So I’ve been waiting to get this out for a while, and now I’m going to. Judge me all you want, but this is a major part of who I am, and I’m done keeping it inside.
I learned early in my childhood that there are very few people in this world that you can trust. I believed the same thing every 4-year-old believed. “Mommy and Daddy are good people and everything they do is right.” But unfortunately, that isn’t always true.
It became almost any everyday thing. I came home from school, and my mom was still at work, so that meant that my dad had me all to himself. I knew what was happening was wrong, and I often thought about telling someone, but I never did in fear of being beaten. It was really hard, and not just the being abused. It was the pretending that was hard too. Pretending to be happy, pretending that everything at home was fine, constantly lying to my mom. I remember thinking, “Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?”
“Good morning baby” my mom said as I walked into my little sister’s room. The window was open and it was bright. “I’m tired”, I replied with a yawn.
Why? You were in bed an hour earlier than usual last night, there’s no reason to be tired.” I didn’t say anything. I knew why I was tired; dad has come into my room late last night and woken me up. But I couldn’t tell her that. “I don’t know, I’m just tired.” “No, that’s not the answer I want Sarah. You’re not going to school until you tell me why you woke up so tired this morning.” I had no choice. I had to tell her. I looked around to make sure my dad wasn’t anywhere near, then I told her quickly and quietly what had been happening for the past year.
The look on her face was devastating. She looked as if someone had taken every ounce of happiness and drained it from her body. She was upset for a minute, but then she became very angry. She got up to find my dad, and after a few seconds, the house was filled with ear shattering screams and horrid threats. The only thing I could think was, “What have I done?”
After what felt like forever, my dad said he needed to go to work, and since the conversation wasn’t over, that meant we had to go with him. He’s a truck driver, so all he pretty much did was transport things from different stores. We got into the truck and I sat as far away from my dad as I could. He kept accusing me of lying and telling my mom I was only 5. “little kids make things up all the time.” But I knew I was telling the truth, and so did he. Every time that my dad would get out of the truck, my mom would ask me a bunch of questions and try to explain to me what was happening and it was very important that I was telling the truth. I answered them all and repeated over and over, “I promise mommy, I’m telling the truth.” The cycle went on for a while: Drive, stop, talk. Drive, stop, talk. Then suddenly it changed.
“Stop the truck we’re getting!” yelled my mom. The conversation had escalated and she had finally realized who was telling the truth. He wouldn’t stop for a while, and he drove to an old, abandoned parking lot. When he finally stopped, we were out of the car before he could say anything else. I remember walking for a while. We were completely lost and I don’t think my mom had any idea where we were going. She was just walking, lost in her own thoughts. After a few minutes, a lady pulled over next to us and rolled down her window. One look at my mom’s tear stained face and she knew we needed help. She told us she would give us a ride to wherever we needed to go and that she would do anything she could to help. We called the police and had the lady drive us to Toys R’Us, where we met one of my mom’s good friends, who drove us home.
We got home and a few minutes later there were police cars outside my house and officers inside. Somewhere in the mix my dad showed up, and once that happened my mom immediately took me down the street to a family friend’s house. I’m not exactly sure what happened after that, but I do know that my dad was gone. The police had taken him to jail and I no longer had to live with in my own min version of hell.
The next time I saw him was in court. I had to stand in front of a big crowd of important people and tell them exactly what had happened. It was hard, mainly because I didn’t understand half of what he’d done to me. But it was also hard with him standing there listening to every word I was saying. I’ll never forget the feeling I had that day. It was a feeling of sadness and betrayal, but also had a hint of victory. I had won, and I would never have to live my life like I had again. In a way, I felt like it was a new beginning.
It’s been about 9 years now and my life has changed drastically. My mom is now a single mother of 4 kids, we’ve moved 6 times, and we even had to live with my grandparents for about a year until my mom could get back on her feet with bills. Honestly, I’m mostly over what happened. I don’t really cry about it as much as I used to and nobody really talks about it anymore. But for some reason, I just can’t seem to shake the thought of why. Why me? When then? Why doesn’t he even care? Just, why?
This incident has not affected not only the way I think, but also the way I am. It’s altered my personality and made me afraid of things that to a normal person would sound stupid and pointless. For example, I get scared anytime I’m alone with a grown man. I get nervous and turn the other way if I see someone who looks or has facial hair like dad did. It’s those little things that set me apart from everyone else. I’m also afraid of what will happen when he gets released. “Am I going to have to face him again?” “What if he finds me?” “What if he tries to hurt me or my family?” Those thoughts, they scare me.
If you looked at me for the first time you would never guess that I’ve been through what I have. I’m an outgoing person with a crazy personality and lots of friends. I keep everything bottled up inside, and I’ve tried to move on. My father may have ruined my childhood, but that doesn’t mean that I need to let it affect my future. If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout this whole thing, its’ that our past and our mistakes DOES NOT define us.