Things are clicking. The mind fills in gaps you know… It’s quite a mystery how effortlessly this is done. Memory builders, these little neurons. They fire, and click, and poof, you’ve solved it. So you think.
The researcher in me asks a question.
When did everything start?
There was a time when he was the greatest. The strongest. The wisest. The funniest. He could do no wrong… then something in the air shifted. And the predictable became very unpredictable.
Some thought. Some word. Some action… I’m not sure. Something was different.
I remember the day I realized I should be more careful with my words. When I learned to fear him. I was horsing around too much in the pool and he lost his patience. I had never seen anger like that before. Did we all learn it that day?
Observe. One night. Laying on the floor staring at the light coming through the crack of the door from the hallway. Loud voices. Foreign words. What did it all mean? Was this the beginning of the end? What night was this?
One Saturday at Bally Total Fitness (which we called Bally’s like it was our next-door neighbor’s house), she came out of the jacuzzi but her hand was still burning. I always marked this as the beginning. Isn’t this when it happened?
Was that 2002? How old was I? Do I know yet?
Was it when he yelled at us in the backseat of the Camry for making her upset? Or was that the Mitsubishi? The Honda was in ‘99.
Did we do this? Did we kill them?
Or were all these just the aftermath of something that died long, long ago.
20 years… two decades. What happened 20 years ago?
2000? Where was I? Six years old. Ahh… yes.
Houston… the wedding. The black eyeliner. I wasn’t happy. Flower girls should be happy. The accident. Trauma. She was hurt. I remember the bruise on her side. The doctor visits… that’s when they began. The fights. I thought they were because of the accident. He was drinking that night. When did the drinking start? I can’t remember. Something was wrong with her. The fights became more frequent. I thought it was because of the accident. It wasn’t.
Her body was failing, and his heart was failing her failing body.
Whose fault is it?
Does it matter?
She used to tell everyone that I always cried whenever I saw her cry. It felt like we were always crying. At least we were together.
At least we still cry together. I know the day where I cry alone is coming.
Back then, I didn’t know why we cried.
I know now. I know the case. Her case. This is an open-and-shut case.
All the ruin came from two letters. One culprit.
No, she was a Mrs., something she reminds me she never wanted to be. But she finally gave in to his plea. And boy, did it take pleading.
She was a daughter who witnessed the abuse of a mother from a father and swore she’d never fall victim to the same.
She got worse.
She lost her body, her nerve, her drive, her husband, her mind, and now she’s starting to lose her hope.
Will the legacy continue?
Will I get worse?
Will my daughter get me getting worse?
I don’t understand why. Why so much suffering. What is the point? I may never understand… but I guess if I did. If I knew. Any of these answers. Then there’d be no need to trust God. No need for faith. And I can’t please the father without faith.
— — —
I trust you, God. That you have plans to prosper, not to harm. That though the world may rape me, shake me, break me and take EVERYTHING it gave me… I trust you still.
It’s all yours anyway.
In the end, I’m your daughter before anyone else’s.