Home Is Where The Hurt Is: Mary’s Story, Part Seven
HA notes: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Mary” is a pseudonym. The following series is an original non-fiction story that spans 33 pages of single-spaced sentences. It will be divided into 10 parts. The story begins during the author’s early childhood and goes up to the present. At each stage the author writes according to the age she is at.
Trigger warnings: various parts of this story contain descriptions of graphic, often sadistic, physical abuse of children, apologisms for religious abuse, deprivation of food, as well as references to rape.
Part Seven: Losing Rita
Tonight is bath night. I am so happy about that because we don’t have to do any mopping. Mom sends Abby and I to take our baths and we hurry to obey. We love taking baths together and we have fun together. I love getting in the warm water because it feels so good on my sore feet and bottom from all the spankings.
We get in and start playing. We brought our Barbies in with us because we love playing with them in the tub. Abby has a special Barbie that has a bathing suit that changes color when you put it in the water. We are having so much fun that we lose track of time. All of a sudden we hear stomping down the hall way and we know that Mom is coming to get us. I am terrified because I know we are in big trouble. We have still not washed our hair yet. Mom storms into the bathroom with the belt and screams at us why we are not out yet. I do not know what to say so I say I don’t know.
She yells at us to stand up and turn around and she starts spanking us and screaming that “I don’t know” is not an answer and that we are in trouble for wasting time. When she is finally finished spanking she tells us to drain the water. I try not to cry because I know that this means we will be getting an ice cold bath. When the water finishes draining she starts running all cold water then stomps out of the bathroom to go get ice from the kitchen.
She fills up the tub with ice and tells us that we have 10 minutes to get all washed and rinsed and that she will come check to make sure we did it right. We hurry as best as we can to wash and rinse our hair in the freezing water and then wait for Mom. We are so cold. I cannot make my teeth stop chattering. Mom walks back in and starts checking our hair. She starts screaming that we did not rinse it properly and pulls us down under the water by our hair and holds us there while she rinses it correctly. She finally says it’s done and lets us get out of the water.
She says that we have ten minutes to be dried off and dressed, with the bathroom cleaned up and our towels hung in their place, or we are in more trouble. She finally leaves the bathroom but says that we are not allowed to close the door because we took too long. I hold my towel for Abby so she can get dressed without anybody seeing her naked and then she holds her towel for me. We clean the bathroom as fast as we can and get done right before the timer goes off. Mom still gives us more spankings and tells us that we get cold water baths for a week because we took too long in the tub.
It is now after lunch and all of us are doing our school work at the kitchen table. I am trying to concentrate on my work but Mom is mad again and stomping all over the house. I am worried that she will find something else to make her even more mad. She is stomping down the hallway now and I hear her stop at the hall bathroom. I groan because I know that she has found something.
“WHY IS THE BATHROOM LIGHT ON??”
I know we are in trouble. She stomps to the kitchen and says that we all have a five page paper because she found the bathroom light on again. She says that the bathroom is also a mess and that we have a $3 fine every time she passes the bathroom and it is still a mess. I ask her if we can go clean it up and she says no because we are in the middle of school time. We cannot go clean it up until our lunch break. Before lunch break she passes the bathroom ten times. She adds $30 more to our debt record.
Nobody got their chores done before the timer went off and we are all lined up outside her door for our turn to get spankings. I go in for my turn and she tells me to pull down my pants. I start counting to try to help keep my mind off the pain. I think she is at sixty right now. I think I may have lost count. She finally stops at one hundred and I can no longer feel my bottom. I get out of her room as fast as I can and go to finish my chores. I am still not done when she is finished spanking but she says that I have to stop because it is school time and that I will have to finish them during the next meal time.
Mom and Dad are in a fight. They are screaming at each other and I am scared. I run and hide under my bed to try to get as far away as I can. I hear Mom scream that she is leaving and never coming back. She says this all the time and she never does.
I pray this time that she means it.
I hear her stomp out of the house and I pray that she never comes home. I still don’t get out from under my bed because I like hiding there. I can make up my stories and I know that Dad will not bother me. I pretend that I am a princess and that I am in hiding because someone is trying to kill me. I pretend that Mom is the evil lady that I have to live with and that she doesn’t know I am a princess but that when my father the king comes to get me that she will be punished for the way she treated me.
Mom is still not home and it is dark outside now. Dad still hasn’t called me and I know we are not getting supper so I stay under the bed longer. I think of another story. Now I am Mary again but I have been kidnapped. The man that kidnapped me is evil and he rapes me. I am scared of him but I know that Dad is going to come save me because he has to save his daughter. When he saves me then I will know that he loves me.
They have taken Rita away from me again.
This time I am really scared.
Mom and Dad said that I am not getting her back this time. I am fourteen and they say I am a baby to still love a baby doll so much. I don’t care if I am because I love Rita so much. She is mine and I sleep with her every night when I have her. She catches almost all of my tears. Today I was able to sneak in Mom’s closet and hold her for a while.
I am really scared.
I hear Mom tell John to go get some wood and make a pile in the backyard garden. After a few minutes Mom yells for us all to go outside in the backyard. Mom and Dad say that they are going to burn some of our things. Dad has started a bonfire and we have to sit there. Mom brings out John’s BB gun and my art kit, lunch box and Rita. The lunch box my Uncle Tommy gave me and it has my name sewn on it. The art kit Grammy gave me. I watch as Dad puts my art kit and lunch box on the fire. I am angry but I don’t know what to say. Dad all of a sudden changes his mind about putting John’s gun on the fire and tells him that he has just lost it for two years (they gave him the gun for his birthday).
I watch in horror next as Dad takes Rita and walks toward the fire. He puts her on and Mom tells me I have to watch as she burns. It really doesn’t matter anyway. I cannot make myself look away. I am frozen.
I watch as my precious doll starts to melt.
Her arm falls off and burns up. Her face shrivels up and she is unrecognizable.
I cannot think. I cannot move. I cannot cry. Something is stabbing me in the chest.
I cannot breath.
Hope is sobbing on the other side and Mom is screaming at her to shut up. She looks at me waiting for me to cry.
My heart is broken and torn. I hurt deeper than I ever have before. Mom looks very satisfied at what she has done.
Mom yells at us to go back inside and get back to work. I am in a trance. I don’t know what is going on and I don’t know how I get to bed. I lay in the dark and cannot sleep. My mind finally starts to work and I know that I hate them. I hate Mom and Dad and I want to them dead. The tears come and I cannot stop them. I sob and sob. I do not go sleep for hours but I just keep crying. I finally cry myself to sleep.
The next morning I wake up and I know that I will never let Mom or Dad see me cry about this or anything else in my life.
To be continued.