In amongst my ‘heaven-like’ existence, there was aching pain and anger and turmoil that was outside of my bubble, not even two steps away from me. To this day I cannot describe exactly what went on around me because I was too young to understand the reasons or the details. All I knew was that we had our patriarch and our entire household revolved around what he wanted and how he wanted it. I could not comprehend it because to me he was loving and yielding and I would never have been able to match the two personalities into one soul. But there were endless fights for endless reasons......destruction, torture, pain, suffering, deceit. And all the while I would have to sit quietly, alone on the carpet, too afraid to cry or make a peep for fear of intensifying the state of affairs. On some occasions like these, my mother would wait for my father to fall asleep, then come to wake me, not that I would have been able to get to sleep, I would gaze up at her in anguish noting the new bruises and cuts that I was sure needed medical attention, and that was only what I could see. Unfortunately I was not allowed to ask about them, or ask why, or even too afraid to ask how she was as this seemed like such an impertinent question, given the physical appearance of my dear mother. Its 2.00am and here I am holding my beaten mother’s hand down the street in our neighbourhood. She tells me we are going to visit my grandmother for a while. I am cold, I am tired and I know that my grandmother’s house is far from where we are, and it will take us hours to get there. In my little mind, I question her strength, her determination, her desire to get to a safe place.
Unluckily, there were times when our quest to safety was stopped abruptly. In those days, not many cars were on the road at that time of the night and suddenly behind us in the distance you could see two headlights approaching at great speed. It was my father, now even more angered that my mother decided to sneak out in the middle of the night. Inevitably it would result in me being torn between them both as my mother would not let go of my tiny hand, but my father would order me to jump into the car. I never wanted to have to chose, they were both my parents and I loved them and needed them both in my life.
As dysfunctional as this life was, I had my mother, guardian angel looking after me night and day, and my father the patriarch showing me love as his “baby-doll”.