surprise to me.  I don't have breasts- not even small bumps.  Her face registers disgust when she says I need to cover up- I look inappropriate. 


As soon as my mother leaves for work the next day, my step father calls the school to excuse me for the day.  He tells me we are going shopping for bras and underwear.  He has raised me and only he knows me best and knows what I will need.  I don't have many things, so I am excited that I am going to have something new.  Before we go, he has me take my shirt off to feel my chest to be sure that he knows what size I will need. I am old enough now to know that this is perverse. I feel fortunate that he doesn't touch me as much any more and he doesn't make me touch him as often either.  He says I am becoming ugly because I am growing into a woman.


In the store I am shy.  I am not used to being in public much and especially to look at underwear.  When I look around and see only women, I realize that we are not the average customers and I want to leave.  People are staring at my step father. He doesn't talk much to people, but today he has a lot to say about being a single dad raising his daughter on his own.  I know why he is lying, but at least it eases the humiliation for me as we paw through bins of lacy garments. We leave wth a bag full of lacy undergarments.


At home he has me do a show of the items in pairs he has laid out for me.  When I am  alone, while he waits in his office next to my bedroom, I am seeing myself anew. I am not a little kid anymore and I am not a full-grown woman either. What am I, I wonder?  The underclothes make me feel less like the wretch that I have come to know and for once, I feel something akin to self-acceptance. The spell is broken when he calls me to him. I will soon feel the dirt under my skin again that never comes clean.


I feel more naked than ever as I present myself to him.  He sits behind his desk in supreme judgment with his hands triangulated under his chin.  He says nothing and time and again he orders me to try on the next set.  Each time I come back he is more irritable. He erupts from his seat and hurries to my room, my arm in his strapping grip. He clears my bed of all of the new purchases and they are startled birds as they fly through the air and land strewn over my dresser and floor.  He forcable sits me on my bed and orders me to stay there. He gropes at my bra, trying to rip it from me with nonsensical hands that cannot maneuver this garment that is made to stand strong. He slaps my face and kicks at me before he flees the room in defeat.  I am left in a mixed state of confusion and fear- glazed with drifting stupor.  By now, I have learned to turn away any sensation that is uncomfortable. This takes me longer than ususal becasue we are not doing our usual dance and I can see that he is becoming irate with whatever he is grapling with in his methodical world. Something is terribly out of order.  I know this becasue he leaves me there all day while he paces the hallway, ruminating and mumbling about how things are changing, things are changing, how can this be? Have to figure something out.


In these two days before Christmas, he has not come near me.  He spends all of his time in his office. At the dinner table he is quick with his fork. In the silence that he commands he makes the only noise that occupies all of our ears as his jaw grinds and cracks grotesquely.  I feel his mood looming, but my mood is unaltered by the bliss that the last two days have afforded me.  I have had no chores and have not had to try to squeeze into the nighty I have worn for so long before going to work on him.


On Christmas morning he is strangely unconcerned. He does the perfunctory things that one does on this day- smiles as my brother and I peer into our stockings and open the few gifts that are under the tree.  He perks up as the last of the wrapping is attended to and announces that he has one more gift for me.  It must be special if he has waited and is making such a big deal out of it.  I can't help but feel  excited.  I neatly unwrap the box and hand the paper to my mother who likes to save it for next year.  I am sure to be careful not to leave any creases, as I know this will earn me a neck-jerking swat upside the head. Anything that might displease my mother is immediately met by his hand. 


All eyes are on me.  I have made it through the tedium of unwrapping and opening the box. Inside lies a perfectly folded camisole and panty set.  The energy that was part of this room dies a measured and excruciating death.  My face is hot crimson flesh.  Everyone- my brother, my mother, is so silent that I am sure they can hear my heart empty of blood as it fills my face. Time is a tortoise crossing the road- the ticking of the clock in the kitchen measuring its torturous passing. There is just nothing to say and we are all floating in that awkward place that can only come of such deviance. 


Now, my mother is looking at me murderously.  My brother is boring a hole in the floor with his unblinking eyes.  My step father breaks the silence with a cheerful order for me to say something as he hands the camera to my mother.  He is back now and he is victorious.  He has found a way to make me his again, by letting everyone know who is in control.  He fills himself with having gotten away with this.  No one ever says a word after I thank him and we are all excused to wash up before breakfast.



5 comments:

  1. that smug smile. he is so proud of himself. disgusting.

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  2. his proud, smug smile disgusts me.

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  3. Yep, this one really stands out in my mind. Totally weird.

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  4. It's the one time that he flaunted what he does to you in front of your mother and brother. Makes perfect sense to me why this one would stand out. This was the time he announced with no shame that you were his.

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  5. And he got his mojo back! This kind of power got him off more than anything.

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