Photo: Razor wire on the River Walk in West Sacramento, CA.
Some people believe we choose our own parents before birth. I beg to differ. If this were true, I certainly would not have chosen the father whose DNA merged with my mother’s to create me. He was the personification of evil; the sly, sadistic, terrorist type who hid his bad deeds with the skill of the most talented sociopath. Everyone outside of our family who knew him loved him. His personality could charm the Queen of England; with his toothy grin and his Elvis Presley swagger. He was a man’s man, a former Green Beret and an avid outdoorsman. Yet he had a putrid, ugly side that hid well in the shadows. It had to in order to survive.
My childhood felt nothing less than a prison; my cell was a dark, dank and musty place filled with constant fear of the demon’s prowl. My nights were sleepless followed by days of a foggy haze. It took every bit of my strength to survive the pain he meted out on my child’s soul. I learned early on to be an actress on the stage of life, to make everything appear just fine on the outside, while my insides bled profusely. My screams filled every cell of my internal being but those around me never heard. His threats were palpable so I kept silent. Every day of my existence was a living horror film; adrenaline poised. It was an on-the-edge-of-my-seat fear of impending terror. I was hyper-aware of every dark space, every lingering shadow, every threatening noise.
My whole childhood I prayed to a God who did not listen; who failed to save me from the pain at this monster’s hands. He continued to prowl this earth until my 40th birthday, though from the age of 18, I made sure I was safe from his grasp. The day my father died I did not shed a single tear for him. Inside I felt only sadness for the memory of my childhood lost and an empty nothingness towards a father who should have never been. For me there can be no forgiveness when there is no admittance of sin.
I survived a Hell that no child should have to suffer, yet many do. The one thing the experience did give me was a strength beyond measure. I will never be anyone’s victim again. The memories on occasion still rear their ugly head, but I am no longer powerless to defeat them. I am now the owner of my own soul and it is free to live a long, happy and fulfilling life if I so choose. While his soul, if there is a Hell, is burning slowly, painfully, without pause. And I rest peacefully in the knowledge, though related by blood, there is not a single tie that binds me to this pathetic man who made the choice to stalk innocence from the shadows without a single ounce of remorse.