Timeline: Feelings of a Grown Child
I thank God for time. Take your fist and hit the open palm of your other hand. If you only have one hand, take a softball or a baseball and toss it into the air catching it in your bare palm. The smacking sound is undeniably unforgettable. Now imagine being a child listening to your mom’s cries from her bedroom as your stepfather beat her. Imagine hearing the ferocious screams and pleas of “NO, NO!” as the ball hits the palm and being too young to do anything about it at all.
Imagine standing outside their bedroom door and hearing the furniture being pushed around and not knowing what was happening. Loud booms surging from the walls as she was tossed from one side of the room to the other. I was five. This wasn’t the first time.
He was a U.S. Army Drill Sergeant and a mean one at that. Not too long before that I was taken away from my mother for a few months. He had found out that I picked through the home security tape on my bedroom window and whipped me good. In fact, he let me have it so good that a teacher who saw my bruises questioned me about my home life and possible abuse. Not long after that I wasn’t living with my family anymore (but that’s another chapter).
Standing outside my parent’s bedroom door that day changed me for life. Seeing my mother’s face bruised from punches and whatever else happened in that room was hard to fully realize at that time. After years of growth and seeing a lot of life (and movies) I now know what those “softball catching” sounds were coming from that room.
At that age what do you do? I was frantically trying to figure that out. One thing I did know was my grandmother’s phone number (but she lived in New York while all of this played out in Colorado and Oklahoma). I called her crying and asking her to do something to get him to quit beating up my mother. She could do nothing but try to comfort a scared boy from half a world away.
Today I cry. Time has scarred me indelibly. I remember joining the service when I was old enough and still wanting to cling to my only semblance of a father figure, my stepfather, only to be cut off at the knees by him again. The horrible spousal abuse memories that I have let time numb are still alive in me. Even now at the age of 38 I still dream vividly of fighting my step dad for what he did to my mother and I.
I can almost feel my fists contact his body and a portion of pleasure overwhelms me if not for vindications sake alone. Though this was my youth, time has taught me what is morally right and what is wrong. I have never struck any women I have dated or married. I thank God that since I had to go through it, I emerged on other end a whole person. A person devoted to making sure those behaviors are left in the grave of abusers everywhere. A person wholly devoted to educating my children about abuse and my enduring love for them and their future.
Yes, time is a good thing and I have lived just long enough to realize how fortunate I truly am. This, I believe!
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