Warning: This is not a pleasant post. This is therapy in writing. If you know me in real life, but haven't told me you visit this blog, now is the time to stop reading.
I used to love figuring out what my parents were doing when they were my age. It can really give a new perspective. At eighteen, I thought about my parents getting married at that same age, and felt very young. When I was twenty, I thought "This is how old my birth mother was when she had me" and suddenly, I could empathize with what a sudden pregnancy did to her life. When I was 26, and getting married, I realized that mom had an eight year old, and was adopting a two year old at 26. At thirty, my parents had 3 children, ages 12, 6, and 4. When he was my age, my father started molesting me, his 11 year old daughter. Suddenly, one of my favourite games is not so fun. I don't like the new perspective, and I don't want to make him seem human, like me.
I look at my husband, and try to imagine how someone like him, the age of his friends, could touch an 11 year old girl. How could a man beginning his ministerial career think God would forgive him, over and over, if he just knelt next to his daughter's bed and prayed. He had a wife, a teenager, two younger girls. What made me stand out? What convinced him I would be quiet?
For years, I've quietly put those parts of my life away, tucked into a dark corner. I thought I had forgiven him. In my mind, he has always been an indefinite age, a distant shadow from a different time. Now, I am there. The same place in life. Beginning a career, a family, a home.
I cannot fathom what went through his mind the first night he came to my room. I know he planned it. I know he had carefully set the groundwork in place, checked my reactions, eased into the situation. He justified each step to himself, to me, and ultimately, to his God. "It's important for children to know what adults look like naked" He explained to mom, after I told her I had seen him change his underwear. She turned to me. "Well, you should have known better and left the room". That was the last time I told her.
Each step was carefully checked and re-checked, to make sure I wouldn't crack. The increments were small to reduce the chances of shocking me into talking. If seeing is okay, then touching must be fine. One finger is all right, so a child-size hand wrapped around an adult should be no problem. And so it went. For years and years, an entire adolescence defined by Time within his reach, versus Blessed time away.
It's been many years since then, and until this week I thought I had let go of the anger, but I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I have so much anger I don't know what to do with it, or how to get it out before it consumes me. I had managed to reduce him to a ghost, a faded snapshot, another world. Now, thanks to my "at this age" game, I'm being forced to see him as a contemporary. He is suddenly so very, painfully real to me. He was someone's husband. He had friends, the same age as my friends. He had car payments, a house, a life. He was a Daddy.
I am 35 years old. When he was my age, my father started molesting me.