WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT – “Through the Doors Alone”; A journal entry while working through my most traumatic event.

While in therapy at Kent State University’s psychological research center in Ohio, I was instructed over and over to write my trauma story. I was digging through old writings on my computer today looking for something else, not even related to PTSD. I stumbled on a particularly gruesome journal entry that ironically also portrays my flare for imagery.

Eddy, my therapist at Kent State, told me that I “had improved so much that I no longer exhibited any symptoms of PTSD”. Psh!! He meant that I was, at that time, able to talk about my experience with sexual slavery and the miscarriage that followed without extreme emotion hindering me. That is true to a some degree even today, but not wholly. I can talk about my trauma experiences in general terms, but I still struggle intensely with the details.

At the time that I was writing about the events on a daily basis, I was able to shut off the emotion quite efficiently. But today, when I accidentally opened this journal entry years later… Whoa… Maybe I should call Eddy and tell him that I almost lost all composure a little while ago. It seems that I merely numbed my reaction to these details temporarily.

The following journal entry is a first person, present tense, recollection of the evening I lost Connie. It was written in August 2010; twenty-two years after the event. Connie is a name I gave to my baby, also two decades after the miscarriage. I wanted to make her human, make her real, and stop pushing this little life into the deepest recesses of my mind. I wanted to embrace my lost child and I wanted to call her Connie. I don’t know if she was a girl, I just wanted her to be. I can’t remember the date, only to say that it was either late 1987 or early 1988. Much of my memories are fragmented and do not follow chronological order in my mind. The name Connie is anglicized from the word coinine, which in Gaelic means “I would have lived”.

If you’re sensitive to the imagery of gory events, please stop reading now. Although my journal is always written in a professional manner and I will never be vulgar here without warning to my readers, I have included the details such as blood and violence. The language is appropriate only to the story and I apologize for publishing such words. But I can’t omit them for fear that it would change the story all together. Raw emotion was put into this journal entry.

The following is what I remember on that night up to the moment that I stood outside the hospital.

A Day to Forget; If not for Connie.

The house on North Street faces due south, allowing the sunbeams to peek in the open front door, but they fall short of the dirty couch where I sleep. The vision is tantalizing; a bright luminous portal mere feet from where I sit. But it’s deceptive and I don’t dare venture outside. Just beyond the solar fingertips, darkness consumes the room as well as my heart; a bird in a cage with a sheet pulled over, no longer willing to sing. The silence is more stifling than the mid day heat. On other days I try to forget where I am, but the bustle of thugs, hookers, and crying babies keep me grounded in my horror. Today I’m staring at the grease on the walls occasionally glancing with disdain at the stairwell as if to shoot hateful daggers into the bedroom upstairs. Danny and I are the only occupants here today.

Tears have long since proved to maintain any purpose here, but I still silently revel in my own self pity. I’ve no mother to smile at me when I enter a room, call me sweetie, or remedy this sour belly for me. She’d be here to take care of me if that fist fight with my father hadn’t ended one trauma only to begin another. She’s an excellent mother, but she’s my father’s wife first. He won’t allow her to even speak to me, much less help me out of this wretched place. I guess I burnt that bridge when I landed that punch to my father’s face. I just couldn’t take him anymore.

I don’t want to eat, sleep, or talk. I don’t want any of these people knowing that I’m having trouble with my pregnancy, and I’m glad the house is empty; except for the animal who lies in prey upstairs. I don’t trust them, any of them, and I’m not comfortable relying on them. If I open myself up, I’ll become like them, and I still hold myself apart from their disgusting lifestyle. For the time being, I’m trapped in their world; helpless to escape any time soon because I’m carrying Danny’s child. For that sole reason he owns me.

I hate myself for being so weak, and submitting to his sexual demands without so much as a single act of resistance, but I can’t help thinking that I didn’t have a choice. “Poor me, the broken young girl who can’t take care of herself”; I’m so pathetic. Why did I come here, why doesn’t anyone love me, and what did I do to deserve this? God certainly isn’t watching over me today. I think my mother lied when she said he would.

