I have two younger brothers. B is five years younger and C is 10 years younger. In some ways, I was more of a parent than my mother was, especially to C. I always tried to protect them from her wrath.
Case and point… She had a favorite vase that sat on a one of those lamps that have a table attached. The vase was given to her by her grandmother when she was a little girl. It was a robins egg blue glass bud vase. I remember so clearly that she had a single white rose in it.
So, I was 11 at the time. I was baby sitting both B and C on a Friday night while my parents went out on a date. C was still learning how to walk. He was toddling around the living room and walked right into the lamp/table. The vase went crashing down onto the wood floor and broke into a million pieces.
C started crying. I guess the noise scared him. He really didn’t know what would happen if she found out what he had done. Not that it was his fault or anything. I should have been keeping a better eye on him and not have let him get so close to the table.
I got everything cleaned up and the boys put to bed. Then I sat there in the living room reading a book. I knew better than to go to bed. I knew there would need to be an explanation given when she got home.
She must have have had a sixth sense or something. She walked right to that table as she came in the house. She went absolutely nuts when she saw the vase was missing. She started screaming. I begged her to not yell because my brothers were sleeping. I didn’t want them to wake up and see her like that.
She wanted to know what had happened. I told her I was cleaning up and I tripped. She she kept right on screaming at me. Telling me what a stupid idiot I was. And how clumsy I was. And how she had wasted all that money on 7 years of tap and ballet lesson. And how I was good for nothing.
She went to the kitchen and grabbed the wooden spoon. She marched me into my bedroom and tipped me naked. She made me get on the bad and lay on my stomach. She started beating me with the spoon. When she tired of that, she turned the spoon around and hit me with the handle.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t flinch. That would only have angered her more. I just lay there and took my punishment. And then she left. And it was all finished for another night.
It’s taken me the better part of a day to finish this. I managed to lose myself in the memory for the better part of an hour. Or at least I think it was. I could have been longer than. It’s pretty rare that I dissociate so badly. But today was rough.
I’m having a hard time sorting out what I’m feeling, emotionally. I was really feeling the physical pain earlier today. That’s not so bad right now. I think about what I would feel if I saw someone unrelated to me doing that to one of my students. And I come up with angry and sad. But I don’t think I feel that about myself. I’m not sure if I’m even feeling anything.
I’m really tired now. I have a hunch I’ll be going to bed early.