|Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 21, 2009||Chapters:||...24 25 -26- 27...|
Valerie finally seeks help.
A chapter in the book A Leaf on the Wind
The abuse began in the late 40s and continued through to early 60's. This chapter is around 1960-61.
Valerie is sexully and verbally abused teenager. Her family's denial and her inability to get anyone to help, pushes her into a deep depression. She suffers terrible nightmare and the gaps in time re
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Locking the bathroom door was pointless. A simple bobby pin was all Daddy needed to unlock the door. Unlike our previous house, the drawer was on the opposite side of the sink, making it impossible to prevent him from walking in on me. Privacy was a privilege I seldom experienced.
Mom was working the night shift again and it was now my job to look after the girls. After putting them to bed, I filled the tub with hot water and half a bottle of bubble bath. Without warning, the door opened and Daddy walked in. I quickly slid down beneath the bubbles to hide my nakedness.
In a loud and angry voice I said, “Get out! Use the bathroom downstairs.”
He smiled and told me to lighten up. “If you don’t want to watch, just close your eyes.”
Knowing there was nothing I could say to make him leave, I closed my eyes and waited for him to finish peeing. The strong smell of alcohol on his breath floated above me. After he left, I felt an incredible urge to scream. The rage inside my chest felt like a bomb getting ready to explode. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.
I pulled the plug from the drain and lay back against the bathtub while the water slowly disappeared. I chuckled aloud, imagining myself becoming the water and quietly disappearing down the drain.
I dried myself off, wrapped the towel around me, and opened the door. As always, I hesitated before stepping out into the hallway, hoping he wasn’t waiting for me. It had been a long time since he physically touched me, but the memories were always there.
I ran across the hallway and once safe inside my room, quickly shut the door. I immediately saw him sitting on my bed completely naked and with a sickeningly familiar grin on his face. I turned around, opened the door, and ran down the hallway toward the living room.
He was still in my room, laughing. The sound of his voice infuriated me. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a large butcher knife from the strainer beside the sink. My heart pounded from the rage-filled adrenaline racing through my entire body.
Knife clutched in one hand, towel in the other, I ran back down the hall and into my room, but he was gone. I slammed the door shut and propped the chair from the desk against it to keep him from getting back inside.
I sat on Teresa’s bed and started to cry. Unable to think clearly, I began to shake from head to foot, staring at the knife in my hand. Rage was a familiar emotion, known my entire life. In the past, I’d always expressed it by cursing or breaking things. That I could have killed him seemed incredible, but the rage I felt was strong, powerful. I had reached my limit and it terrified me. Would I have attacked him or simply thrown the knife at the wall in a fit of rage?
knowing the answer frightened me; I couldn’t take any more. I had to do something.
I listened at the door for sounds of Daddy, but apparently, he went back to bed. I stayed awake until Mom came home. I didn’t consider telling her what had happened.
I got up early the next morning, dressed, and was ready for school before Teresa even woke up. The normally short bus ride seemed to take forever. When I arrived at school, I went directly to the counselor’s office, hoping Mrs. Bloomquist would help me.
Mrs. Bloomquist sat upright in her chair, arms crossed. The expression on her face told me she was not at all pleased.
“This is not a school problem and I don’t appreciate you bringing personal problems here. This is something between you and your parents and not a subject I wish to discuss.”
That was the end of that conversation. Mrs. Bloomquist promptly stood up and ordered me back to class.
When I arrived home from school, Mom told me dinner was on the stove, the girls were in the backyard playing, and Daddy was at the Union Hall. She said goodbye, then rushed out the door on her way to work. I went out to the deck and sat down in the big wooden chair overlooking the backyard. The girls were laughing and having a good time.
I couldn’t stop thinking about my disastrous meeting with Mrs. Bloomquist. I foolishly believed she would help me. I was angry and deeply hurt by her cruel response to my plea for help.
After a few minutes, I got up and went back into the house. Bonnie told me several times to call the police, but I always refused. I didn’t want Daddy arrested, I just wanted him to stop. Now I realized that I had no choice.
