Sunday, January 23, 2011

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

    Dad has been dead for years.  And I still want to scream at my father and tell him to lighten up on me!  I want him to wake up long enough to see just how much I can do at one time!  I have gone so far above and beyond everything he said I would do!  I have raised my siblings!  I have built a home!  I have made a good career for myself and do a pretty good job at it most of the time.  I have a wonderful partner that I have spent the last 14 years with.  I do so many things on any given day that would make his head spin and he's not even around to see it!  How many things do I do in a given day just because Daddy said I had fallen from Grace and would never make it?  I guess I should thank him!  Because of him, I am a better person on so many levels. 
     But for some jacked up reason, there are days when I can't get that through to my heart!  I can't own who I have become.  I can't see it for more than a moment at a time.  I'm too busy waiting to tell my story!   If I tell you just one more time will it get better?  Will I quit waiting to be validated by my Dad?  Will I quit worrying that every guy in my life must think of me just like Daddy did?  I don't know............
     So, I sit here at 1:00am in the morning journaling because I can't sleep.  All the memories come rushing back. . . .all because of trigger.  Here it is:
       Growing up has a way of changing a person’s outlook on life and mine was changing fast.  I was in my eleventh grade year of school.  By this time in my life I had convinced myself that life was going my way.  It was the only way I could make sense of it all.  It was the only way I could cope.  I had a nice little group of friends who didn’t party with “the rough crowd” but knew how to go out and have some good clean fun.  My friends were my new outlet.  As long as I gave my Mom a time when I would be home and didn’t stay out past my curfew and as long as she knew where I was going, she let me go and have fun with my friends.
    I was seventeen.  I had a car then, “by the grace of God” and a tender moment with my Dad, I had talked him into letting me pay for it with my money from my part time job.  I felt like a bird out of a cage, free at last!  My friends and I would cruise the local strip mall and mingle with other kids our age from school.  Of course I was wearing pants and a little make-up so I was finally beginning to “look normal”.
    One Saturday afternoon a brown Chevette pulled into the driveway of our home while I was washing my car.  I didn’t think much about it at first because my dad knew a lot of people.  I figured this was just another lost soul looking for salvation the way my Dad shared it.  A tall, skinny man stepped from the tiny car looking as if he had driven from afar and had to unfold himself from the small structure to stand on solid ground.  He asked if my dad was home.
    I replied to him, “No he’s not.  My mother is, do you want to speak with her?”
    “No”, he said. “When do you think your dad will be home?”
    “I’m not real sure.  He should be home around 9:30 or 10:00pm.”
    The man folded himself back into the car and pulled away from the driveway.  I saw a woman and another person inside.  I couldn’t figure out why I felt this feeling of dread.  It was as if I had just tied a knot in my stomach.  I began to make up stories in my mind.  I search the far corner of somewhere deep inside trying to figure out what this man wanted with my dad.  Was someone in trouble?  Was this man merely seeking salvation?  Was he just checking out the place so he could come back and kill us after dark?  I immediately started to rethink my plans for the evening.  I would go cruise with my friends and return home early.  I would let my mother know so that she would be aware that strangers may return to our home and she could be on guard.  The more I made up stories, the more outrageous they became.  Finally my mother told me to go and have fun.  She said those people probably were needing Dad’s help with something since that was normal in our neighborhood.  People would call on my Dad often because they knew he had a direct line with God and could usually help make sense of their sad lives.
       No angel in heaven and no demon in hell could have prepared me for what I would return home to.  When I arrived home around 10:00pm, there sat the brown Chevette in the driveway.  I walked into the house thinking I would slip into my room unnoticed and later peek into the living room and check out our guests.  But as fate would have it, my mother met me at the door.  She was shaking like someone had died and she had witnessed their murder.  Immediately, she took me into my room and started a series of questions that I never expected to have to answer.  I still had no clue who our mystery guests were.

