Tuesday, November 17, 2009

James

One of my first recollections of someone near; someone who loved me was in a closet.

It's hot outside. It is summer and I have no school. My mother said that I went on vacation. I didn't.

It is musty and stuffy; a single coat hanger is my toy. It is dark except for the crack at the bottom of the door. That crack is my lifeline. It tells me when I am alone; it tells me when it is night; it tells me when someone is coming; when feet darken that crack, it's not a good thing.

I trace the texture on the wall with my small, dirty fingers. In the beginning, the texture is just that; texture. After three dark cracks of night the texture begins to come alive. I find an elephant, a giraffe, a balloon, a heart. I close my eyes and they dance beneath my eyelids.

The crack is darkened by two feet. Am I getting out? Is there food? The door flings open and my eyes throb in the light. It is nighttime but the night is still brighter than the dark. It is him. He scoops me up in his arms; my skin tingles with his touch.

He lays me down on the bed. He sweeps my hair out of my face so he can see my "pretty eyes". He begins to rub my legs and it feels good after sitting cramped for three dark cracks of night. But then he is pushing his weight upon me. I squirm and twist but nothing stops. He is no longer touching me with care; he is rushed and selfish. He tells me I am a dirty girl; that I smell. I can feel my tears in the corners of my eyes but I blink them away quickly.

I close my eyes and find my elephant. I trace it in my mind over and over. He is heavier and heavier... elephant, please don't go... I can't see you... I need to see you. It hurts. A drop of his sweat lands on my lip and burns my chapped and cracked lip. It hurts but he hurts me more.

I am now on my stomach and I can't see him but he is still heavy. I escape to the corner of the room and watch my small child self with him. I find my texture balloon and float away with it. He doesn't stop but he doesn't stop me from drifting away. He doesn't know I am gone and he doesn't miss me.

I am warm and safe as I rest in his arms. He dries my missing tears. His eyes are kind but tired underneath his small glasses. He has graying hair and a gentle frown. He is sad and he tells me how sorry he is; how sorry that I need him. He holds my heart and sings me to sleep. His name is James and he rescues me from him. He takes my place when I float away with my balloon to look for my elephant.

James is not real but he is love to me.

18 comments:

Deborah said...

I found this very difficult to read and when I began to 'step back' from it, had to tell myself that it is not just a terrible, well-written story, but a real experience that you endured. I am almost at a loss for words.

Please keep writing.

Shattered said...

Oh, Deborah... I am so sorry to have upset you. I try to choose my words carefully and I definitely don't want anyone to feel like they have to read something that is upsetting to them. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Jennifer

Kiesha said...

It's a difficult read, but a far more difficult experience - I'm amazed that you have the courage to share it. I still find it difficult to write about my terrible experiences. If at some point I can get passed it, I'm sure it would be a best seller. Until then, I wish you the best and commend you.

Will said...

You transport.

Your writing is brilliant, all the more because you are writing something gruesome and real.

You are writing you, and this is perhaps the most difficult kind of writing to engage in.

I feel like this is a cathartic process for you and I hope it is working.

English Rider said...

As a Mother your story makes me want to kill. I am sad that no-one was there to stand up for you. That is almost worse than what your Father did, which was rooted in his depravity and sickness. Although I'm pretty sure I'd be in jail for double homicide. Unrepentant!

Deborah said...

Jennifer, don't ever, ever think of choosing your words carefully. The sensibilities of your readers are not what's important - it is that you can say anything - and everything - you want. I just couldn't find the words then to say what comes more easily to me right now, which is that I just want to put my arms around you and the terribly hurt child that you were.

Jennifer said...

This is beautifully written. I found it difficult to read, too, but only because you brought us so much into the experience, which for me is the point sometimes, to write out things and have witnesses after the fact. And to create something transcendent, which you did.

Shattered said...

Kiesha, thank you for reading. I really don't have much courage at all; talking about this is very difficult but writing is a little easier for me. I hope that someday you will find a way that is comfortable for you to talk about your past.

La Framéricaine said...

For reasons that will always remain mysterious, I have been preoccupied since childhood by the extreme creativity and resourcefulness of the human mind and spirit.

I was mesmerized by, initially, "The Story of Bridey Murphy" which was published in 1952, the year that I was born. Even as a child, gawd knows how I heard about it, I made my mother tell me repeat it to me on more than one occasion.

Later, I was entranced by "The Three Faces of Eve" which played in a movie palace in downtown Tulsa when I was still young. I both read the book and watched the film, more than once, based on the life of Shirley Ardell Mason (Sybil). I read "The Lives of Billy Milligan" based upon the life of William Stanley Milligan and "When Rabbit Howls" by the Troops for Trudi Chase in my 30s, and read "The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life" by Robert Goolrick last month.

I have also been an admirer of the metaphysical writings of Jane Roberts/Seth and Robert F. Butts for the past 35 years.

I am not in any way mixing these works up with one another. For the moment I am only attempting to align myself with the spirit of open-mindedness and respectful wonder that one must have toward one's self and the other when it comes to appreciating, supporting, and encouraging the types of coping strategies that are put into play deliberately and in-spite of one's self throughout the course of a lifetime, particularly one that has included periods of being subjected to exceedingly cruel and inhumane mistreatment.

I want to congratulate you on having transitioned from trying to "keep it all together" to allowing the shards to speak for themselves, each in his or her turn, or in concert.

The art of the Mosaic has a long and august history that has fortunately been preserved and made available to each and everyone of us through the arduous, detailed, painstaking, lovingly determined efforts of legions of nameless men and women. It would be a shame not to allow it to work its magic upon us for fear of a startling juxtaposition of color or a decided lack of right angles, n'est pas?

Shattered said...

Will, it is difficult to write; especially writing about "me" which is difficult to know at times. I have never thought of myself as much of a writer but yes, this has been very cathartic for me. Thank you for reading and for your encouragement.

Shattered said...

ER, you hit upon something that I have struggled with for years... my mother. I cannot fathom the shoes she filled and how those shoes seemed nailed to the floor for so many years. Many, many times I have found myself more upset with her than with him.

Shattered said...

Deborah, sometimes I apologize too much... I just have a hard time seeing people upset. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

Shattered said...

Jennifer, it is becoming more and more important to simply be heard. Like you said, to have witnesses to what I write. Thank you for reading; I have enjoyed reading your blog as well.

Shattered said...

La Framéricaine, wow you are very well-studied! I have always marveled at the creativity of the human mind; even before I began to wade into my past. I have fought my other parts for years; telling them to shut up, keep quiet, go away, etc. It does feel like I am beginning to transition into listening and embracing them. It is difficult though, because what they have to say is painful to hear and experience; especially when I begin to understand that these things happen to "me".

Thank you for reading and commenting; you have given me a lot to think about.

English Rider said...

For My young Friends Who Are Afraid, by W. Stafford
There is a country to cross you will find in the corner of your eye, in the quick slip of your foot--air far down, a snap that might have caught. And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing voice that finds its way by being afraid. That country is there, for us, carried as it is crossed. What you fear will not go away; it will take you into yourself and bless you and keep you. That's the World, and we all live there. xx poems can be hugs.

Shattered said...

ER, thank you! Poems indeed can be hugs! I just adopted a part of that poem as a permanent fixture on this blog; it speaks volumes of where I've been and where I'm going. Thank you...

Journal of Healing said...

depends on how you define real.

Shattered said...

Ang, you are right. It does depend on my own definition of real...