Now I Understand

 

 

8076469-208-k129957There was once a girl named Erin. She was a short petite girl with dark red hair and big green eyes that always seemed to sparkle. She lived the typical American girls life. Her daddy was the towns carpenter and everyone is town called him to fix the little things in their houses to keep them “ship shape” as he would say. Her mum was gorgeous. She stood out in any crowd and everyone in town loved her. She must of been born with that motherly persona because she was the most caring person you could imagine.

Everyone in town told Erin how lucky she is to have such a great family and lifestyle at the age of 5 though at that age she never fully understood why. She was just happy to be herself but luck wasn’t in her vocabulary yet at her young age. Yet she knew she looked exactly like her beautiful mum and her daddy was always compared to a knight. With his handsome looks and charming personality everything in Erin’s life was perfect.

Living on the country side of town always had it’s advantages, and Erin just loved to go out to the barn at the wee hours in the morning to get a glimpse of the sunrise. She would climb up as far as her little legs would take her and she would sit on top and just stare into the distance. With the slight breeze ruffling her hair and the suns extravagant colors reflecting in her green eyes just the smell in the crisp morning air told Erin that Autumn was finally here.

With Autumn finally arriving and the leaves in the valley changing colors the carnival would soon come too. Every year Erin’s daddy and her mum would take her to the carnival to ride a camel and get a blue and pink cotton candy. It was her favorite thing in the whole wide world besides her mums homemade cranberry pie. YUMMY! Just thinking about the cotton candy and the pie melting in her mouth made her wee tummy rumble.

On her skip back to her house Erin took the opportunity to say good morning to her fat piggy Mr. Wiggly and her filly Snowflake. As this was always the routine for Erin. Sooner then later as Erin was approaching her front door she heard yells and screams just beyond that cherry colored door. Timid to open the door she slowly twisted the handle and walked in just in time for the screams to stop and her daddy walking away with her beautiful mum on the kitchen floor with her face in her hands and tears streaming down her face. Her five year old instinct kicked in as she rushed over to her mum on the floor and hugged her as hard as she could as she asked if she was ok. Without realizing Erin heard some of the screams her mum wiped her face hastily stood up and reached a hand out to Erin to help her stand up and then walked away.

Erin knew better at 5 years old then to push her mum for more information since she probably wouldn’t understand anyways. So all Erin could do was continue on with her day and get ready for school. You see as smart as Erin was she was able to skip kindergarten and go straight to first grade. Her daddy told her she was special and unique and different than other kids. Yet, she never fully understood that because all the other kids looked just like her. So how could SHE be special and not the other kids her age?

Some weeks went by without another mysterious incident occurring with her mum and daddy so everything seemed normal until that chilly Thursday morning. As Erin poured her Frosted Flakes into her favorite checkered bowl her mum walked out of her room in her usual jeans and comfy peach sweater she always wore on chilly mornings. Usually daddy would be following right behind her with his razor as he trimmed up his stubble on the way to the morning table to read the towns paper. But daddy was nowhere to be found behind mum…

As mum grabbed the milk out of the fridge for Erin she placed it on the table next to the checkered bowl and sat down with her hands holding her head.

Mum where’s daddy? Said Erin with curiosity in her squeeky five year old voice.

Oh. Daddy won’t be eating breakfast with us this morning honey. He had to leave early to go to work. We will see him for supper. She said this with such tiredness and exhaustion in her voice that she didn’t even look at Erin as she was talking to her like she usually does in the morning and Erin knew something was wrong…

Erin slowly pushed the chair away from the table and her Frosted Flakes and went to her mum and just hugged her. And instead of getting up and walking away like she did a few weeks ago her mum embraced Erin and began to weep in her school shirt. Worried, Erin asked if her mum was OK only to have her mum pull away and look her in the eyes. She sniffled as Erin gasped as she saw the huge black and blue bruise under her gorgeous mothers right eye. Before Erin could say anything more after what she saw, her mum gently kisses her on the forehead, gets up, and walks away with only saying Have a good day at school with sorrow in her voice and her backed turned, as she once again disappears to another place in the house.

School was normal for the rest of the day. Erin had her cheddar goldfishies at snack time and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with an apple for lunch. Compared to her morning, things were Ok and she knew tonight the carnival opened! She was already planning to wear her green sweater with the sparkles on the sleeves and her warmest jeans for when she went on the twirl-n-whirl with her daddy.

As school let out she ran home as fast as she could so she could say hi to Mr. Wiggly and Snowflake and do her adding and subtracting homework on the porch that her teacher assigned her for the night. Once finished with her measily homework she whizzed through she saw daddy pull up the drive way in his navy blue pickup truck with his usual smile on his face. With mum in the passenger seat smiling it looked like the black and blue under her eye was gone. It seemed like a miracle to Erin at how fast her boo-boo went away. Only what Erin didn’t understand at five years old is that makeup can work wonders to hide bruises…

She jumped off the porch like everything was normal as she ran to greet her parents as they waltzed up the rock covered driveway holding hands. Maybe the people in town were right. Erin was “lucky” she had such a great life.

Guess what today is sweetheart! Her daddy said with a cheerful voice.

THE CARNIVAL!!!! Screeched Erin with all the excitedness she had.

That’s right hunny said her mom and that’s where we are taking you tonight because you have been such a good girl lately!

