A moment. An insecurity. Something about myself that no one knows and for good reason. My mind raced as the trees and houses passed by. The window on the car door slightly fogged. My eyes bounced from tree to fence to mailbox, attempting to think. I had about 20 minutes left before I had to come up with something, but what? Something terrible that I could never tell anyone with my voice that feels so weak, so strained. I let out a sigh as my thoughts collapsed on top of eachother. I see that my sigh left a circular fog on the window. My fingertip edged to make two vertical lines and an arc facing down, a sad face. A spark ignited, turning on my cobweb infested head. I erased the sad face with the sleeve of my jacket, leaving it with a slight smudge. I then fogged the window again, this time making two vertical lines and an arc facing up, a happy face.
Not even halfway done writing and the car pulled up to the building. We hurried inside the gym before practice. Everybody else was still finishing writing too. Glad I wasn’t the only one. I sat down and continued to write as fast as I could. I finished mine just in the nick of time.
We sat in a circle, my coach making the top. She had everyone's papers in a stack.
“Remember this is not a place of judgement. This is a safe place to let things out. I really wanted to make this a safe place for all of you to come to. Don’t worry, it is anonymous.”
I gave a slight smile, but could feel the anxiety spreading through my chest like flies upon a dead body. She spoke with a soft voice as she began to read from the stack. The anticipation for mine to be read felt like bricks on my chest. About halfway through the stack she lifted a paper and I could see my scribbled handwriting on the back. As I listened to my own words being read from her mouth, I closed my eyes in remission of that horrid night.
Laying on my side facing my room instead of the window. Trying to sleep, but I had no such luck. The yelling was too loud. They would fight nearly every night; this went on for a while. Then all of the sudden the house was quiet, other then the cricket that chirped outside my window.
At first I thought that they settled it and went to bed, but I had a bad feeling. My mother's scream pierced through the silence. My eyes went wide and my heart pounded harder than hail on a rooftop. I jumped out of my bed, ran out of my room, and into the living room. It was empty. I stopped for a moment. My breath caught in my throat.
My mom spoke from the next room in a strained voice, “Help me”
I ran into her room with such terror to see him holding her hands behind her back and her head against the counter. I stood outside of the bathroom next to their room. I entered slowly barely remembering how to walk. My mother looked at me through tears.
“See, even my own daughter came to save me.”, she quipped. He pressed her down against the counter harder and she let out a yelp. Tears formed down my cheeks. So many words I could say, but I could only manage three.
“Don’t hurt her.” He looked at me with sharp eyes.
“This is none of your concern.” He seemed so angry, yet so lifeless.
“Don’t hurt her!”, this time I yelled. He didn’t move. All I could hear was my mothers cries.
“Don’t hurt her!”, I screamed. He pushed her toward me. I caught her before she fell. I could hear his stomps from behind us. My mother was behind me. When I turned around I saw him push her into the living room chair, taking it down with her. The yelling started again.
“Give me my pills!”, he screamed.
“Give me my purse!”, she screamed back. I watched the screaming match, as my twelve year old body shook with the most writhing fear I had ever felt. Finally they exchanged items. Then he went to their room for the night. I asked my mother if she was okay. She said not to worry about it and go to bed. I didn’t sleep that night, not even a wink.
I opened my eyes as my coach read the last few sentences.
“About a year later he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The doctors said that his blood pressure could have been off the chart levels for years. Explaining his past behavior. That night happened two years ago. I haven’t told anyone about it until now.” I tried to hide the tears within such heavy silence coming from my teammates.
“Anyone have anything to say?” Everyone stayed silent, some shook their heads. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t know what to say either.
“If you are dealing with abuse please tell someone. I am so glad that this person was able to tell us this experience. Always find someone to talk to, because so many people care and never think the opposite.”
That day made me feel so loved. So cared for. It felt so good to get out after two years. I made such wondrous connections with my teammates and my coach. It felt like they were my family and I am so grateful for them to this day. Nobody deserves such trauma and neither should you. If you are ever dealing with something similar to what I dealt with or something completely different, it will always make you feel better if you tell someone. So many people are there for you even if it feels like you are alone. Thank you.