Sunday, March 09, 2008

Darkness Before the Dawn

Dark,no light, can't see. Don't fit in my high chair anymore. I move and my skin pinches against the wood seat, diaper wet, t shirt wet and cold from the milk I spilled on myself. My bobbie's top came off. Ma got real mad. Milk on floor she just washed. "Now you've gone and done it", she screams. "I just washed and waxed the floor and you go and spill the god-damn baby bottle all over the floor. There's glass everywhere."

Every time she screams at me I jump, scared, scared because I know what's coming. It's hard for me to take breaths, I cry so much. I didn't mean it. It slipped.

Ma crosses to where my high chair is and stands in the milk mess I made and gives me a slap across the face and scares me even more. It hurts, it really hurts.

Ma is big and strong. She opens the kitchen back door to the dark hall way and picks up the high chair with me in it and slams it against the wall in the dark hallway. My head hits the back of the high chair and I cry again, boogers coming from my nose and I can taste it on my lips. She leaves me there and slams the kitchen door.

I hear her screams even though the door is closed.

"I'm sick and tired of cleaning up your shit all the time." Can't you do anything right? What the hell was wrong with me having a second god damn kid. Don't you dare let me hear you crying out there or I'll give you something to cry about you little shit!"

I hear her tell Frankie to get the broom and watch out for the glass. I try and cry soft so Ma won't hear me. Frankie never seems to get yelled at.

Ma opens the kitchen door quickly and I jump. But she doesn't even look at me.
She walks past me and gets the bucket and mop, goes back into the kitchen and slams the door. So much loud noise, so much yelling, when Ma isn't happy.

Ma finishes washing the floor but doesn't come out into the hallway again to put the bucket and mop back.

It's so dark out here. The hallway is long and scary. Right next to my highchair is the door to the cellar. Frankie says the boogie man is down there and comes out at night. I've been down there in the day with the twins upstairs and it is really scary. There's a big machine down there that makes noise at night. Frankie says it's for heat and water, but at night he says it comes alive.

I try to look up, down, and all around for light. I think I see some light under the kitchen door. I hold up my hand to where the line of light is and I think I can see the top of my fingers. Scary looking fingers. I wiggle them to try and see them better, but I can't see all of them.

BAROOOOOMMMMMM! I jump at the sound of the big machine in the cellar. It's louder than I remember. I start to cry again, just a little. I'm afraid the big machine has arms and legs and can move at night up the stairs. Great big green arms to choke me, great big legs to kick me.

My crying has made me have hiccups. It's tight in this high chair. I put my own arms on the arms of the high chair and can feel the cold wood. I move my legs and one of my socks fall off. It's cold out here. I am falling down in the chair and can't pick myself up. It's like I'm stuck.

The big machine hasn't walked up the stairs yet to get me. I make sure my eyes are wide open, but I can't tell. I keep looking at the door to the cellar. It's all dark now. There's no light coming from the bottom of the kitchen door. Frankie and Ma must have gone to bed.

I try and stay awake in case the big machine opens the door, but then it's quiet again. Maybe the green machine sleeps too?

It's all dark and quiet. I wonder if I'm even here. I can't tell.

I can't see anything and no one can see me.

Maybe I've gone away some where.......


Blogger crazymumma said...

Oh Suzy. How long did she leave you there honey? It is all so wrong. I am so sorry you lived this.

am I allowed to ask if you are ever in contact with her, or with Frankie? How on earth did you get away?

9:13 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Can't talk now, gotta go cry my eyes out.

10:05 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...


(there's nothing I can say)

11:16 PM  
Blogger excavator said...

I am so pulled in. I feel like I've been carried out with the tide.

I'm reminded of Harry Potter in the Prisoner of Azkaban book. Where his father has summoned his Patronus, which saves him; later when Hermione has turned time back he sees instead that it was his future self.

I was intrigued by a practice a friend had, of sending to her past self thoughts of encouragement and love.

Is it possible that the reason we've survived some of the heartbreaks that were so devastating at the time is because of the love and compassion we send back to our past struggling selves?

Is it possible that even though she didn't know it then that part of what kept that little girl (you) from dying then is the presence of us in the future, placing our Presence alongside her bereft Soul?

I'm holding vigil with her now, waiting with her until someone comes and removes her from this terrible place.

This probably makes no sense. It's midnight on the west coast, and I had a late night last night too. And it's all your fault--it takes an act of supreme will to stop reading.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

Suzy I am so sorry for the horrendous abuse you suffered and I say again and again,

You are a miracle.

You have love in your heart. You are a good person.

You are amazing.

Tell your precious little girl I am so sad for her.


7:54 PM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Oh, Suze.

I'll try to write more later. Now I need to go light candles and sit quietly.

Love you.

9:57 PM  
Blogger She's like the wind said...