I keep waiting for someone to emerge through that portal of light, scoop me up, and take me away. But I shut down months ago and pushed any prospective knights in shining armor far from reach. No one’s coming to save me. It’s so hot in this house and I’ve ruined my life; it’s making me irritable and angry. I’d go soak in a cool tub of water, but I can’t stand the images and emotions a bath stirs up; servicing him and then dipping my arms into his liquid filth to bathe him afterwards. I’m dirty and I probably stink because I seldom bathe myself. What’s the use? I sit on this couch every day, and there’s no one to impress here; not even myself. Danny doesn’t care if I’m dirty or clean, and what’s the sense in washing just to wallow in cockroach droppings.

There’s no sense in doing anything anymore. I’m never going to have a life of my own. How can I make anything of myself here, surrounded by prostitutes, addicts, and violence? How can I raise a baby here? I’m just a kid myself.

It’s so quiet, and I’m so alone. I haven’t seen anyone pass by the house on the sidewalk today. This pity party is in full swing, and I wish I had a distraction. The setting sun will steal away my portal to the outside world soon. The dregs of society will crawl out of the shadows along with the cockroaches; another terrifying night on North Street. Will Danny be feeling frisky tonight? Whose turn is it anyway? My belly’s cramping; I hope it’s not me.

I just haven’t felt right all day. This is my first baby, and I’m scared to begin with. Danny makes me ride around in those big trucks to go dumpster diving with the girls. I get tossed all over the seat and it makes my belly hurt. With the foot traffic coming through the house at all hours on any other day, I can’t sleep. I started drinking two pots of coffee every morning just to make it through my school day, and I haven’t stopped since I graduated. I know I shouldn’t be doing that, but it’s become a habit I’m not willing to give up just now. Sweet coffee’s a real treat when the menu consists of ‘Shit on a Shingle’, collard greens, and water.

Danny won’t let me do drugs anymore, but I can at least catch a buzz with the coffee. I’d really love to get hammered right about now and make the whole world go away; or maybe just make me go away. I’m sick to my stomach, and I’m cramping like my period’s coming. I don’t know if this is par for the course during pregnancy, but I’ll be damned if I’m asking anyone here. I want my mom. I want to be twelve again, scooping newts out of Charlie’s pond. Life was so much easier then. Even with the beatings, I had my pleasures. This place is devoid of any pleasure whatsoever.

I have to use the bathroom, but I don’t want to go up there because Danny’s in his room. I haven’t heard him all day, but I know he’s up there. I’ll just pause here at the foot of the stairs and see if I can hear him. Is it worth the risk just to pee? I hear fishing shows on his TV, but his door’s closed… thank God for that; or whoever created this shitty world. Take one step at a time, and be careful not to make the boards squeak. How is it I end up sneaking to the bathroom to avoid sex with a monster? He disgusts me! My heart is racing, but I made it without disturbing him. The constant anxiety is killing me. I don’t know how much longer I can do this, but what choice do I have? Just pee and get your ass back downstairs before he realizes you’re up here.

It’s so desolate in here, and every tinkle echoes. It’s making me paranoid and I wish there was more than a wall between me and him. This is taking forever. I just want to get the hell out of here; I’m too close to him. There’s blood on the toilet paper, and I know that’s not right. I’m not supposed to bleed while I’m pregnant. Now what do I do? Nothing, that’s what I’ll do; I’ll just sit here for a minute and think about it. This can’t be happening. Where’s my mom?

I’ve often wished that I wasn’t pregnant; wasn’t here; and on occasion wasn’t even alive. But I never thought I’d get any of those wishes. There’s too much blood for this not to be a major problem; I know that much. I can’t ask for help though. What if it isn’t anything? What if I ask and Danny just tells me to shut the fuck up? The longer I stand here staring into the toilet at what very well may be my baby, the higher the risk that someone’s going to catch me. That, I do not want! I don’t want them getting inside my head, seeing me panic, or watching me cry. If I ignore this, maybe it will go away. I don’t want to deal with it; especially not by myself and not here in this house with these people. I’ll clean up the mess and go back downstairs.

