Friday, June 28, 2013
It's been many years since we've talked. Since I've visited you or seen you or run into you. I no longer know where you are or what you are doing. I am relieved.
Or, I thought I saw you recently at the hospital store. I pretended I didn't know you. I wrote you a letter once. I said you were no longer alive to me. What I wanted to say was "You are dead to me now." I thought that phrase could be conceived of as a threat. So I self-censored. All pretense has been burned away. You are dead to me now.
Both of you.
I told you about the abuse. I told you what was happening in my life. I told you who was doing it and what they were doing. You thought I was wanting attention. How utterly convenient.
When you informed me several years later that you knew I was making it up, I was devastated. I wasn't making it up. I had witnesses. Abuse doesn't happen in isolation.
I told you about the abuse. I told you what was happening in my life. I told you who was doing it. I hinted at what they were doing. You said, "Oh, what a shame! The two of you are such good friends." Did you even hear yourself? Later on, you were part of the grand cover-up. You forgot. Everyone else forgot too.
I was young and younger then. I wanted you to rescue me. I didn't know any better. I was a child. You were the responsible adult. You should have acted upon what I told you. Even if you didn't believe me, you should have done something. Even if you thought I was lying. Even if.
Those promises you made. Worthless. Your "friendship." Bogus. I am my own human being now. You have nothing to do with who I've become. I am stronger than anyone ought to have to be. I would have been better off had I never met you.
Both of you.
sapphoq on life
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I knew him. He was black. I was white. He was street savvy. I was naive. He grew up in poverty. I grew up in a different kind of poverty. He got me a dashiki. It was back in his room. I went there with him.
I screamed. I bolted for the door. He overpowered me. Threw me back on the stained mattress. I thought he was going to kill me. The boombox in the background. "You're gonna miss my loving." I faked the third orgasm he was demanding before he let me go. I wasn't conscious that I had had the first two. The first time should not have been like that.
He said, "I had to do it" and "I'm sorry" and "I'm afraid I will never see you again." He insisted upon walking me to my car, the car you gave me to drive around in so I wouldn't hitch rides with strangers. "So you will be safe," he said, "I don't want you to walk alone." I had no choice. My rapist walked me the ten blocks in a seedy neighborhood to my car. It was not a tearful goodbye. I cried after he was out of sight, after I had started the car and turned right onto the street that would take me to the bridge. I didn't know what to do. Should I go to a police station? A hospital? I didn't know where those places were. I drove home hysterically crying.
"Where were you tonight?" you asked. At first you were furious with him. You wanted to hunt him down. You wanted to press charges. You were unable to ask what I wanted. I was in shell shock. I had already showered. I felt dirty, disgusting, filthy. I had been afraid for my life. I thought he was going to kill me. Yes, I knew him. Not too well. Not well enough. If there were any signs, I didn't read them.
You sent me on a shopping trip the next day. She was wanting to understand. I could not talk. I did not talk about it for a very long time. I bought a shirt. We had lunch. I called work from a phone booth at the mall. Told them my uncle died. "My uncle did die," I told her, "Several years ago." She didn't laugh. Maybe after lunch, there was more clothing-- I can't remember. I do remember the shirt. And yes, I wore that shirt afterwards. I never thought of that shirt as the post-rape shirt but that is how I think of it now. A shirt could not heal the pain. I understood about distraction. It was a way to get away from myself. But not really. I kept getting high.
I went to see a friend at work. She was the first person that I told, after you. "Are you going to change again?" she asked. "I don't know," I said truthfully. I didn't change that summer. I didn't stop running for a long time afterwards. Even after I had found the study in the University library that said fifty percent of the rape vic's families blame the rape vic.
You went to your lawyer. Without me. But I had already taken a shower. I hadn't gone to an emergency room or even to a doctor. You hadn't known to or didn't think to take me. The lawyer shrugged. "Because of the drugs," he said, "the charges will never stick." That, and any evidence that I had compulsively washed down the drain.
I used to eat breakfast with you in the mornings. But then you started. "About what you did this summer," you would begin. I held the fork in the air, thinking about driving it into my stomach. I thought about the splattering of eggs, yellowed in the pan. I thought about the white garbage can, the color of my throw up. You didn't seem to notice any of those things. About what you did that summer. It sucked. I stopped eating breakfast with you, sleeping in instead until I heard you leave for work. The lectures stopped too. There was no other time that we could talk.
sapphoq on life
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
It was a Sunday in the fall. Dad and I were in the large room of his studio apartment in the kitchenette by the window. It was a sunny day.
"Look," Dad said, holding out his right hand. I was fascinated by the little red things that were moving around on their own volition. "What are they?"
"Mexican jumping beans."
And Dad went on to carefully explain about the small bug inside of each one of them that made them jump. It was the bug trying to get out. He didn't know what kind of bug. I figured they had to be from Mexico.
Dad pulled one of my teeth that year with a string tied to his bathroom door handle. We read the comics. I ventured outside but the kids were having an acorn fight so I came back in. I knew acorns had points and I didn't like getting hurt.
That was the year Dad introduced me to static electricity. We scuffed our shoes on the carpet and then made balloons stick to the walls. We made cellophane "worms" rise up from the counter by running our fingers down the middle. We had fuzzies-- they looked like bits of shag carpet and you bought them in the store-- that did the same thing. The fuzzies were the most fun. It was easy to pretend that they were some kind of pet.
