General Non-Fiction posted July 10, 2017


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Short story - 578 words

The Rocking Chair

by TAB_that's me

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My mom came home to find me sitting in the kitchen tied to a little red child's rocking chair, my face stained with tears and snot. My swollen and bruised wrists wore a ring of redness beneath the rope. It was 1967, and I was six years old. My babysitter, Mary Jane, and my older sister, Becky, looked on from the living room.

I'm not sure why the babysitter, who was our next-door neighbor, was allowed to come back but she was there the next day.

Apparently, Mary Jane and Becky found me particularly annoying that day. We had been in the basement playing -- a place I didn't like to be alone. The room was dark, punctuated by dark wood paneling on two walls and concrete block walls on the other two. The floor was black tile with a white swirl design, and the lighting was dim.

I don't remember the events that led up to it but they made me sit in the rocking chair in the large main room. They tied my wrists to the arms of the chair and tickled me. It seemed like a fun game for awhile until they became bored with it and left me downstairs still tied to that chair. I screamed for what I perceived as a long time. As I began to get more scared, I began to cry.

When screaming and crying didn't work, I worked my way towards the stairs by rocking and scooting. With much effort, I slowly made my way up the stairs by leaning forward with the chair on my back and behind. By the grace of God, I didn't fall over backwards.

My sister was 2 ½ years older than I, and Mary Jane was probably only thirteen but had been our beloved summer babysitter for a couple years. With her mom at home right next door, it was the perfect arrangement for my parents, us kids and Mary Jane. I'm sure my mother had a very stern talking with Mary Jane and a long talk with her mother, whom I have no doubt was horrified that her daughter had done such a thing.

I sat in that rocking chair in the kitchen for more than two hours. I know because of the afternoon TV shows that were on while I sat there still sobbing. The two older girls demanded I stay in the kitchen and not cross the line into the living room, threatening to take me to the basement and lock me down there.

While the babysitter did apologize for her actions, I don't think my sister ever did. Becky would bring it up from time to time as an adult over the years and laugh about it to my face. Finally, just a few years ago, I told her how traumatic that event was for me.

I still can't stand to have my arms pinned to my sides or held behind my back. Memories of the rope impressions on my arm come flooding back. It leaves me feeling emotionally bound as well as physically bound.

It was only recently, though, I realized that was the first memory I have of feeling worthless and unloved. I loved my babysitter and I loved my sister but felt I was unworthy of their love. I still struggle with feeling unworthy and unloved. While few people know of this event, I finally decided that writing about it may help me get past this life-changing event.


 


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I've been thinking about writing this for awhile. I finally sat down and did it today. I still feel kind of numb.
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