Welcome home bitch!
The bus driver smells like vodka and cheap pot, as he relentlessly tries to conjure up some sort of programmed conversation; sports, stupid jokes and meaningless chatter. If he knew the pitch-black state of my mind and the sharpness of the knife I carry under my fluffy coat, perhaps he would not get his hopes up, as if I was some mindless young woman looking for a quickie, and yes; I would easily have slit his throat if he had tried to touch me.
As I saw the yellow house I was born in approach slowly, in the fog of an intensely cold winter, the sight of my parents and that stupidly happy dog made me sick, a below par acting performance from both humans, even waiving their hands when they caught a glimpse of the bus, but I could not be fooled, and I never really could be fooled from the start, as I could see straight through their dead eyes, programmed minds and narcissistic traits, from the age of four or five, and I was petrified of their role playing.
“Welcome home bitch!” I took a deep breath and ignored the stream of negative thoughts that flashed in my mind, like neon signs, taunting me for having casual sex with all sorts of men, degrading myself, reducing myself to a voluntary prostitute. I hugged my parents and put on an act, a couple of fake smiles was enough to convince their dumb nature, that everything was all right.
As usual I knew what they would say before they said it, not because I have extraordinary abilities, but due to the repetitive, robotic and culturally programmed nature of their so-called speaking. I did well to accept the scholarship, and it had been a great blessing for me to life in the city, far away from a house of parental horror, slave minds, stupid remarks, negativity, passive aggressive battles between husband and wife, who never even knew why they married in the first place, perhaps because of a quick, sad, lifeless shag behind an abandoned butchery, and they felt they had to marry because it was practical, because their parents told them so, or whatever. I was born into nothingness, parented by morons, and I could not be understood by anyone, could not claim a better life, a better start, because everyone had forgotten all about love.
I had sharpened my knife. Murder seemed like the fix that would allow some sort of release. But it was not my parents, I did not feel like they were the crux of my wounds, it was the sleazy old man next door. He had always been like that. The way he smiled at me. The way he laughed when he tricked me to visit him. He gave me some candy before he raped me. I was eight years old, and from that moment on any sight of happiness, playfulness, creativity, passion, insight, self-love and joy was cocooned in the repressed trauma of rape. I took the blame. Of course. I agreed to come into his house. I ate the candy. What he did next? It was my fault. The little girl was frozen from that moment on.
After yet another silent dinner with my parents, I was getting ready to dress up. I locked the door to my old room and put on a provocative dress, pink with gold coloured buttons, with a deceptive cleavage. I wanted to tease him before I killed him. I covered myself up with my coat, with the knife hidden in my purse. I tip toed down the stairs and opened the front door, my so-called parents had fallen asleep in their couch as usual, it was around midnight.
I had been drinking secretly in my old room, I stumbled through the garden, wading though the snow, and I fell as I climbed the wooden fence that separated the properties. I brushed off the snow from my coat and proceeded towards the house. There were few lights on, and no Christmas decorations. I was still angry. I did not enjoy being back in my home town, despite many years of absence. I enjoyed the busyness of the big city, working hard and studying, like any other slave, but it kept me busy enough to repress the trauma, so I guess I was not really very different than any other slave, not minding the busy slave life that made me escape the sadness of the inner child.
There was no doorbell, so I knocked on the front door, three times, demonstratively hard. Loud and fearless. Angry. Finally, the little girl was to be heard, to be allowed to feel anger, to speak out.
When he opened the door, everything changed, like I entered a new world in the blink of an eye, a flash of magic. His mild blue eyes, that incredibly thin and frail body, wearing a worn-out pyjama covered with stains of coffee, mustard, drool and what appeared to be blood. He was so weak he could barely open the door, in fact; it took all the strength he had, and he was just about to fall over, had I not supported him and aided him back into his living room. A nurse visited him a few times a week, but he should have been given a place at an institution many years ago. There was no room for him, the town was filling up with old people that was not properly cared for.
Incredibly, the same couch he had once raped me on was still there, its blue-green colour was etched into my memories and we were both sitting on it. He had dementia, Alzheimer, amnesia or whatever they call the rotting of a persona that once could seemingly function as an individual. What stunned me was; there was no evil in his eyes. No smirk. The sleazy persona had evaporated. He was so frail, so helpless and confused. His house was messy, filth and dust covered everything.