With each story you tell, I think nothing else can shock me and then you tell another and I'm shocked all over again. Love as always. x

7:34 AM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think the practice that Excavator mentions is wonderful. That is the beauty of the memoir process, being able to revisit old scenes and give them new love.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Mama 'N Me said...

Love to you,

Powerful writing, Suze. Pure power.


1:09 PM  
Blogger kario said...

Your writing is so powerful, so poignant. The voice of the little girl is wonderful and so, so real.

I am loving the mind of this little one who doesn't shut down. She asks questions, she thinks, she examines her surroundings and tries to make sense of them. This is the brave woman you have become. This is the compassionate woman you are. This is what carved the paths in your soul that I am channeling love and light into right now.

Love you.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous paul maurice martin said...

My mind's still trying to process this...

8:03 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

That poor, brave, tender little girl. I'm so honored that she's talking to us and feeling safe enough finally to be heard. Please let her know that many other little girls are glad she stayed safe and are waiting to here how she went away.

Your writing is brilliant, Suze, just like you.

Much love and admiration.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it very hard to speak after reading this. It's just pitiful that a human being can do this to their own flesh and blood. I find you incredibly brave to post about your experiences, it must make you relive it.

Crystal xx

12:27 PM  
Blogger Manic Mother Of Five said...

Well Suzy, I was longing for another post so I didn't keep seeing the one about being in your pram and then wham here it is and it's just as harrowing.

It is just after tea time in my home and the children are milling about, annoying each other, helping with jobs, laughing....... The contrast with what I have just read couldn't be more acute.

Now off to bath my girl, my precious, precious girl.

Suzy, I hope you know by now that if I could, I would have saved you from this and I weep for that little girl I couldn't love.

With you honey.

MMoF xxx

2:37 PM  
Blogger Douglas W said...

What more can I say Suzy? I think your story will take us to some wondrous and amazing places and experiences, and arouse emotions as diverse as the weather... at one moment leaving us with peaceful and calm contemplation; at the next tearing us apart like a hurricane...

In Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca the narrator of the story, a woman, says "I believe there is a theory that men and women emerge finer and stronger after suffering, and that to advance in this or any world we must endure ordeal by fire. This we have done in full measure, ironic though it seems. We have both known fear, and loneliness and great distress. I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end. We have conquered ours, or so we believe. The devil does not ride us any more. We have come through our crisis, not unscathed of courseā€¦ Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind. Of course we have had our moments of depression; but there are other moments too, when time unmeasured by the clock, runs into eternity and, catching his smile, I know we are together, we march in unison, no clash of thought or of opinion makes a barrier between us."

Thank you for your email... there are those moments of unmeasured time running into eternity, those times of warm smiles, times of unity.

6:56 PM  
Blogger frog ponds rock... said...


xxx kim

5:35 AM  
Blogger Casdok said...


7:48 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

"It's all dark and quiet. I wonder if I'm even here. I can't tell.

I can't see anything and no one can see me.

Maybe I've gone away somwhere......."

I'm sure you went the only place you could...deep deep inside. It's a wonder you survived at all but you did, Suz! You somehow not only survived, but never ever lost your capcity to love.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Maggie May said...

Suzy that was terrible. It really is a wonder that you survived at all. My heart goes out to all children that are so abused. If only we could put the clock back and change things.
I agree with Douglas W, I really think that people who have suffered hardship are stronger, finer people in the end.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Like many others, the first time I read this post I was crying too hard to have any idea what to say.

Now I am sitting here at my dining room table with my elbow one centimeter away from my little girl's high chair. She is across the hall in her room, sitting in her little gingham chair, "reading" her books out loud with great spirit. I look at her high chair, with her little girl voice in the background, and it makes me absolutely sick to know what horrors you have been through.

But I love what excavator and Carrie said. Instead of focusing on the anger I feel on your behalf, I will stand next to that sweet little girl, cold in the dark, and whisper comfort in her ear. I will promise her, over and over, that a strong and wonderful woman, so full of love and humor despite all odds, will come and rescue her just as soon as she can. This woman is a SURVIVOR, and her words and her heart pull so many others along with her.

This woman is you, Suzy. I love that little girl. And I love you for saving her. You were the only one who could.

3:16 PM  
Blogger George said...

Wish I could read the previous post. My monitor just got blurry. Hope life's treating you well now. Very well written.

10:55 PM  
Blogger excavator said...

Hi, Suzy. I just wanted to let you know that I'm continuing to hold vigil with you in this terrible dark place. Just waiting for the dawn. Sending lots of love to sustain that little girl.

11:45 PM  
Blogger menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Dear God the abuse. You know I think that that little baby has a voice here. It's not the adult you writing this but you giving voice to the child that needs the healing. You are simply a conduit for her to talk and once she does I hope she finds peace and then in turn the adult you finds solace. Compelling stuff and here's a hug for that tiny baby telling your story.

7:30 AM  

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