I was standing in front of the TV when it happened. I was just standing there. I wasn’t doing anything. I should say I didn’t feel like I was doing anything because while I wasn't actively doing anything I was passively interfering with someone else’s viewing pleasure. I was blocking the view of the tennis match on TV. I didn’t mean to be doing it. I wasn’t even thinking. I was just standing there.

Object lessons are effective lessons. After my dad hit me with the wire handle of the fly swatter I never stood in front of the TV again. To this day I do not watch TV. There’s nothing bad or wrong with TV, I just choose not to watch it. Growing up in an abusive household is tough. That may sound obvious but there are implications beyond the U-shaped welt on your leg.

Neither of my parents are big drinkers and that makes the abuse harder for me to understand. Both of my parents have serious rage issues. I turned my mother in for child abuse when I was in grade school. It was not long after the fly swatter incident. I was supposed to be practicing the piano but I was fooling around instead. The social worker took pictures of my bruises and the police paid my mother a visit at work.

She was crying about it when I got home. She told me that she loved me but I didn’t believe her. I still don’t believe her because the screams of my sisters echo in my ears. When you’re a child you don’t run as fast as adults do no matter how terrified you are. The terror recedes as you age but it haunts you late at night in the form of dreams and nightmares. You grow up but you don’t get over it. You don’t trust people easily. You’re always afraid of what people are going to do to hurt you.

Counseling helps but it doesn’t erase the memories and you still see your parents. You still live with them. They pay your bills. You eat their food. You depend on them for survival and you still love them. You don’t understand it and you keep on loving them merely because they’re your parents. You don’t have anyone else to take care of you and you want so desperately to believe that somehow someday something you do will be good enough for them to stop hitting you.

I'm not sure what about the trip to California brought this to the surface and I'm sorry mom but I would rather see people than things so perhaps it's best if we don't take trips together in the future.

P.S. You wouldn’t have to ask whether I write about you or not if you ever took the time to read things I’ve written. This one is for you.

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