I had built up such a momentum of anger, my vengeance and cry for justice was bubbling at the edge of my consciousness, ready to burst, but as there was no longer anyone to be angry at, no villain, no devil to slay, so I ended up sobbing, like a little girl, trembling and sobbing without restraint, it felt like a dam bursting through a flood of emotions. The old man looked at me, confused, he stared as his gentle blue eyes shined of the innocence of a child. He slowly lifted his left hand, it trembled violently, as he proceeded to stroke my chin, gently, so gently.
It was too much to feel. I was just as confused as the old man was. I ran into the bathroom across the hallway and cried alone. I could barely see myself in the mirror, it was so filthy, but I caught a glimpse of a courageous young woman, ready to feel. Ready to process what she had carried with her, alone, since childhood. To be able to feel and express the repressed emotions of a child takes courage, and it cannot be done without a flicker of light. A spark. Hope. Some space, at least a little space within the trauma. I held the sharp knife I had prepared for vengeance, pressed it harder and harder across my throat. More tears came. Loud uncontrollable sobbing. A child’s tears, a child’s anger and frustration.
Thump! I could hear something in the living room. I ran out and found the old man lying across the floor. I helped him back into the couch and got a paper towel. He had cut himself on the sharp edge of the glass table as he fell. After a while the bleeding stopped. He smiled so innocently. He was so wrinkly! I could barely recognize him. We sat quietly together for an hour. I was tired. Calm but tired. It was not possible to talk to him, he could barely mumble a word here and there, randomly, he lived in another world, a place where everything was forgotten. Not repressed, but gone, poof! Gone. He was so skinny, I went into the kitchen and heated one of the meals in the plastic boxes. I noticed a list hanging on the refrigerator, where some nurse had noted whenever she fed him, gave him drugs and cleaned him. She had not been there for four days! Strange. Had they forgotten all about him?
I fed him and helped him climb into his bed. As I stumbled back to my parent’s house, I felt oddly refreshed and awake. I could not sleep that night. I cried some more. I held my old teddy bear. I told my parents everything that day. I could not help it. My mom cried and cried. She was shocked. Dad was silent. Deeply touched, but silent. My mum could not believe that I had told no one about that horrid incident. In fact; neither could I! It was my secret, and I was afraid that they would be mad at me for entering the neighbours house. I was afraid. A numbing fear that took completely over.
Nobody is perfect. My parents are not all bad, and it is not their fault. I projected a lot of the anger towards them over the years, as if it was their responsibility to protect me from all the dangers of the world, but it is not so. It was neither my fault nor theirs, and all that is left of the sleazy old man, is an innocent old man in a world of forgetfulness, like a wrinkled child devoid of the adult avatar that hurt so many people.
We created a wonderful Christmas together. My mother and I cried together, had some wine and laughed together. Dad was silent, but he hugged me more than he had ever done before. At one point he locked himself in his office and cried. He could not believe that his daughter had carried so much trauma, all on her own. After some discussion, we helped our neighbour, Mr. Gould, so he could take a proper bath, get a good shave and put on some clean clothes. I asked the nurse if it was all right for us to help him, and she approved laughingly, she was glad to have someone else do the job for her. When we helped Mr. Gould over to our house to celebrate Christmas eve, dad refused at first. That paedophile! Forget it! I could not have agreed more, on one level, but it was like I had entered a new world, and all I wanted to do was to include Mr. Gould, to help him as much as I could before I had to travel back to the city.
A few days later, as we were waiting for the bus, I thanked my parents for giving me a home, food, clothes and for inspiring me to get an education. My parents are not dumb slaves. I guess I thought so because I had a lot of anger and sadness within me, filtered everything I could perceive. I am not a whore, I am not a prostitute or a bitch, and those thoughts faded more and more as I enjoyed life and started a new chapter within a new world.
Mr. Gould died three months later. Because of him I was able to enter a world of traumatized children, I know how they feel, both in the form of a child and the form of an adult.
Forgiveness is not logical, it is not linear. Forgiveness is multidimensional, it is transformative. I am not the same. I have transformed a trauma into a tool. A tool of understanding, a tool that can assist people to notice their repressed trauma, how it is projected into a system of heroes and villains, always recycled but never transcended.
Welcome home Angela! Welcome home angel.