I was young
. I was so young, and beautiful, filled with light and beaver dams and summer. It's so hard to go back there, but I do it for you, because I love you.
One day, so long ago it seems, I was a tiny, vibrant child running through a vast forest. This vast forest was a stand of trees separating my house from that of my grand-uncle. I can't even guess at the dimensions now, but to a boy of three years, these trees were a wonder, a journey fraught with dangers which could easily take the unwary. I was not one of these: I could run through there and never become entangled by a root or snagged by a thornberry bush. Once, playing in my bedroom, attempting to place my small, black-and-white television which took two minutes to warm up on the top bunk, my ancient telephone rang its tired ring. My mother answered: Audrey baked fresh ginger snaps, and uncle Chris wanted to see me. I spun, a child's mad spin, and flew out the door, with the joy only ginger snaps could bring causing my eyes to shine brighter than any stars in the nighttime sky.
Their house was like a quiet rest after a long hike in the woods. Quaint, there was a timeless wrought-iron wood stove in the kitchen, and a gigantic grandfather clock standing sentinel by the door. But the pendulum never swung, and the stove was never lit. The living room was small, with enough room for three old people and a child of three to play TV Bingo in, safely, with room for ginger snaps to spare.
Downstairs was the main bathroom with its strange double faucets and lack of cupboards underneath. There was Sandy's room, but I never saw it. Don't ever go in Uncle Sandy's room with him, Devon, sometimes he can do things that mommy's told you about, he'll touch you in your private parts. He's sick, Dev. Remember. Don't go in his room. So I never did. I didn't want anyone touching my private parts. My private parts were for peeing, that's all. Upstairs was a small bathroom with no bathtub, but the door was broken. You had to kind of squish your way through, imagining yourself like an accordion, inhaling and growing long. Upstairs was also grampy Jim's and Audrey's room. Chris was waiting up there like a carrion bird with dull eyes and a friendly voice.
I had smiles of intangible happiness to share, and when he spit on my hand for lubrication, I remember thinking how nice the sunset is over the soon-to-be-bare trees. Some time passed, and I was somewhere else, flying through the warm summer air on a cushion of clouds. I remember being pushed up, up into the sky, where no harm or pain could come to me. I remember how sticky the air was at times: it could sneak up on you, and before you knew what had happened, you were sticky too. Later, when I moved away from that place to Toronto, the air was stickier, and the sodomy even worse. I was powerless to stop the way things were for me, but it did not daunt me or faze me until I was a grown-up.
My father was in and out of my life, coming periodically into my life to teach me the ways of Japan, the way they would fight. Perhaps he did this to teach me how to creatively beat up women, but he was the father of hypocrisy, in all truth. He maimed Japanese life in his teachings, made me see that the things he could do were his gift to me, that I might pass them down to my wife, my children. Dad would come to beat my mother or trash the apartment. I had no other father figure, no other male in my life to show me how things were. Uncle Chris was the only one to do that for me, and he did it badly. He was mistreated as a child and angry, though this forgives nothing of his actions. It does provide insight into why he was more of a gargoyle than a human being. He joined a "nigger gang", as his father called it, and became addicted to crack, to gain that same father's love.
It was this love that he bestowed upon me through sexual abuse.
As opposed to my father, my mother was a perfect parent. She raised me right, told me about sex, what it was, and told me to steer away from people in my family who weren't quite right. But she didn't expect her brother, because she believed, as did I, that Chris loved me. I have no doubt that he did love me, loved me the same way he loved a dog he humped and forced me to stay in the room, but look away while he did. After that incident, I was told to examine a set of tattered shoji blinds my grandparents owned while I sat on his lap and squirmed like a snared thing. I was going to visit other family that day; I was actually wearing my glasses despite how much I hated them, and I was dressed up fine. A little handsome gentleman I was, and he ruined my pants with a stain. It was absolutely imperative that I find new pants, he said, these ones would never do. How could I ruin them, he would ask. I told him in dead earnest, I didn't ruin them, you did. I was slapped. A mocking, light slap rather than the rough backhand I probably would have preferred.
I recall little of that summer, aside from being chased by a swarm of bees I had coaxed from a withered hive. I may have picked blueberries, may have eaten them until my face was blue. I may have learned to ride a bike. It's also possible that Anne took me for a walk in the woods, telling me to stay away from all of them, they know not what they do. The air was sticky with heat, but I felt no danger. Why, I asked her, why should I stay away, I love them all. Because they will hurt you, and you'll never run in the woods again if you tell your mom about the hurting. These things may have happened.
When I was eight, a few years later, I permitted myself to be coaxed to the land of sticky air and strange nighttime occurences. I was a bright young fellow then, handsome, but my eyes were always in shadow. I was at a loss to explain why; my father was in my life, and aside from the beatings my mother would receive, I loved him very much. I was happy, but not as happy as I had been receiving the ginger snaps, the little round cookies with flavour I now only associate with hot summer days when the leaves begin to turn. That happiness will never come back, I assume. When I returned to New Brunswick, the unthinkable happened, though not in as brutal a fashion. I could not hear/feel the ripping sound in my bum. I did not go into hysterics. I was smarter this time. I feigned sleep at first, which failed. I wanted to be dreaming, dreaming of a castle, or dinosaurs, or please, maybe even The Neverending Story. Or Transformers. Hurry up, mind, give me something.
