Finding Scary

Finding Scary

I was trying to figure out when scary started. I have a distinct memory of being terrified as a child, but when I try to reference it, my memory goes deeper to scarier times.

Scary started deep in my subconscious or at least deep in my earliest childhood memories. So early that I didn’t understand scary, evil, love and joy. I would sit in my highchair at a year old and watch my dad and mom argue and yell at each other. Eventually he would stop yelling and start punching after she said enough encouraging words. He would punch her repeatedly in the face and stomach. The stomach was a good option for him because she was very pregnant. He was hoping for the opportunity to hurt her physically and break her if he could cause her to lose the baby too. By the time I was three, it was very common to see them fight with fists every night. I would walk in the kitchen and see her lying on the floor in the fetal position with blood pooling around her head. Sometimes the police would come by, but it was the early 80s and it was still okay for a man to beat his wife, especially if he could talk his way out of what exactly happened.

Eventually, she left him and they divorced. He moved to Florida and she took me to Washington State.

I have memories of laying on a cot in a women’s shelter snuggled up against my mom for protection.
The room was large and filled with hundreds of women and children. The shelter wasn’t there to protect her, but simply to give her a place to sleep. She was crying and scared. Years later I would learn that she had been pregnant and aborted the child after leaving my dad.

I was four and the world was fast and frightening.

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