“How do you wake up in the morning and act like it’s any other day? How do you know your worth when you feel like a dirty used rug? How do you wash off all the filth and feel clean again? But most of all How do you forgive when you can’t forget?” she asked in a very lost tone as a glass like film filled her eyes. And all it took was one gentle blink, just one blink and beads of tears rolled down her face like rain drops sliding down a window pane. I can still recall that look like it was just yesterday. A look with millions of questions that the two of us could not answer, yet u could tell she desperately wanted them answered.
How do you tell someone in that state that it’s all going to be okay? How do you tell them that tomorrow is going to be a better day so let go of yesterday and move on. At this point I was really struggling to keep it all together. I had to be strong for both of us, I just had to be strong for her. “We grew up in fear of the imaginary boogeyman under our beds, in our closets or right behind our doors, every little child did because that was the cue to mama that we are sharing your bed tonight. But in my case the boogeyman was not imaginary any more. He had become so real and made my nights creepy. Every sunset drained the last hope of trust in me, every moonlight came with a fresh wave of pain and despair and yet I could not escape it. If only I had the power to make the mornings last forever…” she narrated scenes from her past, ones she wished she could forget. Yet they seemed so fresh in her mind.
“I cried but no one answered, I wailed but no one seemed to care. They didn’t even question my puffed up eyes or my down continence. I needed compassion and sympathy but all I found was loneliness and despair. That is when it downed on me that it’s my mess not theirs, it’s my battle not theirs, a one man’s war. But how do you fight the predator within? How to you win when all your covers are known to him? My trust had been shattered, this was beyond robbing me of my innocence and tearing my flesh apart. It was cutting off my wings, silencing my voice and putting me in a cage. I would then learn to talk but not speak, hear but not listen, look but not see, my life was a dummy”
I wanted to ask but it seemed she read my mind, “Who would have believed me?” Her face shot with so much disgust. “He was my father, a loving father by day and a monster at night. Who would have believed me? He passed for father of the year and they all looked up to him. And besides how do you share that shame? It’s one thing knowing you are as dirty as a dump and another to have it labeled on your face. People just have a way of defining you by what happened. I had to live with it, it had become part of me and I knew it was the dirty secret I would carry with me to my grave but I cant, not any more. It’s eating me away, it has taken my will to live. I just can’t carry it any further because it gets heavier by the day”
My heart bled for the little girl. You could see she wanted to break out of the cage, “I am tired of surviving” she said. By now she couldn’t control the tears flooding her face. You could tell that she was crying for all the years she fought to hold back, all the times she played strong, she just let it all out. “Teach me to smile again. Give me back my wings because I want to wonder around. I don’t belong in this cage, everyday I stay bound I feel like he has won. I can’t let him win. It’s my life, it’s my turn to control what happens in the night. I want to take in the beauty of the setting sun and enjoy the quiet on the moonlight. I am tired of seeing him in my dreams, I am tired of waking up in the middle of the night with bubbles of sweat on my forehead panting like I have been at war. I don’t want to flip through the pages of the calendar without living my life”
It all starts with forgiveness, which is the only way you can liberate yourself. You may not forget but you can forgive. You don’t have to sit on the same table and break bread but you can’t let him control you either. After our long teary chat, she reached out and hugged me. “My first hug in forever” she said with a lazy smile on her face. A hug that marked a new and profound friendship.
“Say no to child abuse”