It’s been hours since I went to the bathroom. Everyone’s come home and gone to bed. There still isn’t anyone in the house but the four of us. It’s strange to not see call girls and dangerous men coming in and out. Teresa must have the babies upstairs in her room. I don’t hear them. The house is closed up and I can’t even see my hand in front of my face, but I can hear the cockroaches scurrying around on the linoleum in the kitchen.

The pain is really bad now, and I still don’t want to ask for help. I’d rather die. I don’t want to make Danny angry or call attention to myself. Around here you don’t get help, you give it. Besides, all I really want to do is disappear from existence. It’s too late to save my future, and I hate my present life. I might as well just lay here and let fate do as it will; pull the blanket up over my head and wait for daylight should it ever come.

Will I die here on this couch before the sun comes up again? I’m losing so much blood; it hasn’t stopped. Do I care? I’m not sure. Will my father care? I doubt it. I have to cry, I’ve been holding it in for so long. Maybe I do care. Maybe I don’t want to die here.

I can’t help but groan every time the pain surges through my belly. Is this what labor feels like? Am I losing the baby now; or did I already? I don’t know. I know how to get pregnant, but I don’t know how to have a baby. Maybe I should go get Nancy. This is scaring me; so many women die during child birth. I thought the pain would go away, or at least not get any worse. The last one made me yelp.

I’ll quietly call for Nancy so I don’t wake Danny up because there’s no way I can get off this couch to get her. She’s not answering me. I’ve tried and tried, and she can’t hear me. I can’t take any more of this pain. Now I’m terrified; I’m screaming! I’m panicking like never before in my life. I honestly think I might die here tonight. Danny can beat me if he’s going to; I’m getting someone’s attention come hell or high water.

I know now that I don’t want to die, and I’m too far gone to help myself. Hours ago I could have walked to the hospital, but not now. Go figure I’d wake Danny up and no one else. He’s screaming from upstairs now, telling me to shut the fuck up, but I’m not going to. I couldn’t if I wanted to because this pain is absolutely unbearable. I think I might lose my mind.

Danny just yelled to Teresa, he said “Shut that bitch up and take her to the hospital before I fucking kill her”. I might die either way. Now would be a good time to shut up. And here she comes with her crazy hair and kooky boots on. She is not happy, and the sight of Teresa coming down those stairs is infuriating me. This cunt hates me, and this is who I have to rely on? I must have pissed God off good. I might get help now, but I won’t get any compassion. She’s acting strictly on Danny’s orders, and not on any will of her own. She can’t even hate freely. None of us have any freedoms. I’m going to pay for not thinking this through.

So here we go in one of those damned trucks again, riding in silence. I see the hospital up ahead. Teresa hasn’t taken the truck out of gear. We’re there, what does she want me to do? She’s not getting out, and so be it. I’d rather eat those cockroaches back on North Street than spend another second with this nasty bitch. My blood soaked jeans are rubbing my skin, this is gross. But I’m finally alone, truly alone, and it feels oddly good. She tells me to call when I’m ready to come home and turn to her from the sidewalk. I’m thinking “Like hell I will”! But I’d better just nod and head for the doors.

Now I can see all the people inside, and I’m finding it very difficult to walk through those doors. I can’t stay out here; Teresa’s watching me. Just step inside, Melinda, just go. Some nurse or orderly will scoop you up and take care of the rest. They’ll see all the blood and you won’t have to do anything. You can do this.

Now I’m embarrassed. These people are complete strangers. There’s going to be so many stares and questions; children pointing and asking their parents what’s wrong with her. I can’t hide this; I’m soaked through with blood. And it’s coming from that one place no girl wants anyone to know she’s having a problem with. And I thought having an accident on my period was bad. This is downright humiliating. And I’m alone. It doesn’t feel good anymore.

Meli

I was eighteen years old.

Published in: on May 20, 2014 at 9:18 pm  Leave a Comment