There are days that stand out as becons, their rays of emotional turmoil showing themselves on quiet, dark moments.
They no longer appear as often in my mind, thankfully.
And yet, tonight, one keeps surfacing. Why?
Why am I experiencing my teenage self, sitting in the passenger seat of my mother’s car which is parked in a stationary store parking lot. She is holding the steering wheel, looking straight ahead so as to not make eye contact with me.
“Will you ever forgive him so he can move back in (pause that seems to last an eternity, though in truth but a few seconds) or do I have to divorce him and get on with my life.”
There it was. Another knife through my heart. Worse than when she first discovered her second husband, my adoptive father, had molested me and proceeded to tell me it never happened, all the terrible things that would happen to us if i ever told anyone, to burn my diary, to never speak another word of it to anyone again.
It confirmed to me that I really did not matter to her. If she really loved me how could she not do everything to keep me safe.
In that moment i knew i was nothing.
If i was nothing, at least I could help her be happy. If she asked me it meant she wanted him over me. I had to find a way out, to allow her that happiness I was bound not to have. So my reply, “Do you love him? I’m going to be going to college in a few years.”
She did choose him over me. I escaped as soon as I was able.
Perhaps it would not hurt as much had she not ultimately divorced him a few years later.
We all want to know that we will be protected my those we love. The truth is sometimes we must protect ourselves from them.
Why that moment is surfacing today will take more reflection.
*For the grammar Nazis, the instances of i where I is expected were intentional.