At the morning alarm I quickly pulled a T-shirt over my head. Still deeply feeling anxiety from the night before, I rushed downstairs to make my two children breakfast. “Jessie” was blaring on the TV. I knew that if I was to calm down, and anything was to be done without my screaming and tears, the TV needed to be off. It was a morning like every other morning. Routine.
Soon the pleasant odor of cinnamon raisin oatmeal and freshly ground coffee filled the air. Zoe and Liam finished breakfast, brushed their hair and teeth, and then put their shoes, coats and backpacks on. It was 8:30, time to go to school. I put my coat and slippers on, and we headed out into the winter morning. It was colder than I thought, and I really should have spent the time to wear warmer shoes. Both children holding a hand, we walked over the ice and snow the two blocks to the school. Routine.
Upon arrival at the school, I gave them both kisses and told them to be safe. I turned around and quickly walked home. I was excited to get home and drink a steaming cup of coffee. My feet were really very cold. “Tomorrow I will make sure to wear shoes before I leave in the morning,” I thought to myself.
The hours both kids were in school was my quiet time to process the events from the day before and do some writing or straightening around the house. Dishes needed to be washed, laundry folded, the floor swept, vacuuming. This day was dishes and laundry. I savor these quiet times when there is no one around me to distract from my thoughts or task. Soon, it was time to take a quick shower before I needed to walk back to school and pick my son up from his half-day kindergarten class. Routine.
As I headed up to my shower, I climbed the stairs into another time and place. The tan carpet beneath my bare feet turned to gray concrete.
I put my hand into the cold stream of water, the frigid temperature bit at my skin just enough to push my mind further into its dissociative state. “Go home. Take a shower,” I heard him say to me. I stepped inside and let the warm water pour over my skin. “Use soap this time,” he ordered me once again. I slowly looked around and found the white bar of Ivory soap on a shelf to my right. I began to lather myself washing his stink and semen off of me. It was too much effort. I stumbled to the rear wall of the small shower cube, fell to the floor. Routine.
I blacked out. The warm water slowly washed away the suds in streamlets down my naked body. I can't say how long I was on the floor. Just as the water became cold again I awakened, stood up and wrapped a towel around my waist. I wondered why my fingers had become wrinkled as if I had been in the water a long time. It only seemed to me that it was a few moments. Routine.
I wanted to feel rage. I was comfortable with rage. I wanted to scream hate-filled profanities in AFB’S direction. I wanted to cry. I wanted to release the emotion in some sudden and energetic burst. I knew how to use anger, rage, shock, or disbelief to energize myself. I could control that wild fury and clean the house. At the end I would be too exhausted to be angry. I would feel better that I was able to accomplish something. That was my routine.
It was different this time. I was different. There was no energy in me. I felt deep loneliness and depression. It was as if I were in a different gravitational field. Each movement and breath took more effort than I was willing to give. After I finished brushing my teeth, I fell on the bed desperately trying to catch my breath. I needed to find something left in me and walk the two short blocks to the elementary school and retrieve my son from kindergarten class. The only thing I could do was to put the experience away, to hide it deep inside so that I could function in my present day world. As I determined to stuff away the experience in the shower I was able to rise up and continue the rest of the day. Lunch for me and the boy was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Liam had his PB&J with mustard, ketchup, and ham. He then had me cut the concoction into ten tiny triangles. We laughed as I uploaded the video to Facebook.
After lunch, we sang the ABC’s and practiced writing the letter “F”
“F” for Fur
“F” for Fox
“F” for Fix
“F” for FUBAR. I am Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
“F” for Fluffy
“F” for when the fuck am I going to get free from this shit?
“F” for factory
“F” for fuck it
In exhaustion from trying to put on a happy face for Liam, my head fell with a thud on the kitchen table. “I can't do anymore. Please go upstairs and play.” I shut my eyes and listened as he trotted to his room.
“Fuck, this sucks. I hate being a survivor. I don't want to be a survivor anymore. I don't want to heal, its too much fucking work.” I muttered to myself.
I moved over to the couch and pulled my knees into my chest and tried to focus on my favorite Canadian television program “The Trailer Park Boys.” It wasn't long before I had forgotten about the shower and the day continued like every other day. Routine.
I suppose I put it away too far, the experience disappeared from my waking memory. The energy was gone from me. It wasn't until 6 months later. …