Across the Atlantic Ocean, on the day a young Namibian girl named Cordalia !Hai//Gauses was overcoming her latest trauma, a twelve year old boy living in a small town in Pennsylvania was woken up. It was the middle of the night and the house was shaking. Some force was crashing against the living room door. Boom, boom, boom. His mother quickly and quietly entered the room he and his younger brother shared and sternly sent them to their older brother’s room. She reminded them of the plan in case of an emergency. Crawl out the window onto the roof of the porch. Lower yourselves into the yard and run to grandmothers house. Call the police!
The boys were shut into the room and huddled together on the bed. More bangs came at the door. They could hear the creaking of the stairs as their mother made her way towards the door, bravely, to confront the danger in order to protect them, all that she loved. They could hear the shouts of an angry drunk as if he was hovering right over top of them. They could also hear the softness of their mother’s voice as she tried to lull the aggressor into a state of calmness. Her words lie like a soft blanket over their shoulders.
For a while it was like a dance. A buildup of tension between rage and calmness, spinning, rocking back and forth, taking turns leading each other.
“Wake the fuck up. I’m here. Please be calm, you might wake the kids. I just want to talk. We can talk in the morning, I promise. But I miss you. I miss you too. Then let me in. Not now. We can meet tomorrow. Let me in you fucking bitch. I can’t let you in if your not calm. Honey, I’ll be calm if you let me in. If you’re truly calm, you’ll go sleep it off and come to me in the morning.”
And so on it went for a few minutes, but alcohol doesn’t respond well to reason. If its host gives way to reason, then the alcohol loses its grip on him, and thus it pushes the buttons necessary to trigger a violent reaction against any influence other than its own. An alcoholic is a victim of many things, but never of alcohol itself. Alcohol is the truth, everyone else a liar.
The crashes on the door got louder and louder. Sensing the heightened tension, the eldest boy opened the window and urged his younger brothers on the roof top, right above the door their step father was about to crash through. A loud guttural roar was let loose into the atmosphere bouncing off the front of every house down the street. If the neighbors were pleading ignorance before, that moment shattered their bliss. Shit was going down at 115 Hill Street that night and everyone on the block then knew it.
Two of the boys were on top of the roof, and as the oldest was about to step through the window, their mother came flying through the door and was prepared to follow. The living room door would not survive another onslaught. It never really stood a chance. Reinforced by the soothing voice of the woman this man loved, it was able to withstand some punishment. But without that it was an illusion of security. As Vicky was taking her first step out onto the roof, the unmistakable crack of a shattered door jamb assaulted her ear drums and for the first time that night she was truly terrified.
Thoughts and regrets flashed through her mind at speeds unimaginable. Did she make a mistake by kicking this man out of the house a few days early. She thought she was protecting her boys. Just the way she did by keeping the abuse focused on her for the previous few years. But when she could no longer dictate that she could see no other option. Why did she stay with him for so long? Wasn’t the writing on the wall from the beginning? What would she do if he hurt one them? How the hell will she ever get out of this trap?
Just as the fear was trying to take hold and she was losing herself in her negative thoughts she saw the flashing lights. Relief replaced fear. She encouraged her children that everything was going to be fine. The man downstairs noticed the police as well and shouted profanities at his disapproval that anyone would have called the cops on him.
The two officers made their move on their target quickly, but not quickly enough to come out of the altercation unscathed. One officer was knocked thrown clean off the front porch before the other was able to bring down the back of his flashlight on the back of Ray’s head. It was lights out, as the saying goes for Ray.
After a sense of calmness started to reenter the house and the police officers gave the all clear, the family all convened in the living room. A kind officer did his best to reassure three frightened youngsters that they would be safe and he would be there to protect them again and again. Vicki asked if they could help secure the front door and the officer asked if there wasn’t anywhere else they could stay for the night. Vicki made it very clear that she would not be ran out of her home. A neighbor just coming home from a late night shift saw the commotion and came to check on the family. He offered to screw the door shut as a temporary fix until they could have it replaced.
The family collected pillows and blankets from their respective beds and slept in the same room that night. Everyone was exhausted and fell asleep rapidly, comforted by the presence of each other, all except Jason. The middle of the three children. A hamster wheel of dark thoughts plagued his mind. He dwelled on the pain his step father had caused once again and began playing the images of all the ways he could hurt him. He imagined taking blunt instruments against the side of Ray’s head, pushing him down stairs, and pummeling him with fists. He was sick of the fear and ashamed that he hadn’t had the courage to defend himself or his family from this man. Hatred was brewing inside of him. As the sun began to rise and slowly brighten the room, he took a deep breath and was able to push the hate aside. He finally began to sleep.
*****That’s all for today. Will pick up tomorrow back in Namibia with Cordalia…still behind on word count.