Written by Amy Marie
This story covers traumatic childhood experiences that may be triggering for some people. For mature audiences.
In the back of the car I could feel that something terrible was happening. The night air was chilly, the lights of the gas station were too bright, the cold leather seats shocked my skin, and their laughter penetrated to my bones. This was the ending of my childhood, my innocence.
I remember this was the last time I ever remember wearing my favorite socks, the kind you fold down with lace on the edges. Even as an adult woman, I find them so cute and adorable, but thinking about wearing them makes me want to puke. The last thing I looked at was those socks, my feet dangling, still not tall enough to reach the floor.
The man, my aunt's boyfriend, churns my stomach. Someone should have known who he was. Thinking back he had this perversion about him; too tidy, too well kept, too weird. My aunt, yeah well, it’s no surprise that she would molest a child.
I was sitting behind the driver’s seat, he was driving. His hair was short, dark brown, wet looking- like he had gel in, and his face was clean shaven. So different from my dad who had a beard and soft curly hair. The difference seemed so drastic between the two; my dad laughed, a real laugh; warm and engaging. When he laughed I could see his lips making a smirk, his crooked teeth showing from the side of his grin; when I saw that look on his face I knew he was bad.
My aunt was laughing hysterically while looking at him, smirking to her comment. She had asked me if I needed to douche and then when I didn’t respond she looked at me from the passenger seat and asked me if I knew what douche was. My response of “No.” was funny in a way I clearly didn’t get as I only felt scared.
When I think of this memory it makes my stomach ache and tears fall down my face. The memory isn’t too horrific, but that feeling I had, was pure terror. I don’t know how I knew that I wasn’t supposed to know what douche was, but I knew it was inappropriate and wrong. As I looked down for the last time at my fancy socks, that was one of the last memories I have until we moved away. I was three or four.
My mom would always say, How can you not remember all those times we went to the zoo or did such and such with so and so. I guess our child brains are strong enough to block out the horrific, but not strong enough to pick and choose; so it’s all gone. There’s pictures, but they all feel like someone else's life; fake.
I didn’t have this memory for a majority of my life. When I did remember it I thought I was having some weird flashback of a dream; I mean clearly my childhood was fine and nobody would ever hurt me...
When I was 21 years old I was on summer break from college, staying at my grandparents house. I was reading a psychology book; it was about a psychologist helping clients heal their childhood trauma. You know the kind with excerpts about each client’s experience of recalling the trauma and then their response then the healing after. Half way through this book I started thinking about my dad’s funeral. How sad I was, how scared, not understanding what death really meant, but not being able to cry or show any emotion at all. Realizing that I had been holding a grudge and anger against my dad for dying. That I hated him for not being a dad and not letting me be like all the other kids with two parents. That maybe if he had been alive my mom wouldn’t have been like she was. But then I was able to forgive him; I accepted him for any faults I had defined him with my entire life thus far, I accepted his death and I grieved for the first time since his death, when I was nine years old. I cried for hours and missed him.
The next day I had the memory of my aunt and her boyfriend.
During my first relationship my partner had told me multiple times that she thought I had been sexually abused; I always told her she’s crazy. I knew without a shadow of a doubt my mother never touched me sexually, she never even hugged me for God’s sake.
I always used promiscuity as a way to feel wanted or cared about. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it all makes sense really. I never could feel, just fuck, and I thought that was normal; that’s what caring about someone is, sexually satisfying them. Pleasing them. Being a 35 year old mother I now realize how truly disturbing it all really was.
I feel so sad for my child self; I wish I could let her know that it wasn’t her fault, that she never did anything wrong. That those bad people never deserved to have her in their life; that they were disgusting and immoral. That she would heal, eventually. That she would be ok.