I have been home for awhile now. The sting of the hospital, dealing with my emotions related to my mother, dealing with life in general made me exhausted. I parlayed those feeling into a fake sense of calm and capitulation with my new reality of being more ‘normal’ for my family. I laughed more, engaged more, and sometimes even believed that I was getting better. Then, inevitably they would come.
The flashbacks are always unwanted and come at a time I least expect them or want them. Sometimes they come with painful body memories of feeling pierced from behind. Other times it would be a picture, a word, a glance at a past life that would be just enough to send me into a spiral of forgotten memory that would encompass me and hold me down. Living life through flashbacks is like looking through a glass heavily stained with dirt and soot. I could see what was happening, but I wasn’t really there.
Seized in this tumult of past and present, I was struggling to keep myself from going back to the hospital. My wife was extra vigilant, which in many ways made things worse because I felt the sorrow and pity she felt for me ooze in stunted pleas disguised as caring. In reality she was more afraid of me killing myself again than anything else. I could understand.
After a few weeks I had been lulled into thinking the flashbacks had subsided and that maybe I really was getting a grasp on using my tools to stay present. I even had sex with just my wife for a change. It was in one of those happy moments, where I was watching my children, and smelling yumminess coming from the kitchen, that it happened . . .
I asked him to be my father on Sunday. I was so very excited to hear his response. “I’d be honored,” he said with a lustful sneer. Peering deep into my soul with his callous eyes, I instantly wondered if that was the right decision. Something didn't feel right.
It’s what every fatherless child wants, to have a role model, to have someone to guide them on the way to adulthood. I told everyone I knew on Monday, looking for affirmation that everything was going to be ok. It was going to be ok. He was going to mentor me and be my father after my real father died.
My mother was so happy for me, she told me that’s what I needed, a patriarch to build a boy into a man. On Tuesday, I thought about all I would talk about with my new daddy. I even wrote a list of topics so I wouldn't forget. All my problems and loneliness would be ok. He was my pastor, he could pray for me. God would answer his prayers. God had answered my prayer.
Went to church on Wednesday; was it something I said? He walked right by me. Didn't even see me. Perhaps everything wasn't going to be ok. Why did he not stop to shake my hand? I know he is busy--so many other people to talk to, not just me. Tomorrow, I will get to see him. Tomorrow I’ll have him to myself. He will tell me it will be ok.
I couldn't wait to get home from school. I had my list with me. I looked it over again and again to make sure it was still there, to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. I think these six topics will be a good start to our first time together. Thursday would be the beginning of a new life. A life that would be ok. I would become a good man; I would become a man that others respected. A man just like my dad.
I was so happy, truly everything would be just fine. I told everyone on Friday how kind and understanding he was to me. I told my mother what a wise man he was and that he had given me good advice. She was relieved to know that I was going to turn out like my father because I had a new father. My father was my mentor. My father was my pastor. My father prayed, and God listened.
Saturday, I made sure to read my bible. I prayed that I wouldn't do anything to disappoint my new daddy. Made sure to be ready for church tomorrow. I was excited to see him again. It was all heading in the right direction. I could find the man hidden deep inside me.
I wore my best shirt, tan leather tie, new shoes and polyester black pants. I would see him; He would see me. Father and son at church on Sunday morning. I would feel special. My tie straightened as he walked the foyer toward me. My hand out to shake his hand, congratulate him on such a thoughtful sermon. Did I say something wrong? Was it the leather tie? He walked right by me; didn't even look at me.
My daddy still loves me, even though he didn't shake my hand. He is busy with all the others. He has a big church. I will see him on Thursday. We will talk more. There is a girl I like. I will ask him how to talk to her. I told everyone I knew that my new daddy would help me become a man. I told everyone that I was going to be ok.
Ok. I was going to be ok. I was going to become a good man. I was going to be a gentleman. I was going to be like my daddy who died. My new daddy would teach me. I was going to be ok. I told everyone I was going to be ok.
I ran to church that day, excited to see him again that day. He penetrated me that day. He broke me that day. His thoughtful sermon spread out on his desk. He raped me that day.
I told no one the next day. It was not ok.