At ten years old life is not half bad. It’s been a year and a half since my Grandfather died and I never think about the things he used to do to me anymore. As time goes by I’ll manage to block them out completely. Well almost anyway.
At ten years old, I am unaware that forgetting those things doesn’t make them go away. I don’t know yet how those things have set me up to be a perpetual victim of more and more abuse.
At ten years old, I am naive enough not to know that the death of my molester is not the closing of the door to the things that have been done to me, the things that made me sick and scared, no that door is not closed at all. It has been taken off its hinges. The doorway now sits wide open, waiting for perpetrator after perpetrator to walk through it.
At ten years old, I am blissfully unaware that this is just a reprieve and soon these carefree days will abruptly come to an end.
For the time being, I am enjoying my summer with my best friend. We spend our days riding double on her pink huffy, playing house in her basement and swimming in her above ground pool in our matching orange bathing suits with the little yellow ducks that I begged my mom to buy for us.
I have no idea what lies ahead or how bad it will get. Not even when her visiting teenage cousin sticks his hand down my bathing suit bottoms when he is tickling us causing me to feel dirty, embarrassed and ashamed, not even then, do I have any idea of what lies ahead.
At first, the changes will be subtle. Sometime during the next year my mother will change her status from housewife to working woman. She will take a full time job in a warehouse working the overnight shift. She will work all night and sleep all day. What little supervision my brother and I have will become nonexistent.
She will hire a babysitter to watch us while she works. This babysitter will not be a mature, responsible adult that comes to our house to watch over us while we peacefully sleep in our own beds. It will be a drug addicted teenage mother that has a small apartment over a store. We will sit there in her small living room among her friends while they take turns going into the bathroom to shoot up. In the mornings she will remain passed out while we get ready for school and I will feed and dress her toddler daughter and leave her sitting in front of the TV when we leave.
At ten years old, I don’t know yet, that this is the first crack in the foundation of my life.