Some people long to go home, to be in a place where they felt safe and loved, a place where good memories are abundant. The old saying “Home is where the heart is” makes it sound like traveling back to “home” may be one of the sweetest things you could do. There are songs about going home, sung effortlessly by many popular artists (10 Great Songs About Going Home). What a feeling it would be to feel safe at home…
I think many young teens want to escape home. That is a tough time to be living in a world of rules and regulations, oversight and control by others. The teen years are the years when you begin to really develop who you are and shape the path for who you want to become. It’s a crucial time to anyone’s life. Even with all the dreaming of wanting to escape home at such a young age, if you feel safe and secure there, its always a comfort to know that you can go home for love and support.
I never had that past the age of twelve. To me, home was where the demons lived. Home was the last place I wanted to be and I spent many nights laying in my bed plotting ways to escape. At times I had a knife under my pillow and would pray for the courage to either run away or use the knife. I felt abandoned by my mom, alone in my world, and scared to live. The knife was not for myself, though. It was for him – mom’s boyfriend, the father of my precious baby sister, the man who somehow stole the woman who took care of me and made me feel safe at night away.
I missed my mom. After my dad was arrested for the sexual abuse of my two older sisters, life was hard. My mom worked hard to bring in money to pay the bills. I don’t think she was as successful as she would have liked to be in keeping it all together, because eventually she sold our house and we moved into a small apartment. But she worked hard for us, and I felt safe. Until she brought him home.
I remember the first night I met him. He showed up at our little apartment on a Harley Davidson, wearing straight leg blue jeans, a white button up shirt buttoned all the way to the chin, white tennis shoes with curley rainbow shoe laces. His laugh was shrill and crazy. He brought candy to us – milk duds I think. My mom had the googly-eyes of a sixteen year old looking at the hot jock in school. She was so happy, it was hard not to be excited for her. But he was really weird, and the idea of change was scary.
Things moved really fast with my mom and him. Before long, he was staying overnight and hanging around for multiple days. That summer, I was twelve years old, I found out that my mom was going to have a baby. She was elated. I was excited, too. Until I found out that he would be moving in with us.
Rapidly, my family fell apart. My oldest sister, who had moved out and had a little family of her own, was disowned by my mom. I never really understood why, and missed her so much. But we weren’t allowed to talk. My next order sister eventually moved out and escaped the drama that came with him. Now, it was just my mom, my little brother, and myself…and him.
It didn’t start right away. The abuse was something that gradually came about. But, the demons were there. One day, he had misplaced a “small baggie of baby powder” and was freaking out over it. We had to look the house up and down, inside and behind everything. I didn’t know at the time that this was drugs that he and my mom had comissioned my help to find. We never found it.
One night, after he had lived there for a while and we were good and alienated from all of our family, he came into my room. That was really unusual, and I was scared. I was asleep on the top bunk, the bottom empty because he insisted that it was improper for my brother and I to share a room (a small storage closet was made into a bedroom for the poor boy). I lay there as still as I could, pretending to be asleep. He stood beside the bed, reached under my covers, and touched me. Not just touched me, but put his fingers inside me. I was mortified. I was petrified with fear. I dare not move. I dare not scream. I didn’t know what to do. I finally had the courage to at least turn over onto my side, facing away from him, creating as much of a barrier as I could. He left my room, and I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. I cried.
I told my mom what happened the next day. She seemed shocked and angry, but somehow, it didn’t seem angry enough. They argued. He packed up his things and he left. I was relieved, and felt like it was all going to be better. I went to school the next day feeling okay about things. I remember being happy, and hoping that everything was going to get better.
When the bus rolled to a stop on the highway outside of the apartment complex, it seemed like my world crashed and I couldn’t bring myself to get off the bus. I was in slow motion. The only thing I could see was the pile of luggage and boxes at the front door to our apartment. It was his stuff. Back at our house. My mom met me at the door.
“Honey”, she said. “He’s going to stay. But he promises it won’t happen again”.
Well, welcome home…