I don’t know why this memory has been stuck in my head for a few days…but it has, so I assume that means my subconscious wants it out. This is one of the first times I’ve really talked about the physical abuse that came from my father…and it’s stressing me out a little bit to take another jump in the direction of being completely open. But here we go.
I don’t remember the occasion, but my dad had set up a weekend at an indoor water park. It was me, his girlfriend at the time, him, and my friend Melanie. We had a great first day. Spent all day in the park swimming, going on water slides, and playing in the arcade. After a long day, we all went to dinner at one of the restaurants in the resort. At dinner, my dad suggested that my friend call her parents to check in and tell them goodnight. I reached for my phone and realized it wasn’t there. I started to panic, and hoped that it was back in the hotel room. I grabbed a room key, and Melanie and I went back to the room to look for it. We tore the room apart, looked under the beds, in our stuff from earlier, all through my purse…but couldn’t find it anywhere. We went to the arcade and searched everywhere for the phone. Still no luck. Defeated…we went back to the restaurant where I had the unpleasant experience of having to explain that I had lost my phone.
My father…was clearly upset. He pulled me away from table and left my friend and his girlfriend there to eat. He quietly scolded me the entire way back to the hotel room…but once the door was shut, he lost it. He was yelling at me…telling me how irresponsible I was…and how ungrateful. He shoved me around a few times and when I tried to apologize, he smacked me across the face. Surprised…I shut up. He continued to yell, pushed me into the sink, into a wall, and I just kept my mouth shut.
He continued to work himself up. Getting louder and angrier. I prayed that someone in a neighboring hotel room would call the front desk concerned…or that my friend and his girlfriend would come back. But of course they didn’t. I kept trying to put furniture between me and him when given the opportunity…hoping it would be enough of a discouragement for him to give up and leave. I went into the other half of the room, and mistakenly cornered myself. He continued to scream at me, and finally grabbed my arms, picked me up, and threw me into the half opened pull out bed. I hit the metal corners of the bed and bounced onto the floor. I cried out, but didn’t move. I didn’t dare try to get up and encourage it to happen again.
All of a sudden he pulls my phone out of his pocket. He’d had it the entire time. He took it, and snapped it in half in front of my face, called me a few names, and threw the pieces of the phone at my face. He told me to stand up and explain myself. I stood up…but didn’t know what to say. I really hadn’t done anything wrong, and he and I both knew that. I stuttered a few words…not sure what was better…staying silent, or lying. He didn’t like my response, so he grabbed my arms again, put his face right in mine and screamed at me again while he shook me. He finished what he was yelling, and once more, threw me backwards into the bed. This time as I curled up on the floor, he left the room.
I was still there when my friend came back to the room. We silently crawled into bed and I cried myself to sleep before my father and his girlfriend came back for the night.
To this day, I don’t remember what happened the next day. That hour of hell is burned in my brain…but when it comes to anything after it…I can’t remember anything. At the time it seemed bad…but at the same time, it almost seemed normal. And I know that’s not healthy or in any way okay…but it just was. I knew it wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t something that was supposed to happen. But in some strange twisted way…I had trained myself to not think twice about it. I wanted a neighbor to call someone out of concern, but knew that they wouldn’t. I wanted his girlfriend to come back with my friend to intervene, but I knew she must have had strict instructions to stay out of the room. And I had accepted that. I didn’t fight him, I didn’t call for help, I didn’t try to get out. I just blocked out my brain for that period of time, and knew that eventually it would stop and things would be okay again.
I know that’s a big issue these days. People sweep stuff like this under the rug. They hear a commotion, and they ignore it. They see bruises, and they don’t ask enough questions. This kind of stuff is more common that anyone realizes…and it needs to stop.