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Forgive Me, Father
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have taken away the breath of something that once breathed. I have taken away the heartbeat of a heart that once pumped blood throughout a living soul. Yes, I have taken a human life. I have killed a man in cold blood. But in this process I have also saved a life: my own. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
It started many years ago when I was about twelve. This man, well some man he was—he was a drunken b****rd, a low-life relentless person. This man that I knew all of my life, who was supposed to love me and care for me, betrayed me in the most despicable way possible. At first it was just touching, touching me all over my body, usually once a week but sometimes more. He would wreak of old and cheap Scottish whiskey, the kind that tears a layer of cells off of your throat as you swallow it. I could smell it entrenched into his skin and in his breath. This man would come into my room late at night and touch me, everywhere.
Just relax, he says. You’re so beautiful, sweetie.
I close my eyes.
Open them, he says. There’s no reason to be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you.
I open my eyes and stare up at the ceiling. He feels his way around me like a blind man trying to place bodily structures to a face, poking and prodding me everywhere, discovering every crevice and nook. I lie there, still, motionless. Every nerve in my body tingles with grief as my mind draws blanks, attempting to block out the hands that are groping my body.
Sometimes I would pretend to be asleep, silently praying in my head that he would leave. Dear God, please, please, please let him stop. But he would just continue and feel every section of my body; no ground was ever left untouched.
Eventually, finally, when this man was done he would stand up and walk out the door, leaving me lying down in my cold bed, my nightgown and innocence ripped by his hands. He would say nothing; just turn the doorknob and walk out.
At first I didn’t cry. I laid in my bed the entire night, my head filled with thoughts banging back and forth inside my skull. My pulse raced as the blood rushed to mend every broken part of my body. After a few weeks, I would cry after he left. I would wake up in the morning to a puddle of tears that had soaked my pillow in all of their sorrow.
In the mornings he wouldn’t say anything. In a partially hung-over state he just went on acting like everything was normal. He made me chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and took me to swim practice after school. I thought he was content, that he was satisfied. But I was wrong.
On the night of my fourteenth birthday, we were sitting in the living room watching episodes of I Love Lucy, our favorite TV show. Bowls of vanilla ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles filled the table, leftovers of a few friends that had come over for dinner. All of a sudden he paused the show and handed me a beautifully wrapped white box with red wrapping paper and pink ribbons curled over the sides.
“Open it sweetie,” he said, as he took a swig of whiskey. The ice cubes made a chime against the side of the glass as he picked the liquor up to his mouth.
Excited, I pulled off the ribbon, ripped open the paper, and found what I first thought to be a black lacy dress. I pulled it out of the box to admire it. The lace…the cut…the brand…gradually, well within a few seconds, I knew that this was no dress.
“Try it on!” he demanded.
“Oh, it’s beautiful, but I…I think I’ll wait until later. I have to shower anyways,” I said, as I swallowed the huge lump in my throat.
“Sweetheart please, I worked so hard on picking this out for you. Please, just try it on.”
I complied with his order as I began to walk towards the bathroom. However, I felt a cold hand grip my arm and stop my forward motion.
“Sweetie don’t be silly, we’re family. You can change right here.”
I froze. Maybe I shouldn’t have changed. Maybe I should have just run away, run away as far from this madness as I could and I would have saved myself from the years of agony to come. But the ear-piercing buzzing that was going on in my head marred all my thoughts. My trachea seemed to spastically constrict, cutting off my oxygen supply. He got up from the couch, and slowly but surely forced my teenage clothes off of my body and into this abhorrent garment.
I don’t remember much after that. I remember him making me spin around in circles and stand in different poses, telling me how much I’d grown up and what a beautiful young woman I’d become. I remember him turning off the light, pulling me onto the couch and grasping my small body with his large hands. I remember feeling those cold hands grace every corner of my body, a familiar and terrorizing motion.
Suddenly, I find myself lying down flat with him on top of me, feeling me up and down, left and right. Every limit is crossed. Every boundary is pushed. I hear the sound of a belt buckle and then a zipper, and suddenly he’s inside of me. He presses his body close to mine, that stench of whiskey perforating the cells in my nose. I can practically taste it on my tongue. I try to think of happier things, displacing myself from the current situation and pretending that I am somewhere else.
I feel a sharp agonizing pain coming from my pelvis. I let out a small yelp in a desperate attempt to achieve some sympathy from him. However, he has no intent on stopping. The pain only intensifies as his sweaty figure crushes mine. His fingers run through my hair and down my back.
It felt like it was three hours before he stopped. He pried his body off of mine and simply walked away, leaving me in a distressed state of destitute. I picked my naked body up off of the couch, grabbed the black slip, wrapped the blanket around myself, and walked upstairs to my room. I sat there on my bed, waiting. What I was waiting for, I don’t know: possibly for my guardian angel to come and rescue me, or for someone to come pinch me to wake me up from this nightmare. But no one came. Oh Father, please forgive me.
For the next three years, my father raped me almost every night. The drunken b****rd took away my childhood and happiness, my innocence forever purged by this criminal. I had no escape. No one to turn to, no one to stop it.
Then a few weeks ago I found a photo of myself from when I was about six. I was dressed up in a princess costume eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream, the silky white liquid slathered all over my face. As I stared at the photo, I began to feel the droplets of water pour down the sides of my cheeks. All of this anger and resentment that had been boiling inside of me seemed to have ruptured, overflowing and pouring out of me like a pit of raging lava. This little, joyful, carefree person was someone I did not recognize. The laughter and smile on the girl’s face seemed like an ancient anomaly, and I began to feel like an alien in my own body. We were not the same person. He had taken too much of me, and it was never going to end. Forgive me father, for I have sinned.
I remember my trembling hands as I stood over his bed that night. Beads of sweat covered my forehead and palms. I leaned in closer to hear his deep breathes, the stench of old Scottish whiskey coming out of his open mouth. Yep, he was passed out cold. I had made sure of it by purposely refilling his whiskey supply the day before. A cool spring breeze drafted into the room from the open window as the shades swayed back and forth with the wind. From my pocket I took out the cold, shiny, metal object that would so swiftly end his life. I raised it up towards his head, my arms stiff like bricks.
I couldn’t see his face. Maybe it was better like that. I don’t know if I could have pulled that trigger had I seen his face. I put the gun on the pillow to help steady my hands. I took a deep breath in, and then let it out. With one flick of the finger he was gone. Just like that, years of future misery and sorrow forever vanquished.
I sat there for a few moments, watching the blood seep through his head and onto the sheets. I watched it trickle from the bed and onto the ground, leaving a puddle of red mud on the carpet. I felt for a pulse but got no response. I found myself waiting again, but this time I did not wait for long. I picked myself up off of the ground. I ran to my room. I grabbed my pre-packed bag, and I closed the door to the house of my childhood terror.
Forgive me father, for I will sin again. I will take yet another life. I try to be a good Christian and a good person. But Father, I cannot bring a child into this world with the knowledge that seeing their very face would cause me agonizing pain. Call it selfish if you wish, but I cannot bring a child into a world of hate and sadness. I am not ready to be a mother. I am not ready to be a mother to my brother or sister. I know it’s a difficult matter for you to understand, Father. But I believe that God has a plan for everyone, and that he has better things in store for me. I am destined for much greater things than this, but first I must own up to my sins. I am just beginning my journey of recovery, towards freedom and redemption. I know it will take a very long time, Father. But I have my faith in God, and that is all I need.