It was August of 1979 when my mother left me. I have no memory of her packing, saying goodbye or driving away. I have blocked out many memories from age 4-13 and the ones I have left are horrific. She left me there with him, that monster who I called Dad.
My father was an abusive alcoholic. He is the meanest person I have ever seen while drunk, yet he was the type of man who was so giving if he was sober. I never knew which “dad” was going to come home daily. I would hide under the easy chair we had in the living room when he came home. Sober, he would pretend to not know where I was and call all over the house for me and I would giggle under there and he would keep asking Mom, “Now where did my Pumpkin go?” Drunk, he would be screaming and I would hide until he went into another room, then I would head to my room so fast. The booze made him that way. Everything about him changed, his face changed, his voice changed, the southern accent from Texas came back. He was not my Daddy.
He was extremely abusive to Mom. There were so many occasions when I would crack open my bedroom door and watch how he treated her. He sat her in a chair and made her hold her wrists out while he cut them. Seeing the blood dripping, thinking to myself that maybe I would not have a Mom when I awoke. He took her outside to the picnic table to shoot at her, each time moving the gun a few inches to the side before he fired, assuring he would miss just to scare the hell out of her. He had stripped her naked, threw her outside when it was snowing and she slept in the car freezing. “If you ever try to leave me, I will kill you” he would say. I wondered everyday if I would ever see my Mom again. I was sure he would kill her eventually. We both lived in fear, but I was in fear for my Mother’s life. He swears to this day that he has never touched her even though I have told him different.
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I was the next logical target. I had to have the house spotless after school and have dinner done before he came home from work. My Mom was thankful to be free and safe. I would soon enough want to be just like her. I was 10. I was not allowed to do anything since I was busy being the maid and cook and not a kid. If I wanted to do anything, I had to sneak out to do it before my Dad came home and be back before he did. One day I wasn’t so lucky. I had gone to a baseball game with my cousin and didn’t make it home in time. He just started screaming “You don’t ever leave without permission!” slamming my head against the wall by my hair and beating me with his thick, black leather belt. I was welted everywhere, he was sober this one time. I knew it was my time to run. My friend called my Mom at work. I didn’t dare put a long distance call on the phone bill. She told her to tell me to pack whatever I could as fast as I could and she would be there in an hour. I left almost everything I had, everything I loved. I did love my Dad because he was my Dad, but how was I to know that he loved me?
25 years have passed since I ran from him and he tells me all the time that he hasn’t been the best Dad in the world. I do love him and forgive him regardless of what he has done. I wonder what worse things would a person have to do to deserve my hatred after all I have been through? The best part is, now when he calls or visits and starts verbally abusing me, I tell him that I am an adult now and I will not tolerate his ways, especially in my own house. If only my Mom could have said that and he would have listened the same as he does to me. She isn’t as forgiving, and I can’t say I blame her.