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Valerie learns her father has molested her niece
A Leaf on the Wind
: Teresa by S. Pumpkin

Warning: The author has noted that this contains strong language.
Background
Sexually abused as a child Valerie suffers psychologically as an adult; nightmares, hallucinations, seizures, gaps in time, severe panic attacks. Her expectation of a perfect life after getting marri

"If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example."

George Bernard Shaw


 

Despite telling myself I wanted nothing to do with my family, I was easily drawn back into the intrigue surrounding my father.
 
The year Richard and I were married, Mom moved into a new house in a rural area near Seattle. It was a large, two-story, beautiful four-bedroom house built on an acre-and-a-half of land. A few years later, Mom and Daddy had a terrible fight about his drinking, and she finally threw him out for good. He visited occasionally but he now lived permanently in a small apartment in Seattle. 


No longer welcome at Mom's, Daddy spent most of his time at Teresa's house. I feared that Daddy's close proximity to my two young nieces was an accident waiting to happen. When I voiced my concern, Teresa laughed and said I was being paranoid. 

"For crying out loud Valerie, we have been over this a hundred times," Teresa said. 

"Daddy would never do anything to the girls." 

"Teresa, I know what I am talking about," I warned. "You have to be careful!" 

She refused to listen. 

One afternoon I arrived home to find Mom standing outside my front door. I knew something was wrong.  Mom seldom called or visited me unless there was a problem.  I made us both a cup coffee and after a few minutes of mundane small talk, Mom lowered her head and spoke. 

"Valerie, you were right," she said. "I was wrong not to listen to you." 

Although I knew exactly what she was referring to, I asked her to explain. 

"Teresa caught your father molesting Erica." Mom's voice was inappropriately calm. 

"Teresa was so angry she hit him and knocked him down the stairs. She thinks she broke his arm." 

The rage inside me boiled over. I slammed my fist on the table and glared at Mom. 

"I have been warning you for years but you refused to listen," I screamed. "For God's sake, he did it to me and you caught him doing it to Colleen, so why the hell do you act so damned surprised?"

I paused only long enough to take a breath and continued.  

"Why are you telling me this? What the hell do you expect me to do?" 

I grabbed my coffee cup and threw it against the wall. 

"This is your fault!" I shrieked. "You knew what he was doing. You have always known! 

Mom began to cry. 

"You are right," Mom acknowledged between sobs.  "I am a terrible mother.  I failed all of you." 

Seeing Mom cry only made me angrier.  A few tears were not enough to erase a lifetime of rage. 

"Yes, Mom, you were a lousy mother. I blame you as much as I blame him. Daddy's a sick son-of-a-bitch. What the hell is your excuse?" 

I felt a twinge of guilt being so blunt, but the anger was still raging through my body, preventing me from feeling any compassion or sympathy.  I got myself a new cup from the kitchen and poured us both another cup of coffee.  Despite knowing it would do no good, I asked Mom what she wanted me to do. 

"Should I call Teresa?" 

Mom nodded. 

"Yes, I think you should call her. She needs to know you are there for her." 

Reluctantly, I agreed. Mom stayed until she regained her composure then left. I wanted to call Teresa but I was not sure what to say. I knew getting angry would not help.  I wanted Teresa to know I was there for her.   I also knew she could no longer call me a troublemaker and for a brief moment felt a twinge of comfort anticipating her apology.  The next day, I decided to go and see her in person. 

When I arrived at Teresa's, she offered to make some coffee, and went into the kitchen.  I sat at the dining room table and casually looked around the room.  My eyes came to an abrupt stop when I saw Daddy's coat draped over the arm of the sofa.  Teresa returned with coffee and a plate of cookies.  Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Startled, I turned to find Daddy standing behind me. 

Wearing a fresh cast on his left arm, Daddy bent down and kissed me on the cheek. I pushed him away, and while wiping the sticky remnants of his wet kiss from my cheek, I yelled at Teresa. "What the hell is he doing here?" 

With a quick wave of her hand, Teresa signaled Daddy to leave the room. 

Teresa cleared her throat and said, "Valerie, calm down." 

I was way beyond calming down. 

"Answer me! What the hell is he doing here?" 

"It is almost Christmas and Daddy has nowhere else to go," Teresa said. "For God's sake, Valerie, he's our father." 

I couldn't believe what she was saying. 

"Are you insane?" I shouted. 

"After what he did, how can you possibly let him near your kids again?" 

"There is no reason to worry," Teresa said glibly. "Daddy felt really bad about what he did and he swears it will never happen again." 

"And you believe him?" 

"Yes, I do." 

"Then you are a fucking idiot!" I screamed. 

There was nothing more to say.  I stomped out of the house.  I cut off all contact with my family.  I refused to take their phone calls and declined their invitations for dinner.  It would be three years before we spoke again.

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Author Notes
The need to resolve the past constantly draws Valerie back into the intrigue surrounding her family and father.

     

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