I located the number in the phone book and nervously dialed the police department. Hearing a man’s voice frightened me and I hung up. Images of Daddy handcuffed and taken to jail filled my head, along with Mom sobbing and Teresa screaming at me for being so cruel. No matter what I did everyone would be angry with me.
I picked up the phone and dialed the number again. This time I did not hang up when I heard a man’s voice say, “Seattle Police Department, how may I help you?”
My heart raced as I tried to think of what to say.
“Seattle Police Department, how may I help you?”
Unable to control the shaking in my voice I managed to say, “I need to talk to someone about my father.”
“What seems to be the problem?”
I had no idea of what to say. I hesitated before speaking.
“My dad is doing things to me.”
“Can you be more specific?”
Damn, the voice was really making this hard for me.
“He touches me and makes me touch him.”
“I’m not sure what you expect me to do. Have you talked to your mother about this?”
“Yes, but she won’t do anything.”
“Is it possible you are over-reacting? We get calls from kids all the time that are mad at their parents and just want to get them into trouble. Is that what’s going on here?”
Fighting back tears, I snapped. “No. I’m telling the truth.”
“Exactly what do you want us to do?”
“Make him stop!”
“You know if we come out there and talk to him, you could get into a lot of trouble. He won’t like you calling us. Are you sure you want us to talk to him?”
“Can’t you arrest him?”
“For what? It is your word against his.”
I couldn’t believe what he said.
“Do you really want us to put him in jail? What about your mother? What will she do if he goes to jail? Have you thought about the repercussions of doing this?”
I wasn’t sure what repercussions meant, but it didn’t sound good. This wasn’t working out the way I hoped. It was obvious the police officer wasn’t going to help me. With nothing more to say, I simply hung up the phone.
* * *
A month had passed since I called the police. Daddy was drinking more and had started to sneak into my room at night again. So far, I had been able to fend him off, but the fear that at some point he would rape me again terrified me. I was a nervous wreck, seldom sleeping more than a few hours a night, often waking up soaked in sweat from another nightmare.
My appetite vanished and when I did eat, my food often came back up minutes later. When I went to school, I usually spent the whole day in the bathroom. The gaps in time returned with a vengeance, one moment I’m sitting at the table eating breakfast and the next, watching television in the evening. I had no doubt I was losing my mind.
I avoided contact with my family as much as possible. I refused to watch the girls after school, forcing Mom to take them to Teresa’s house. I spent most of my time in my room. Oddly, no one seemed to notice the change in my behavior.
One afternoon, I left school early and walked five miles to St. Francis Church. When I went to school there, Father Damien had always been very nice to me. He was the only person I could think of to talk to. He was a priest; he had to listen to me.
I waited in the rectory for twenty minutes before Father Damien finally asked me into his office. It had been several years since I’d seen him and he had not aged well. The childhood memories of a tall, handsome and vivacious man had been replaced by an unshaven old man, glossy eyed, and angry. I wondered if he even remembered me and was amazed when he said he did.
“Valerie, this is a pleasant surprise. How have you been?”
The pit in my stomach grew to the size of a pumpkin. I felt nervous, determined not to waiver. Father Damien was my last chance.
“I came here to talk to you about something very important. Father, I need your help.”
“Of course, my child, what can do for you?”
I immediately told him about Daddy.
“I need you to talk to him. Maybe you can make him stop.”
Father stood up and in a very loud voice told me to leave immediately.
“I will not sit here and listen to your filthy lies. How dare you spew such evil stories about your own father?”
I was so shocked, I couldn’t think of anything to say.
“God will punish you for your sins. Leave here right now and don’t come back!”
Father Damien turned his back to me, a signal our conversation was finished. I walked out of his office in complete shock and trudged down the street, crying. Although the day was bright and sunny, I felt very, very cold. The next thing I remember was sitting on the deck, looking out over the back yard. I have no memory of walking home. I wasn’t even sure it was the same day.
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Valerie believes she is going crazy.Pays one point and 2 member cents.
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