Thursday, September 6, 2012

Build me a Bridge(NF)

Music floods me with emotions. Just a small piece of my story as I listen to the same song on repeat.

A week before my 21st birthday my living situation was in limbo and my father offered his spare room for me to use. He enticed me with the privacy I'd have with a large room, private bathroom and private entrance if I chose to not go through the main house. I had the option to move back to my mother's house while I got my finances sorted. I naively thought that moving in with my father might be an opportunity to mend fences and rebuild our relationship. I thought we'd start from a clean slate.
It kills me to write this and I can't hold back tears.

My 21st birthday came and went. I celebrated with a few very close friends that are now the only "family" I have. I could see hints of the trouble ahead in my father's reaction to me leaving the house. There were flecks of disapproval and hatred in his eyes when he saw I had a friend acting as my designated driver (DD) come to pick me up.

"Why do you need a driver, you don't drink? Don't drink tonight, being 21 doesn't mean you have to drink, you see me I don't ever drink."

In that statement I see flashbacks of my childhood. 7 years old, seeing my father lying in his own vomit. Me crying. His eyes glazed over and he continues to throw up. I'm so weak, I can't move him, I can't turn him over so he doesn't choke. His arms are so heavy and he won't answer my cries. Someone comes and turns him over. My mom grabs my arm, yanks me hard, and drags me to the car along side her. I see him still vomiting, only the white of his eyes visible as he gets smaller and smaller in the distance.

At this time I'm working at a Credit Union as a normal 9-5er while attending university. My friends and co-workers are one in the same. My week was pretty routine. Monday through Friday I worked then Saturday, Sunday I'd go out with friends. My freedom lasted all of 6 weeks. After a night out of dinner and bowling I come home to find the side gate that leads to my private entrance locked. There’s a new padlock separating me from my door and my room. I always locked the door to my room in the house since I only used the private entrance.

I enter the house as quietly as possible; it’s a little after midnight, go to the backyard and around the house to my entrance. I have a glass sliding door that I leave unlocked and a barred gate that I use to enter my room. After unlocking the gate I realize someone has locked the glass sliding door and put a wooden plank to secure it wouldn't open. Ever the resourceful girl I find a flat head screwdriver and take apart the lock to my door inside the house so I can enter my room, then quickly reassemble it. As I finish I look up and my step-mother staring at me in amazement as she laughs.

"Your dad thought you might have trouble getting in your room. Maybe he'll learn to leave you be."

I'm quickly reminded of seventh grade. On a random school day I'm sitting doing my homework with the TV like I usually do. My dad jumps and decides to start getting ready to leave. As he ties his shoes he asks me if I'd like to come with him.

"Where are you going?"
"It doesn't matter just put on your shoes and let’s get out of the house."
"I have homework do you know when we'll be back?"
"We'll be back when we're back now get up we're leaving."
"I don't want to go I really have to finish this."
"Grab your book get up now!"

My dad grabs me by the arm as I try to reach for my notebook and pushes me out of the door.

"Now if you'll stop being stubborn I'll get your shoes and we can leave."
"No thanks I'll wait here."

I sat on the porch to our apartment for 2 hours finishing my homework and reading a magazine I managed to grab before he came back home and decided to let me in.

One day I'm getting ready to leave with a friend to our weekly dinner. I walk out my door.

"Bye dad I'm leaving my friends waiting outside."
"Come here and help me fold."
"My rides here I have to go."
"I said come here!"

Memories flood my head of the first time I was kicked out, as I do as I'm told. I'm sitting on the floor doing my homework as my father and his wife have a conversation in Spanish while watching TV. My father said something to the effect of his friends children are ungrateful and don't do as they're told without question. He gloats that I'm nothing like that and will always follow any request like a good obedient daughter. His wife disagrees and my dad decides to put me to the test. My dad is holding a bowl 6 feet away from the kitchen sink.

"Come here and put this away for me."
"You're right there."
"I said come and put this in the sink for me."
"It makes no sense, I'm way over here and you could have put that in the sink and taken it out twice already in the time you're arguing with me."

"Leave now."
"No."

I never could shut up. I wasn't going to be made a fool of. My dad grips my arm hard and drags me to the door. I try to release myself to walk out of my own accord. It’s useless, he won't let go, he continues to drag me and shoves me out of the door once of the top stoop of the stairs I think I'm fine, safe. He pushes me once more and almost knocks me down the stairs.

Its 7am and I'm running late for work. With a towel on my still wet hair and a towel covering my body I try to quickly iron my clothes for work. There are 3 loud knocks on my door. I drop the iron as I flinch in fear.

"Get out now I need your help."
"Ok I'm getting out of the shower."

Less than 30 seconds later as I try to put on my bra and underwear three more knocks. The door nearly knocked off its hinges.

"Get out! Hurry!"

One minute later I'm dressed and run outside.

"Never mind I needed you to move your car."

My nerves are on edge as I finish getting dressed for work.