I felt vindicated. I finally had my say after waiting over three decades. I could tell anyone that the feeling of peace is greatly underestimated. How many people really know what it is, the feeling of weight being lifted off their shoulders and a sense of freedom? Freedom comes in many forms. When you can sit and feel true release of pessimistic emotions, then you know peace. I am not an addict of any kind, but if I were, I can only explain this natural feeling by comparing it to what a few sedatives must feel like after the effects have been revealed. Serenity, tranquility, emotionless, and release from years of rage, disappointments, feelings of worthlessness and pity. I felt this feeling that day. I never knew that letting go meant letting go. Literally. I will never be the same.
We had been shopping for hours for clothing. My mother, her son, and I, had this day planned for weeks. My mother never did much shopping. She never even left the house much except to work... We had a glorious day going to the big city maxing out my credit cards. My sibling and mother were not used to such privilege. They were only allowed to shop for clothing at rummage sales and resale shops, and if the price was over a quarter, than forget it, it was too much to pay. I wanted them to forget that nonsense and indulge. The looks on their faces told a thousand words. They were delighted to say the least, like two children in a candy store for the first time. I thought to myself, do I take the ability to shop for granted? I don’t really think so. I think that my mother and brother’s keeper spends too much time worried about money, the Russians, and himself. He is quite a disturbed individual. He thinks everyone is out to get him, and the notion of spending money in an actual store was enough to send him on a rampage about conspiracies and what really my motivation was, what was I hiding and not telling him. He is full of foolishness and arrogance. He awakes in the mornings with one thing on his mind; how to make some one’s life miserable that day.
That evening we returned to my mother’s home. Her and my younger brother, who is six years old, put on what seems like a Christmas performance, opening every bag with much surprise, as if they had forgot what was in them. Their eyes were lit up with joy and enlightenment. I felt so much joy for them. This was blissful. This is the feeling of kindness, like giving a homeless man a blanket. I didn’t care about the price or the acknowledgement, only that I had made their day better.
Then, out of nowhere, her keeper, also known as her husband, explodes his temper. I felt pieces of it land on every part of me. It was disgusting. I knew what she was feeling, what my brother was feeling. I had felt it before. The fear he instilled was horrifying, wondering what he would do or say. How far he would go to guarantee terror upon his family? Only he knew, but we had seen him go pretty far before. We knew his potential all too well. It was frightening. When I was a child he spent every minute of his waking hours breaking me. He was breaking my already defected self worth. He hated me. He hated me with an obsession. I never knew why, and I never questioned it. I only knew that he did.
My mind wondered to a place I detested going; the past. I had sudden flashbacks of those days I spent without food, water, and even bathroom privileges. I was a modern day slave. A child slave who’s only fault was being born. I worked on his farm doing manly chores. I would work until my fingers literally bled shoveling horse manure, digging four foot deep holes by hand, and cutting acres upon acres of hay with a sickle. But that was never good enough. I had to work harder or suffer severe consequences. Those consequences were stomach turning. If his brutal demands were not met then I was subject to corporal punishment and worse. I can sleep outdoors with the animals in the barn, bath in the horse troughs. I ate my meals with the animals, if I was allowed meals, which only consisted of bread and butter or peanut butter. I was never allowed to sit down at the table for a family meal. I repulsed him. I was 13 years old, 5’5” tall, I only weighed 85lbs. I was a twig, a bean pole. I was fragile to say the least, yet I continued to do as told for fear of reprisal. I was starving not only for food, but attention, loving attention. This type of life was all I ever knew. I thought this was normal. I thought this was how all families treated their children. We were only born into this world to be servants.
Then I snapped back into reality. I realized his anger was intensifying. Who was he going to take it out on this time? I hated to leave my mother alone, although I felt it was time for me to leave. I was an adult now and could make that decision. I could just leave and not look back. I knew that wasn’t the thing to do. I had to protect my mother. The two of them began to argue intensely. He turned his back away from where we sat at the kitchen table. Then, the next thing I remember is being thrown from my chair. He had just hit me. I was stunned. He hit me so hard I was thrown from my seat. This wasn’t like the beatings I took before, this was different. Without thinking another thought, I arose from the ground and tackled him. With all 120lbs of my body I beat him. I punched him, kicked him, and spit on him. I was on top on the world. I was supreme. I held the power; it was my time to reign and I succeeded and was extremely proud.
In his statement to the police officer that had arrived moments after the brawl erupted, he said he couldn’t believe his step-daughter could kick his ass. Well, I did, and I was then free. I felt peace.