Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Secret Life of Silence

I look at my youngest daughter and fear grips me each time I think of her paternal father. No, not for myself, but for her.

I have not yet started the adoption process. And each passing month is another month of worry that I will receive the phone call and hear the words..."It is my right to see her".

Yes, in black and white it is his right.

But the intricacies of such a matter are not so clear. What would I tell the court? What is my explanation for only vaguely informing my child's paternal father of her whereabouts? And then I turn to myself and realize that it is my own fault that I have this fear. I know I am in contempt. Both of the decree and of myself.

I should have spoken up. Spoken out. But I didn't. I should have called the police the second time. But because I didn't the first time...I felt I had no ground to stand on...I stayed. It was my choice...and now how would I explain?

Wrapping my clothes around me, I walk upstairs. I have but one thought "my fault" chanting in my head, absolving him of all charges. If I were prettier, younger, he would love me. I am unloveable..used trash. Pain is coursing through my legs and abdomen. I take a shower. slumping down in the bathtub as hot hot water pours over me. I throw up. I wash it away. It's over. Wash it away. The sting of soap in my eyes. I wash it away. The smell of Ivory soap permeating my senses. I wish I could go down the drain with the rest of the filth. A quiet drowning. For the second time in my life I pray that I am not pregnant. This time my prayer was answered...this time he can't hold me with false promies...this time I am free. But I am quiet as a mouse...because maybe if I am quiet, he will leave me alone. Maybe his freedom for Kimi. Maybe.

I convince myself of all these things and I remain silent. Who would believe me anyway? We are living together. I deserve it, I deserve it, I deserve it. My choice, my bed.

Clean now...I am dressed. I tell the kids it is time to go. We are packing this time. It is real this time. Two months later he will ask for another chance. But it is too late. I am saved.

Each month I worry that my rapist will call and ask to see his daughter.

Each month that goes by without that call...I am thankful.

However, today I was gripped by a new and horrifying thought. What if someone else will hurt at his hands and own self hatred?

Will he be charming again? Will he call her his best friend? Will he make her laugh, and lure her into believing that his poor broken soul is healed by her touch, her smile, her embrace? Will he promise her the moon? Will he bring down the stars with the stroke of a pen?

His glamour only lasts so long, and then bits of reality start to come through like rust on a once perfect car, until you realize your are no longer in a dream ride, but a junked out death trap without a seatbelt. And when she stays long enough to try to fix the irrepairable...or becomes too needy, or tries to get too close...will her story be like my story? Will she crash? Or will she find a way to open the door before it plunges her full tilt into hell?

I wish I had talked. Now it is much too late...because what if the tattered strands of that chapter of my life has woven their way into someone else's nightmare...what if? I know that someone elses chapter had woven it's way into mine--if only I had listened. I thought I knew it all.

Today I realized I am still a hostage of that chapter. I'll be one tomorrow as well...and the day after...until I am able to finally release Kimi and myself from the legal connection keeping us from true freedom. Until then, I have not really accomplished anything. Worse still, I know that whatever hurt is befallen another woman at his hands is because of my silence.

Pray. Please.