      “Has D. ever touched you in a way he shouldn’t have?”
        My mind raced.  Inside I was thinking, ‘wait a minute.  This man is one of the trustees/deacons in our church.  Why would my mother question his reputation of high standards?’  But my stomach was already betraying me.  I was getting sick on my stomach.  I was beginning to shake like Jell-O in the hands of an angry cook.  I know my face must have turned deep red or maybe gray.  How in the world was I going to get through this without lying? 

That was it.  I was going to have to lie.  I couldn’t tell the truth and I sure couldn’t face it in front of my parents or any other soul in our church.
    “Mother, why in the world are you asking me this when you know good and well he is one of Dad’s best friends and he goes to church every Sunday with his family?”

    “S., you better answer me honestly!  It is important that I know the truth!”
    “Okay.  What I going on, Mother?  And why are you shaking so bad?”
    “D.’s ex-wife and her husband are here with D.’s daughter and she has told them that David has been molesting her since she was six years old.”
    My stomach churned violently and I thought I would lose my grip with reality for a moment.  I stumbled for words.  “What has that got to do with me”
I asked as my heart was sinking and my blood began to clabber.
    “S., sit down and let’s talk.  Honey, D. has been having his way with R. ever since she was ten or eleven years old.”
    What?  My baby sister?  That perverted monster!  And his own daughter, too?  This man must be possessed by the devil!  Now my blood began to boil and race through my veins!  My head pounded!  I could hear my every heart beat.  How could anyone have sex with his own child and then move on to my sister? 
    Wait!  I couldn’t think straight!  My heart was turning flips.  My stomach was sour!  I thought I would pass out!  I immediately wanted to go take a shower and scrub my skin from head to toe.
    I suddenly realized that my mother was staring straight through me.  Was she reading my mind?  I knew I had to say something because she was catching on quick.
    “Well, has he touched you or not?”
    I swallowed the lump in my throat.  “Not a lot, Mama.”
    “Oh, dear God, “ she exclaimed!
    “Mom, I’m okay, really!”

    Who was I trying to convince?  All I could do was tell her that I would be fine and nothing was wrong with me.  My mother was too fragile.  She couldn’t handle the truth!  It would kill her to know that not one but both of her daughters were soiled, used goods because of some jerk that was supposed to be my dad’s best friend.  I had heard her say too many times how things had almost killed her and by God I wasn’t going to participate in her death over this!
    Before I could pull myself together, everyone had come to the bedroom door and told us it was time to go.  Where were we going?  What was happening?  I felt myself floating above my body.  This was familiar.  It was an escape.  I had learned this movement all too well before now.
    Still I questioned, “where are we going this late at night, mama?”
    “To the court house ”  she said through tears.
    “What?  Are they open this late?”
    “No honey but the jail is.”
    Oh dear God in heaven!  I should have kept my mouth shut!  Now I am surely going to die at a young age and Mama and Daddy will never forget this night!
    We must have pulled into the parking lot of that gray cement building 45 minutes later.  But it seemed as if I just blinked my eyes and there we were.  I was slipping back into my body and boy was it reeling from what I was taking in.
     I kept finding myself pulling my arms around my chest as if to hug and protect the me that was left.  I kept exiting and re-entering my body as if I had an electrical shortage and couldn’t control myself.  The next thing I remembered, a man entered the room and made us fill out a statement about what we remembered D. doing to us.
    ‘Oh, dear God,’ I thought, ‘please deliver me from this!’  My mind raced back and forth trying to think of the smallest piece of evidence I could come up with.  I felt D.’s rugged breath on my neck, whispering of my demise if my Dad or anyone else found out about “our secret”.
     “There now, it’s just a bad dream”, I told myself.  I will wake up and everything will be normal.  But I didn’t wake up and every time I slipped back into my body, I just wanted to scrub the slim from my skin.
    A sheriff’s deputy was standing right next to us telling my dad about how he would blow the back of any man’s head off if he caught a man raping someone.  He said he would tell the bastard to go ahead and finish and make it good because they are getting ready to die and go straight to hell.  The he said he would pull the trigger.
    I had checked out completely by this point.  My mind was racing back in time to capture every scene of every crime, D. had committed with me.  I was floating above my body once again.  This time I was back in the little space watching my body as someone stole my very soul.

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