Memories of fear
Just woke up from a dream that reminded me of a real memory from when I was little.
I was only four or five…if that, when my father, mother and I went over to the neighbours house one night so they could play cards and hang out. My parents were still fosters at that point and it was before they had their own two children so I was the only child and I was so quiet and well behaved that taking me along was no bother. I would have gone anywhere and done anything that asked of me without question, I was so fearful of them leaving me; especially my mom. To say I was attached to my mom at that time of my life would be an understatement. I could barely stand to have her leave my sight, let alone leave me with a babysitter alone at home. The neighbours had some older children, the youngest of which was still so much older than me I thought of her as a teenager, minimum…almost grown up in my eyes. I think she was probably 13-15, and I was in awe of her. She took me to her room while or parents talked and I was mesmerized by her stuff…her mirror covered in peeling photographs of friends and summer camp memories; her hot pink phone with the cool cradle and huge dial (remember those? I can almost hear the sound of them dialling right now. My fingers were so little they often got caught under the metal stopper as the dial was turned). I thought she was pretty damn cool and I was quite excited to be allowed in her room. I sat in the floor while she flopped on her bed and waited politely to see what came next. I didn’t want to do something stupid and get kicked out for being a baby and I really, really wanted her to like me.
“So Grainne, you’re a pretty smart kid right?” She asked.
I nodded my head vigorously, hoping it impressed her, my being smart.
“So then you know why you’re here right?” She asked next.
I didn’t have a clue what she meant but I wanted to keep up the smart charade so I nodded yes, I knew. Of course I knew.
“So tell me then.”
Crap. Busted. I remember blushing crimson, my ears on fire. I mumbled something I thought might pass.
“What? I didn’t hear you?”
I might have tried again or maybe just came clean and asked for the answer.
“You’re here because my family is going to kill your family.” She said, frankly and directly, coming in so close to my face I skittered backwards submissively.
I felt my heart stop for a moment in my chest and panic began. I got up, my head swimming and fuzzy.
“I want to see my mom…” I said in a tiny, shaking voice quickly approaching tears.
“Nope. You’re supposed to stay here with me. My mom and dad are downstairs killing your mom and dad and I’m supposed to wait until they give me the signal and then I will kill you.” She whispered in a scary voice that doubled my panic.
“Noo! I cried out and made a leap towards the door but she beat me there and held the door knob so I couldn’t get out.
I started to panic for real then, clawing at the door and the crack between the door and it’s frame as if I could get my fingers between and pry it open. “You can’t kill my mom! You can’t!” I sobbed, full-on crying now, heaving chest, shaking from head to toe. I believed her whole heartedly and was desperate to get out of that room.
She grabbed me around the waist and picked me up, I was such a tiny little thing as a child it was easily done, and she clamped her hand over my mouth and nose. I started to kick and struggle screaming into her hand. I was so frightened I wet myself.
“Oh my god! You little shit, you fucking peed on me!” She yelled, dropping me.
I took my chance and made a break for the door, opened it with difficulty because my hands were soaked with sweat and ran to the stairs. I was so scared I didn’t pay attention to the steps and tumbled down the stairs all the way to the bottom, knocking the wind out of myself. Unable to draw a breath I tore into the kitchen where our parents were playing cards I crashed into my fathers arms and, finally breathing again, almost howled in terror.
“They’re going to kill you daddy! We have to get out of here!” I screamed, so panicked I don’t think they understood me.
The rest of the memory is a mix of humiliation, intense embarrassment and relief as they explained to me that she had just been kidding, playing a game with me, that I was overreacting and embarrassing them in front of their friends.
“But it wasn’t funny…” I wailed, now sitting in my mother’s lap although I don’t remember her holding me or anything. She wasn’t like that.
The girl was just messing with me. I was probably very gullible at that point in my life, being so young and so sensitive. I don’t remember ever going back over there again but we still saw them on the street from time to time. The daughter who terrorized me that day eventually killed herself and her father, my dads best mate, who had been raping her for most of her life decided to turn his attentions and desires my way, having only sons left. My dad let it happen a few times but some strange mix of possessiveness and jealousy clouded things and he called a stop to it after that.
It was weird, remembering that time. In retrospect I feel bad for her, for the horror she must have been going through for her to want to scare a little child so badly. I imagine she was trying to find some sort of power or control over another human being, not being able to save herself. I don’t hold any grudge against her. I blame her father, really.
Gah. That was a shitty memory to start my Sunday with. Right then. I just woke up from 20 hours sleep. Let’s see if I can make it to dinner before I crash again.