When I woke again, it was because of lack of oxygen. I was underneath the heavy, winter quilts on Chris's bed. Rap music was playing loudly, and there was something warm and hard-soft being pressed against my lips. It was put into my mouth, at which time I began to sort out that it was not a ??snake?? but Chris's penis in my mouth. I rolled over, and made a muffled grunt like an animal awakened from a doze. Then, I performed an act of sheer will that even the Buddha would be proud of. I told my brain:
And I did. But not for long. I was awakened because my mouth was full, and I was gagging. I was angry now. I could feel the hysterical anger in my belly, like a knife made of putty, or clay. I said, in a very clear, robotic unemotional voice: "The next time you put that fucking thing in my mouth, I'm biting." He burst into laughter. He laughed as if he'd seen the funniest of funny things dance through the room, singing the funny-happy songs of funny-happyland.
You'd never do that do your uncle Chris, he told me. He was wrong, though. When I went to the washroom to sort myself out afterward, I debated bringing my grand-mother's old but deadly sharp butcher knife to bed with me, I remember that clearly enough. The thought must have occurred at some point that a boy with a small bit of blood on the bum of his jammies, carting a butcher knife would look more than a little odd. It took me a while - six years or so - to come forward and say, "Yes, it happened! I hath told me tale, and I hath become whole again, let us drink and be merry, much fun will be had by all!" Six years. An infinity of doubting myself, wondering if I enjoyed it, wondering if I had a disease, wondering if I had forgiven, wondering if I told, would Chris kill me in my sleep. One day, while sitting at my aunt's house, my aunt was having a sort of group therapy session, where people were speaking of their various childhood traumas.
Resolution: The act, operation, or process of resolving. Specifically: (a) The act of separating a compound into its elements or component parts. (b) The act of analyzing a complex notion, or solving a vexed question or difficult problem.
I pulled her aside, and told her what happened. Through a chain of irrelevant events, I ended up at court, Chris charged with various small sex-related charges. They tried him under the Young Offenders Act, which I understood, but still dislike to this day. Other family members were questioned, a couple of cousins, aunts, uncles. I'll outline the major points from some police questionings.
- My cousin, Justin, was not molested by Chris.
- My cousin, Krystal, was not molested.
- Claims from my grandmother, two aunts, and Chris himself, point out that my mother had been hospitalized for "insanity," and also point out that she was in therapy and parental counselling. Now, my mother had been in therapy, because of her own severe child sexual abuse. She was never in parental counselling, and she was never hospitalized for any reason related to her parenting duties.
- Claims by various family members saying that my mother hated Chris, wanted to see him put in jail. My mother loved Chris, despite his many and major flaws. He was her half-brother, and she protected him as a child, from the severe beatings his father would bestow as "necessary."
- Claims that I had delusions, and had been seeing a psychologist. Unfounded and untrue. The only encounter I had with a person closely related to the psychological field of study was with a social worker, because of an extremely vaunted intelligence. I had been showing signs of Asperger's Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, and an IQ test was required to adequately place me and tend to my needs in elementary school. I was always in close contact with my elementary school's guidance counselor, because I was exceptionally bright; so much so that I became frustrated easily, as well as being belligerent and rather insulting to students whom I considered to be dumber than I was. Once, at the request of the Crown Prosecutor, I was examined by a psychologist to ascertain whether or not it could be untrue, the things I was claming about Chris. Unfortunately, I debased and belittled and toyed with the psychologist, and left.
- Chris claims I am a scapegoat, that I was molested by someone else that is out of my reach. I always liked this one. Oh no, it was definitely him, in all his mammoth, stupid glory. Though, to his credit, I seem to recall being molested by someone else, too, but this person had no penis, and also had breasts. But this memory is very faint, so I won't continue.
Here and Now
I am a twenty-one year old father of a two-and-a-half year old girl. She is my angel, a little life to be sung of. She is beautiful, radiant girl, like her mother, with the questing, happy curiosity I had as a boy. It's taken me seven years to be able to confront whatever demons I still have, but I find that I have a few remaining issues I need resolved.
First, I had a difficulty with infidelity and promiscuity as a younger man. I would have sex with anyone, for the instant gratification. Not that this is wrong for everyone, but it was for me. I could have picked up a disease; I could have gotten crabs, and been publicly humiliated. I was still so young, only fifteen or so.
Problems with drugs, as well. Particularly, weed, cocaine, and booze. Those who have done these drugs know that cocaine and alcohol do not agree with the system, and I became depressed, so I stopped using, all at once. Did a lot of other drugs, too, but lost my taste for them. I still smoke pot now and them, and occasionally I debate doing "harder" drugs, but I doubt I will. Most of the time, it's in remembrance of times when I did have some fun. Now, I tend to a beautiful baby who will very soon grow into a young woman, who will very soon have children of her own. I relish my days. I wait for her smiles.
It's not surprise to me that it's been indicated that I have all sorts of wonderful ailments: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder. I experienced horrific things in my childhood. There was much mental strain, as one could guess. But I believe that I've come out on top. I don't think I'll ever be better. I don't think things will end up 100% okay in my life. I just hope to carry on until tomorrow. I have survived my sexual abuse, a good many people do not. That's how it is. I'm glad to be here, in this place, I know that much. I'm glad I can still cherish the feeling of sand between my toes, of the warm, comforting feel of a blanket. I still love fresh-baked bread and I love to eat new foods, see new things, meet new people. I am thankful for these gifts, and every now and then they make me forget any hurts, any pains. Sometimes, I can even imagine myself floating on a summer breeze, being cushioned by puffy white clouds.