Later on, in seventh grade I was disappointed when the Hungarian science teacher decided we would skip the chapter on electricity. Girls didn't learn that sort of thing in school back then. The teacher-- one of two highly educated teacher-refugees from the Communist regime who taught in the school-- must have had to do what she was told. I studied the chapter on my own and found it easy to understand.
sapphoq on life
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Housemate and I went to pick up Dad for lunch at an Italian Restaurant. On the way there, Dad spotted the golden arches of a fast-food chain. He made a comment about getting a hot dog there. [No, they do not serve hot dogs].
Dad ate half of his entree almost all of a glass of Chianti. He is medically allowed to have one glass of beer or wine under direct supervision. He spend most-- if not all-- of his time with us believing that we were in a McDonald's. He remarked upon the changed decor, the changed menu, the changed prices. Attempts to orientate him to place failed. I figured it did not really matter if he told the family that we took him to McDonald's for Father's Day so I let it be. The important thing was that he enjoyed his time out.
After housemate paid the bill up front, I asked Dad if he wanted a mint. The mints being served were the little pastel-colored pillow mints that we both enjoy. He said yes. While waiting for the car, he wanted a few more. The nice people at the register nodded. Dad was happy to have the extras.
There was no mention today of finding his old bank statements or of getting money from headquarters. I figured this as a temporary reprieve, but one for which I was acutely grateful. I gave Dad a big hug outside the house. He staggered up the walk. One of the staff was waiting for him at the door.
sapphoq on life
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Tomorrow is Father's Day. We plan to take Dad out to lunch. If he is having one of his dementia-related headaches, we will eat lunch with him at the house instead.
Last Saturday, Dad called me wanting me to visit him before Thursday [which I would have anyway] and insisting that I bring him a turquoise book that he left at my house. He said he wants to discuss something with me. I said okay. I thought to myself, oh finally he wants to talk about dieing or something like that. I could not locate the book. I'm not even sure we have the book in our house.
Monday I did visit Dad. He went on for forty-five minutes about the book of old bank statements. He said they were statements showing his earnings, that he was a high earner, that he made a ton of money every week. [At one time he did]. He had to send copies of these statements to the headquarters weekly to show what he was earning in commissions. Finally, I asked him what he will do with this book of bank statements once I find them. "I'm going to bring them along to show people that I am a top earner when I apply for jobs." Sigh.
I went to visit Dad again this past Thursday. I still could not find the book of bank statements. It may in fact be in a box in his closet at the adult supervised living house. I don't know where it is. But I am increasingly certain that the thing is not at my house.
Dad was having a headache. "Did you find the book?" were his first words to me after a brief hello. "No," I said. "I am disappointed," he said heavily emphasizing every word. He spent some time demanding that I look on top of the bookshelf in his old bedroom. [The bookshelf has been moved]. He got short with me. He then said he needed the book so he could get money from the headquarters. When I inquired how this was going to occur or why, he stated that the headquarters will give him money "because it is the right thing to do."
When I called before dinner today [Saturday] in regards to plans for Father's Day tomorrow, Dad made it clear to me that I was to locate this book of bank statements. He said "I want to go over some things with you." I figured this meant perhaps that Dad wants me to type a letter for him to the headquarters indicating where they should send the money that he feels they should give him. Dad doesn't say "goodbye" before he hands up anymore. He just hangs up. After he told me again to look for this book of bank statements, he hung up.
Dad is obsessed with money. He believes that he has no money. He wants to get more money. He wants to leave us his kids money rather than pay a dentist money for a new partial plate. He wants to find a dentist that will take "time payments." Or rather, he wants me to locate said dentist. He wants to get a job selling cars. He wants to be given a demo to drive around in for selling a bunch of cars. He wants to then move to his own apartment.
Dad does not believe that the State will seize his assets when he lands in an extended care nursing facility due to the progression of his Lewey Bodies Dementia. He used to have long-term care insurance. He cancelled it.
Dad wants to work. But he is barely able to keep himself upright. He staggers. He sleeps more. His physical condition and his mental state are deteriorating.
I am not looking forward to tomorrow. I hope that he does not get nasty when once again I show up without his turquoise book of old bank statements. I just want to have a peaceful visit with my father. I love my dad.
This may be the last Father's Day that we will have together. Or even if it isn't, this time next year he will be in even worse shape than he is now. Dementia sucks. It really and truly does.
sapphoq on life
Monday, June 10, 2013
Dad called me Saturday night. He wanted me to bring a turquoise book of papers that are his. This was what I think he wanted as his speech was a bit mumbled. Dad asked, "Are you coming before Thursday? I want to go over some papers with you."
So I looked for the papers which I was pretty sure we didn't have. I do have his burial suit here, but he took all of his records with him when he moved.
I went to visit this morning. I told Dad I couldn't find the papers. "They are on top of the bookshelf in my bedroom," he told me. I said I would look again. He went on about these papers for some time. He said they were copies of statements that he used to have to send to headquarters [when he was working some years back] and he was a top earner. It occurred to me to ask him what he was going to do with these papers. "I'm going to take them with me when I apply for jobs," he said without missing a beat.
He is falling apart physically. He does not walk. He lurches. His short-term memory is failing. His brain is turning to mush. And he still wants to work.
He can't work. He is beyond working and has been medically incapable of working for quite some time now. Not even volunteer work [which well-meaning people have suggested].
There is a new hair stylist who comes to the house now. I don't know what happened to the old one. Dad's haircut looks really nice. Feathery and not the kind of haircut that is stereotypical of the demented. So there is that.