07 June, 2011

empty bench

Either he was lying then or he is lying now and either way he ends up a liar, and living a lie for the convenience of not having to be uncomfortable or grow up and look at his dark side. On the other hand I end up living in the dark, the secret that must not be explored. The first time his fist hit my face my glasses went flying across the room. Suddenly I couldn't see and I felt indescribably vulnerable. I tried to cover my face and upper body, to tuck my chin so the following blows would land on my head rather than my face.  He advanced as I tried to back away and avoid the impact of his fists. Tripping, and catching myself, I looked down at the floor. Our 2 year old son had managed to get between his Dad and I. He was pushing against his Dad's thighs as if he could stop the assault. His Dad didn't even notice that his son and daughter were in the room. His total concentration was on my face. I dropped to my knees and grabbed my son. It was enough of a surprise to give me an opportunity to run out of the room with my children and shut the bedroom door, locking it in shock. I felt numb except for my throbbing head. I had no idea where my glasses were and with out them I was nearly blind like many with nearsighted vision. How had this happened? I reached for my daughter and son. She was shaking with silent sobs wrapped around my waist like a python. Younger, not much smaller than his sister, my son was sitting on my lap wrapped around my neck. I rocked them, sitting on the edge of their bed. There was no sound from the next rooms as I tried to comfort and reassure them. I had no idea what had just happened, but I had watched my parents violent struggles enough to imagine how my children felt. I was shocked as the truth sunk into my awareness: I was living with a man I couldn't trust. I had left my children alone with him all day while I was at work. And he had left our 2 year old son alone, restrained by his car seat, in the car, in the Minnesota winter, indefinitely. Visions of child protection danced in my head as I took their shoes off and laid down in bed with one child on either side of me. They were exhausted, it was very late and as I quietly sang their favorite lullabyes they fell asleep. I waited until they were soundly asleep before creeping out of the bed, I covered them as usual, as if it had all been a bad dream. When I had watched my parents struggle, I vowed I would never stay with a man who hit me. It was a no brainer as far as my younger self was concerned. But I was totally unprepared for what had just happened. I had spent the past two years traveling with a newborn and a 3 year old to follow my husband's dream of artistic success and celebrity. I was unemployed, isolated from my friends and estranged from my family. I didn't know where to turn. My world had become a black tunnel with no sign of light at the far end. Nothing was broken beyond my trust as I shut the bedroom door behind me. He was in the other bedroom, the one we had shared until tonight

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