Life is the reason. Love is the answer. Anything we chose in between is what becomes our story. Our story begins from our first breath and begins to leave our bodies shortly after that. It is crazy to think that the countdown which was once used to celebrate your existence is the same clock that starts to announce your demise. We never know when we might be taken we just quietly leave without saying a word.
I love people. I am obsessed with their stories. In my life I have come to appreciate those for the lives that they have lived with keeping them at a distance. There isn’t too many I trust too close to me because I have heard what has been said about me when I turn around. You got it all wrong. They have no idea. The raw, crude humour I keep in my breast pocket is locked and loaded and can be used without a second delay, unless of course I am trying to impress you than I close up like a clam and no words, not even whispers could ever leave my mouth.
I remember who I used to be before the beatings used to start. All I wanted was to have a boyfriend like others did but what I got was something far out of my control. Sleepovers stopped. Birthday parties stopped. For the next 1.5 years where others were out building monumental relationships and connections I was getting smokes put out on my underarms and getting bitten in places that can only be seen if you were to remove my clothes. Those in my proximity who knew believe that it was the price to pay to date the neighbourhood rebel. I assumed what they were saying was true. I heard EVERY word he used to say to me. I was worthless, garbage, unloveable. I was lucky that even he would like me but like he said he was a good person, good enough to put up with somebody like me.
The best friends I thought I had were his first. I will never forget watching them watch him whip me with a belt and thinking I truly must have deserved being treated in this way. My crime was trying to set up one of the other girls with a boy so I got caught talking on the phone…to a boy. I was only 12, close to an impressionable 13. My sanity came when I was moved to high school as it gave me a chance to breathe. When the boy that you are involved with is banned from school property all the warning bells need to go off. They didn’t.
I was free from the immediate grip of his anger but I was still being constantly scrutinized. I would get into trouble for talking to anybody and there would be hell to pay when I got home. Yes he weaseled his way into living with me and my family. In a way it was my fault too. I can relate to all the parents of teens because those with tempers seems to manipulate more than the average can do. To get my way I screamed and acted out. I even consumed a large quantity of Tylenol trying to tell my parents I would end my life if they didn’t. That is where my brain went. I thought I couldn’t survive without him. I thought that because of who I was that there was worse waiting for me (and throughout the next 30 years there was). I thought for whatever reason I was broken and garbage and the best I could ever hope for is just a person that will allow me to enter the room.
The fact that I am still here is a testament to the strength and the purity of another. Most days I wore black and wore my hair in front of my eyes. Long sleeve, collared shirts to cover the marks of the beast and keeping to myself as to not attract attention. And there he was my angel. He sat behind me for a short time and class and would check in on me to see if I was ok. He caught my arm once when I turned to hand him our work for the day and he pushed my sleeve up. On my arm for as far as his eyes could see he saw all the bite marks and cigarette burns and for the first time since it all began he became somebody who wanted to help. He became my lifeline with that one kind gesture. He was the one who knew my torment and would listen to my pain. It’s incredible what one smile can do and it is that one smile that changed my life. He showed me what kindness looks like and even better he let me feel the possibility of what it could mean when somebody cares.
Now that was in Grade 9 and a whole lifetime has happened since. With his smile and care for my well being was sparked. Every day that he was in my life gave me hope that maybe one day I could be worthy of a being like him. Of course we got separated in class for talking to much. The year pressed on and my life got worse. I would look for his smile in the halls or on the bus just to try and get through. Sometimes it would work. Most times it didn’t. He was so popular and outgoing he was far too busy to notice me after that. The abuse finally escalated to monumental proportions. Cops were called. My Dad intervened and in the aftermath I was sent away. Of course there was no way to avoid going back to class so I did so incredibly broken, lost and quiet and wouldn’t you know destined never to fit in.
I will never forget that sweet grade 9 boy that gave to me so much hope. I think it is his smile I always search for in a sea of a million but have never been so lucky to find. Sometimes we are lucky and other times not so much. What I know for sure in this moment my heart he forever touched.