Now Erin was excited. She gave both her parents a big hug before running up stairs to change into her green sparkly sweater and warm jeans. She always had trouble braiding her hair and she has been practicing it for a while now but she wanted to look good tonight for the carnival so she crossed the hall to ask her mum to do it for her. With a light tap on the white wooded door she asked for permission to come in and ask her mum a question.

Mummy, could you pretty please with sprinkles on top braid my hair like you always do? I don’t want it coming out on the twirl-n-whirl with daddy.

Of course Erin, come sit up on the dresser and I’ll make you look like a princess.

As soon as daddy was finished getting ready and mum and Erin were set they were off like a heard of turtles to the Autumn carnival. And boy, Erin was looking forward to this night all Summer!

Pulling up to the carnival in her daddy’s pickup truck and her mum in the front seat holding her daddy’s hand Erin was in a five year olds paradise. All night she went around with a smile on her face. She got her favorite pink and blue cotton candy that she was looking forward to and rode the twirl-n-whirl with her daddy. She laughed and screamed in joy as the powerful forces of the ride whipped her around. She even went on the ferris wheel with her mum and watched all the pretty carnival lights shimmer and glitter from down below. She could of been the happiest girl alive that night. It was only on the ride home that her precious childhood was about to crumble to pieces…

Exhausted from the night it was past Erin’s bedtime as her daddy carried her to the pickup in the carnivals parking lot. He layed her down softly in the back seat buckled her in. The drive home took longer than usual tonight because of the traffic flowing from out of the carnival. But they were almost home when Erin was awaken by her mum and daddy arguing. To this day she’s not quite sure what the argument was about but it’s a fight she could never forget. All she remembers are a few things her mum n daddy said like her mum yelled you promised! And her daddy saying I’m done with you and calling her a redheaded whore. They said worse things to each other but Erin tried to forget what she heard because it scared her.

They were still arguing when her daddy pulled up to the driveway and mum unbuckled Erin and carried her inside. The night is somewhat of a blur but the clearest part of the night was when Erin’s mum called daddy a dirty greedy bastard and he hit her. She was still holding Erin when she was struck across the face and then Erin noticed the same bruise from that same morning and another one forming across her left cheek now. At this point little Erin was wide awake and scared for her life. She has never seen her daddy angry and her mum has never called her daddy such a mean name. There were two different people from the normal parents she had that were always smiling and holding

Her mom yelled at Erin to run to her room and hide in the closet and lock the door. Erin did what she was told and ran as fast as her little legs would carry her and locked the door behind her and dashed into the closet holding her stuffed kitty Snuggles. Tears fell from her little glistening green eyes as she finally saw that things weren’t the same. From beyond that locked white wooden door she heard things falling to the floor and shattering into pieces. She heard more nasty things screamed and yelled that made her flinch and squeeze Snuggles really tight with her little fists. Her knuckles were white. If Snuggles were a real kitty instead of a stuffed one then I don’t think he would be alive because Erin was squeezing him so tight. At five years old it’s hard to comprehend what exactly was going on. Especially since Erin has never seen daddy and mummy act like this before. Just when there was another crash to the floor there was complete utter silence all of a sudden. Just then, Erin had enough courage to get up shakily from the confines of her closet and slink to the door with Snuggles clutched to her chest. Slowly she twisted the handle to her door to look for either her daddy or mummy. But she didn’t see anything. She felt brave enough to open the white wooden door just a wee bit more to see all the things that were broken on her floor. Vases, family pictures, dishes… Mummy would be mad to see her favorite china dishes in pieces on the floor. This won’t be good.

Erin eventually stepped out of her room and went to go look for her parents. As she was tiptoeing around the broken objects that layered the floor she stepped in something sticky and red. Why would strawberry jelly be all over the floor? But wait… Only a few feet away from the thought to be strawberry jelly was her daddy laying next to it and her mum sobbing so hard it was silent.

There was a kitchen knife laying next to her weeping mum.

Mummyyyyyy……???? What happened? Erin said with curiousity and fear in her voice.

All her mum did was continue to sob and say I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

……..

It’s years later and I’m now all grown up. I still have dark red hair and big green eyes. But now those eyes have seen many things. My life has changed and I am no longer that little innocent five year old on a farm with a happy family. History has ways of repeating itself. Boyfriends cheat and husbands have affairs. Family members suffer and there are always stories of abuse running through the neighborhoods. My life took a complete turn around when my mum stabbed daddy. My life started changing the moment my mum knew about the “other lady”. I’m not so lucky I grew up like this. But today is the 6th year that I bring a cotton candy to my mum at the state prision. With tears in my eyes I put Snuggles, all torn and wore and discolored into the bottom of my purse. A security blanket I never got rid of. I never got the whole story about what happened to mum and daddy but what I could get out of mum was that daddy had an affair and accused her of his lack of feelings and was abusive. The details of that night are all fuzzy but I will always remember that fear from when I was hiding in my little secluded closet. I will never forget what my daddy’s blood looked like or the look on mums face when she had to defend herself and in court and get accused of murder instead of self defense… I understand now.

And now I understand why I don’t trust men to this day.

Now I understand that makeup can hide bruises and scars.

Now I understand why I don’t believe in luck.

Now I understand why my mum killed daddy for self defense and why she’s in jail today.

Now I understand why daddy called me special and unique.

And now YOU understand my story.

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