|Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 5, 2009||Chapters:||...35 36 -37- 38...|
Marriage provided a perfect refuge and motherhood
A chapter in the book A Leaf on the Wind
by S. Pumpkin
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.
Sexually abused as a child, still living with the ugly memories,Valerie tries to find peace in her marriage to Richard. Valerie is excited because she is pregnant and convinced becoming a mother is t
"Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul."
Richard and I bought a small two-bedroom house near the University of Washington. The real estate agent described it as a "fixer upper". The plumbing was in desperate need of repair. The floors were uneven, the cupboard doors in the kitchen would not stay shut, our bedroom did not have a door, and the bedroom ceiling leaked.
Richard was in charge of major repairs while I focused on cosmetics. I made curtains, painted the kitchen, bathroom and living room, and Mom taught me how to make rugs woven from strips of wool from old coats we bought at the Goodwill.
I did my best to keep busy and push all thoughts of Daddy from my mind, but the memories of his abuse haunted me. No matter how hard I tried, the memories were always there.
Sex repulsed me, and every time Richard touched me, I cringed. Concerned, he would ask, "Valerie, what's wrong?"
Consumed with guilt, but unable to tell him the truth, I would always say, "Nothing. I'm just tired."
My list of excuses was extensive and although I knew he didn't believe any of them, it wasn't in Richard's nature to complain.
* * *
As I reached for the phone I glanced at the clock on the nightstand. It was one o'clock in the morning.
Half awake I managed to mumbled, "Hello."
"Valerie? Can you come over right now? Daddy's drunk and trying to get Mary to kiss him."
The fear in Denise's voice pierced my heart and adrenaline-fueled rage raced through my body immediately clearing the sleepy fog from my brain.
"I'll be there in fifteen minutes!"
I slammed down the phone and wearing only my nightgown and slippers, I grabbed my purse, car keys, and coat and raced for the front door. I ignored Richard when he asked, 'Where the hell are you going?"
I didn't have time to talk. I had to get to Mom's as fast as I could.
Driving 70 miles an hour the whole way, I pulled into Mom's driveway exactly fifteen minutes later, skidded to a stop, jumped out of the car, and ran up to the front door. When I opened the door, I found Daddy sitting at the kitchen table with an open bottle of whiskey and an empty glass in his hand.
I marched up to Daddy, grabbed him by the hair and yanked his head back so hard he yelped in pain.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" He yelled.
"Where are Denise and Mary?"
Still holding him by the hair, he laughed and said, "Nice outfit. Is that what hippies are wearing today?"
I slammed his head down onto the table and ran upstairs to find my sisters. As I reached for the door knob to the girls' room Mom suddenly appeared in her doorway.
"What the hell is going on?"
I glared at her and yelled, "What the fuck is Daddy doing here? You told me he was gone and wasn't coming back!"
I don't bother to wait for an answer.
I went into Denise and Mary's room and found them curled up in bed pretending to be asleep. I sat down beside Mary, stroked her soft blonde hair and said, " Denise called and told me Daddy was bothering you. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine."
I could tell she was lying.
"Mary, you don't have to be afraid. You can tell me the truth."
Again, she denied anything was wrong.
I looked over at Denise peeking out from beneath a blanket.
"Denise, you called me and said Daddy was trying to kiss Mary...."
Before I could finish she sat up and yelled, "NO! I DID NOT!"
"But, Denise, you called..."
"LEAVE ME ALONE. I DID NOT CALL YOU! I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT."
It was pointless. There was nothing I could say that would make her or Mary tell me the truth.
I kissed them both goodnight, told them I loved them, turned out the light, and left the room.
Mom was still standing in the hallway. She heard everything. I glared at her again. I waited several long seconds before finally speaking.
"You are pathetic. You don't give a damn what happens to them, do you? You just sit back in your little fantasy world and pretend everything is fine. Well, it is not fine. And no matter how many times you tell yourself it is, that doesn't make it true."
Tears welled up in Mom's eyes but before she could speak , I said, "I don't want to hear it. Don't you dare say a word. And, don't bother wasting your tears on me. If anything happens to either Denise or Mary. I promise, I will kill you. DO YOU HEAR ME? I WILL KILL YOU!"
On the verge of crying myself, I ran down the stairs and past Daddy who was still sitting at the table. On my way out I could hear him say, "Common, Valerie. you have to let bygones be bygones." Then he started to laugh.
I cried all the way home. I swore, the next time they called I would not come to their rescue. What could I do if they wouldn't let me help them?
When I climbed into bed, Richard woke up and asked me what happened. I turned onto my side to hide the tears still streaming down my face, and simply said, "Nothing important sweet heart, it was just a misunderstanding."
Sadly, the late night phone calls continued, and despite my promise to not go, I continued to race out to Mom's just to be told I was overreacting again. Like before, I would get angry, tell them to never call me again, go home, cry, and wait for the next frantic call for help.
* * *
When I was a child, I fantasized about growing up and getting married. But unlike my friends, I never thought about having children. My uterus was severely scared from having several STD's, including gonorrhea and herpes, when I was a child. My doctor told me it was unlikely I would ever have children. When I learned I was pregnant, I was both surprised and ecstatic. I told myself becoming a mother would change everything. When alone, I often gently stroked my round belly and softly told the new life growing inside me, "Don't you worry, my precious, I will never let Daddy come near you." This was a promise I had every intention on keeping.
Now, the future was all that mattered. Richard was pleased he was going to be a father but showed little interest in feeling the baby kick or listen to its heartbeat. He showed little curiosity for anything but his music. We seldom talked. Our conversations were limited to subjects regarding the house, where to plant the new rhododendron, or what color to paint the baby's room. If I tried to talk about something that interested me, Richard seldom responded with more than one or two words. I told myself he was just preoccupied or tired from a hard day at work, but his lack of interest in me hurt deeply. I felt invisible.
Richard seldom criticized; nor did he pay me any compliments. I felt like I was constantly on a fishing expedition. When I asked him if he liked the dinner I prepared, he would say, "It's okay." When I asked if he liked my new hair do, he would say, "I guess so." When I asked him if he thought I was pretty, he said, "Yeah, I suppose so."
My already poor ego and low self-esteem took a nosedive. When we were newlyweds, I took great pains to look my best. I wore makeup, combed my hair and used perfume but all my efforts to please Richard were in vain.
On April 29, 1971, I gave birth to a girl and we named her Tina. She was a beautiful baby. The love I felt for her was beyond anything I had ever experienced. Becoming a mother was the most wonderful thing that had ever happened to me. Focusing entirely on Tina, I quickly forgot about Richard's lack of interest in me. Other than the occasional phone call in the middle of the night from my sisters, I seldom thought about my father. I stopped having nightmares and my headaches all but disappeared. Now that I had a daughter, nothing else mattered.
Richard was thrilled about being a new father. He doted on Tina and spent as much time as he could with her. When Tina was a year-a-half-old, I became pregnant again. When Sarah was born, I was ecstatic. I now had two beautiful daughters. I could now permanently put my past to rest and focus on being the perfect mother.
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