The prompt today is a bit more serious than I usually like to write because I tend to not want to remember the bad things in my past much. But, I took the challenge, right?
The Prompt: Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event.
There have been a few defining moments in my life that I can honestly say have had a huge impact on me. Unfortunately, many of those moments are not good memories that I can look back on in reverie. This particular event is no different.
Growing up was not easy for me. Don't get me wrong - I had a roof over my head, food on my table and a mother that loved me. I got good grades and was never in any kind of trouble. Unfortunately, I also had a stepfather that made my life a living hell.
My stepfather was an addict. He was the worst kind of alcoholic - belligerent and hateful, but also sickly sweet and overly-loving. He could turn on a dime if you weren't careful. He regularly called my mother a "whore" and accused her of cheating constantly (even though I caught him with his ex-wife myself). He was often overly inappropriate with me (although he never crossed the line into illegality) and I was usually uncomfortable around him.
But, this prompt isn't about a childhood of emotional abuse or hatred. It's about a single moment. A traumatic event.
I had just graduated from high school a few months before. I had a boyfriend and a job and was getting ready to start college in a nearby town. I would be moving to my dorm soon and had to go through Freshman Orientation the next morning. I was excited!
That night (as was so often the case) I was left to babysit my three younger step-siblings while my mom and stepdad went out to the bars. I got the kids to bed and went about my usual nightly routine (laying in my bed, watching TV until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore - waiting for them to come home). When they came home, I knew it was going to be a bad night. I could hear them arguing before they even got in the front door. "Great, the neighbors are going to hear them again." I snuggled my blankets closer as I lay there, unable to pry my ears away from what was happening downstairs.
I heard the usual name-calling and hatred spewing. I heard the tussle as he tried to grab her and she tried to get away. I thought about intervening, but had no idea what I would do to help her.
The details of the night are a bit fuzzy after that. I can't remember who did what or how they got there, but the police ended up in front of my house.
I grew up in a very small town and we knew the police very well. There were only two or three of them for heaven's sake. By them showing up, the entire town was going to know what happened.
I was angry that they were there. I hated the one officer that showed up (I can't remember why) and I remember throwing my words at him like daggers. Begging him to let my mother go. She had done nothing wrong and didn't deserve this! Didn't he know I had a big day tomorrow?
That night, they were both taken into custody on charges of domestic violence. I was left trying to figure out what to do with three kids and my upcoming orientation. My stepdad's mother showed up (I guess he called her) and said she would take the kids. She never claimed me or, quite frankly, liked me but was willing to take me to my orientation. I declined.
I remember ending up at my boyfriend's house, crying on his mother's shoulder. I had no idea what to do or how to get my own mother out of jail.
I spent the night alone in a big, dark house that night.
I was a child in a very adult situation.
It all ended up fine (as fine as a situation such as this can end up). My step-father's mother took the kids, someone bailed my mother (and that man) out of jail and my boyfriend took me to my freshman orientation.
The lesson that night? Time to grow up, Lindsay.
I was 17 and that is the night I became an adult.
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