Connecting the Dots (18)
I layed in bed wondering what was happening. Who was in the hospital? Who had called? Why were they concerned about where I was? Were they even talking about me at all?
Maybe I was just confused.
But whatever it was, and whoever had called, caused an argument up in my house that night. I layed awake while my dad made phone calls but he had moved to the kitchen. I strained myself trying to hear what was happening on the other side of the house but I could only make out a word here and there of what he was saying. The sound of my mom’s name caught my ear’s attention. It also seemed to catch the attention of Karen’s ear, who attempted to argue with my dad each time he hung up the phone. As the arguing got worse, I drifted off to sleep…..
The next morning I woke up and made myself some cereal at the kitchen counter. I sat there in a daze trying to focus on my spoon. Despite the fact that most little children wake up full of life, I was plagued by sleep disorders like night terrors, nightmares, bed wetting and insomnia. The nights were hardly ever kind to me and by the time the sun came up most mornings, I struggled to process a proper thought. As I finished my cereal I glanced next to the phone and saw a bunch of my dad’s scribbles on a piece of paper. His left-handed scribble was hard to miss. It was then that a rush of memories from the night before came flooding over me.
First the game….. we won! I couldn’t wait until next practice when we would, WAIT!
Then the pizza place……. I was still embarrassed but thankful that I didn’t go to school with anyone from my team. I didn’t know if I even wanted to go to our next practice now because I was sure that everyone was laughing at the scene that my dad caused. I’m sure they would…
Then John ….. I have to be losing my mind, right? Why does he keep showing up in places where I am. Is he just trying to scare me? Is he going to take me? Hurt me? Maybe if I just close my eyes and pretend that last night never happened, OH NO.
Someone is in the hospital… Who?
Its still amazes me how adults sometimes discredit the brains of children. Like a child doesn’t know that something is wrong? Like they don’t have ears and a brain with the ability to connect the dots? What I can promise you is that children have all of these abilities and always know far more than they are given credit. The dots that children tend to connect which weave a story untold by the adults in their lives are always far worse than the truth that is being held from them.
I rode in silence to school next to a man who was equally silent. This was the day that I discovered the depth of my abilities.
Inside I was a scared little girl who had returned to a state of panic and paranoia. There was a man, a bad man, who seemed to show up when I least expected and I didn’t trust anyone enough to ask for help. I was treated like an enemy in a place I was told was my home and my dad had revealed that I couldn’t trust him. Honestly, I didn’t even know him. But I was about to step out of his car in front of my school. My school was a place where people didn’t know the “real” me but they liked me. I was accepted and allowed to smile. I liked school but I was afraid that things at school would change if people knew what my life was really like. I couldn’t let that happen.
I spent the day smiling, making others laugh and pretending that everything was great. Hey, this wasn’t so hard. By the time the day was over though, I felt a new emotion. I was angry. I wondered if other people did the same thing. Is everyone who they appear to be? What was it like in other people’s families? I wish I had someone to talk to. It would be a couple of years before that happened.
I came home that evening with Karen. My dad was “working”. I was hoping he would be home. I had thought about this all day and figured that at least if they were arguing, I could overhear what the problem was. Even, maybe, find out who was in the hospital. Karen seemed angry and not really in the mood to deal with me. She rarely was. I ate dinner quietly and was hoping to watch TV. Karen was pacing up and down the hall. It was making me nervous. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I peeked out of my bedroom door.
“Working,” Karen said.
“When is he coming home?”
“When he does,” Karen replied with a nasty attitude.
….. and what happened next was a shock, even to me.
“Go get in the bathtub,” Karen demanded.
I just yelled “NO”.
Still to this day, I have no clue what came over me. I was angry. I think my outburst caught her off guard because it took her a moment to realize what I said. She repeated herself and I did as well. She reached for my arm and I ran down the hallway. I ran right out of the backdoor and hid behind my dad’s motorcycle. She chased me around the yard and back into the house where she finally managed to grab a hold of my arm. She dragged me down the hall and into to the bathtub, clothes and all.