November 11th, 2003 -
The day I had my last conversation with my oldest brother, Harold.
November 15th 2003 -
Harold passed away instantly during a work accident. With his passing, my belief in promises also died.
16 years later, half of my lifetime later, I have something to say about 16 years ago. And, Here goes:
Before passing away Harold, my then newly appointed best friend following the death of our dad in March 2003, talked with me often. He knew something was different with me: my moods shifted and there was hesitation in every word I spoke to him. He knew something was wrong. November 11th 2003, I agreed to tell him "my secret," but not on the phone - in person when he came for Thanksgiving so he can wrap me in his arms, hug me, and promise everything will be okay while I told him the secret I was keeping.
My brother, Harold (III), and my dad, Harry (Harold Jr.): The two of them looked identical: subbing blonde hair for gray hair and subtracting a minimum of a foot off of my brother. At the hospital the day our dad passed away, he held me close while I cried sadness beyond words as my dad's medical team disconnected the machines that were keeping him alive. That moment my brother shared with me that he had a conversation a while back with our dad. Our dad asked him to take care and keep his girls (my twin and me) safe if anything ever happened to him. In the next moment my oldest brother, Harold, made that promise to me.
Pushing play at August 2003: my mother started dating a new man.
Fast forward to September 2003: This quickly acclaimed boyfriend in my moms life won over my mom's love and trust trust, and my trust too. My trust in him however would quickly be shaken after a visit from him late into the night. I had heard our neighbors, Ron's, voice and I called out for him to come to my room. Moments later Lou, my mom's boyfriend, appeared in my doorway. He asked me what I wanted, and I told him Ron. He told me it would be inappropriate to have Ron in my room that late into the night. I told Lou, Ron always comes in, and I wanted to show him something: a Giant Snoopy Stuffed Animal a friend won for me earlier that week. Lou came closer, as he asked and listened to what I wanted to show Ron. Lou wanted to see too: he looked at the giant stuffed animal, then he looked around, and then he looked at me. He told me the dog felt soft, as he was touching me and not the dog.
That moment and most moments in the next couple of days I questioned what had happened that night. I guess he was right: grown men do not belong in a girl's room late into the night. I pushed it away, chalked it up to a mistake, a misunderstanding: "maybe it didn't even really happen."
A random account contacts me via Instant Messenger the day after I convinced myself I must have dreamed my visit from Lou:
"Hey there. how are you?"
me - "good u? who is this?"
Him "Thanks for showing me your dog the other night. I enjoyed it."
me "Lou? um, you're welcome?"
Him "yes, its me. I enjoyed you too"
Me "okay, bye"
The night in question was no longer a question, and was followed night after night after night.
Pause at November 15th 2003 - "Pause" seems appropriate, like the moment in the movie that we stop everything and think "did that just happen? Plot Twist. The ending we thought was coming is not even close and we can't wrap our heads around the change that just happened before us.
I didn't get my happy ending 15 years ago. There was a huge scratch in the DVD and it kept repeating the abuse, the silence, for years and years more, taking my trust in others, my innocents, my respect, love, life, and my voice quickly way down a spiral of darkness beyond description.
Today, I have started in a new movie -
a documentary of life after the darkness -
a story, my story, in my words -
- my suffering and my freedom -
- my fights and my victories -
- my tears and my smiles -
- my setbacks and my comebacks -
Using my voice to tell my story, loudly, loud enough for you to hear that you can too!
15 years ago I was quiet, silent in my secrets.
Today My Voice Is Loud and I won't be silenced by anything!