I was ten years old, I had just been molested by a boy my father brought home from work and I had repressed everything, so I was incapable of telling anyone. My behavior began to spiral downwards and my parents were at a loss because I had begun to believe that any male claiming to love me would find something wrong with me and the love would stop, just as it did with Mr. X. Who was the first person I suspected?
Honestly, I don’t know. I guess, because he was there. He was the only male in my life at the time who said he loved me.
Let’s be real here, I was ten, I had three brothers, two of whom were openly antagonistic toward me (that’s brothers for you) and one of whom was still just a baby. My father was the only male I knew who loved me (or so he claimed). Subconsciously, I must have decided to test it out. So, my grades began to get worse, I began to argue with and cry at my dad. I was waiting for the love to stop. Dad frequently got angry, but he never stopped loving me (I mean real love. My dad never laid a pervy eye on me that I’m aware of).
It was about this time that my mother had a peculiar dream. In her dream, I had gone off to a sleepover in the car of some church friends. During the trip over, there was a car accident and I was seriously hurt and had to be taken to the hospital. My mother raced to the hospital so she could tell me she loved me. By the time she got to the hospital, I had already died. That was when she awoke. When she realized it had only been a dream, she was filled with a conviction that she absolutely needed to let me know that I was loved.
Her strategy was pretty simple and I learned it quickly. At a certain time of the day, when most of the chores were done, she would go into her bedroom and read a book. That was the time that I could come and confide my heart and soul to her in private. I told her over and over again that I was sure my father hated me. She replied over and over again that he didn’t. That he was just frustrated with me. Her bedroom with just her in it became my haven, my sanctuary from the world and its noise. Slowly but surely, my mother became my best friend.
Meanwhile, at junior high school I was getting Fs in English! My favorite subject! In the real world, people were only just becoming aware of child sexual abuse or the fact that children could become depressed. By then, I had a therapist. We’ll call him Dr. R. He had prescribed Dexedrine for me in place of Ritalin (which they gave all kids who were “hyperactive” at the time) because, once they got to a certain point with the Ritalin, I began to have unexplained crying fits at school. Not fun. So Dr. R. prescribed Dexedrine because it was easier to manipulate the dosage and get it right. Side note here, Dexedrine was hard for my parents to get for me because our insurance company kept refusing to cover it on the grounds that it’s usually used for weight loss. Ever heard of Dexatrim? Same basic ingredient.
Also, I was becoming the subject of serious ridicule at school. All anyone had to do to get my goat was to make sexual innuendo towards me. At lunch, a boy told his friends that I was his girlfriend and pregnant with his kid. During Social Studies, another boy used his Weekly Reader to inform me that he wanted me to give him a son. This same boy followed me home begging me to be his girlfriend and have sex with him. In gym class a group of girls tricked me into a movement commonly associated with masturbation. It was like I had a whole herd of goats and I couldn’t give the stupid things away fast enough.
So, since my grades were so bad, I was having a rough time at school and I didn’t appear to be getting along with my father, my parents went to Dr. R. for help. Dr. R. said that what I needed most was structure. He recommended a nearby Catholic high school called Carroll. Dad thought he could probably provide me with structure at East Valley High School, which was where he worked. Dr. R. agreed that this was also an option.
So my parents decided to pray about it as a couple. Once they had prayed Mom would go over the two options at home and Dad would go over them at work. About half way through the day, Mom called Dad to say that she felt certain that East Valley was the place for me. Dad felt exactly the same way. Just to be certain, they brought me to Carroll to see what I thought of the place.
While they talked with the principal, I was invited to roam the school and get a feel for it. As I walked around, I felt more and more uncomfortable, like something was watching me. Frightened, but for no reason I could explain, I returned to my parents. We left and, when they asked me what I thought, I told them I did not want to go to school there. Then they told me about their prayer and the answer they’d gotten. My reaction had coincided almost completely with it.
So, for the next four years, my father and I commuted eight and a half miles to and from school every morning. The commute to school was usually pretty quiet, but the commute home was the time when Dad would open up and we would discuss my life, how things were going in school and my interests. I found that I could ask him anything on the face of the planet and he would answer it for me and give me background information besides. We even began to write a story together. During those four years, my Dad became my other best friend.
Unfortunately, East Valley High School was also where I met Mr. P.
Did you ever think your folks hated you and had them prove you wrong? If so, how relieved were you? Talk to me. I’m listening.