He wears faded denim overalls, with one brown patch on the right knee. They earn the label of 'high waters' because they land a good 2 or 3 inches above the top of his boots. Clunky black combat boots that pound the dirt in the alley to the rhythm of his swagger. If I can't see him yet, I can usually hear him coming. His hair is always wildly sculpting his face, a piece flying this way, a chunk flying that away.....and if it wasn't for the fact he always grins at me from ear to ear when he meets me in the alley, or when he's peeking over the top of my fence, I'd probably call the cops and rant about a crazy man (although, I should anyway).
Here's my problem with my gigantic grinning neighbor. He goes through my trash. I believe he goes through every one's trash since the things we dispose of are cleverly taken out daily (we never have to worry about missing trash day) and hidden out of sight, out of mind, in the alley behind our homes. Seven day a week standby style.
So, if your a trash pickerthrougher, the alley is a smorgasbord of delights to be sifted through on a daily basis. And knowing he does this gives me a case of the heebie jeebies.
I know they say, "One Ladies trash is another Mans treasure." But seriously, there are certain things that go into a ladies trash that another man has no business discovering. I never buy white trash bags anymore, I'm all about 3m, black contractor bags now. But, he has a pocket knife and my bags are no match for a trash sifter with blade.
Perhaps I shouldn't care and look the other way, but these days every single thing I throw away I have to pause, and think, "Hmmm, will he keep my worn out undies as a souvenir if I throw them away?" If you think I'm being dramatic here, just think for a moment about what YOU throw away and if you had to bear the knowledge someone was going through your trash I promise it would give you pause............
As for him, well I did my own 007 spy work, I walked the alleys until I figured out where he lives. Through the holes in his fence I could see the compilation of years of trash sifting. Piles and piles upon PILES of peoples discards. You name it, I could see it. Pack rat heaven. I could see MY stuff.......an old broken lamp, a blue tent that I had burned a big hole in.....and although I didn't see a shrine of discarded women's underwear, there certainly could have been in the layers and layers of stuff.
Investigator, " If you knew he was hurting her, why didn't you call the police?"
Rebecca, looking at her feet, "She begged me not to. I didn't want to make it worse for her."
Investigator, "He was kicking her, hitting her, strangling her.......How much worse do you think it could have possibly been for her? You could have helped."
I will never, ever forget that police officers words to me. It sits in the pit of my stomach like a rotting burden of guilt. My reality.
For thoughts on what to do if you've found yourself in an abusive relationship, please visit Indigo's journal at Scream Quietly.
If you have found yourself in the position of loyal friend being a witness to such atrocities, please heed my words.
I was the first one to find bruises on my friend. I was the first one to confront her and I never let up, nor stopped begging her to leave him. I was the one she called at 3:00 a.m. bawling and injured, I comforted her and talked until I was blue in the face, I offered my house as a safe sleeping zone, only to watch her go back everytime.....I thought I was being the best friend I could be.....but I never once called the police.
I was made an accessory to his beatings without even understanding and realizing it until almost the end.
I used every mind trick tactic filled with caring and love I could conjure up to shake reality, reasoning and hope through her despair for three long years.........but his mind tricks and fists were far more powerful. His power triumphed each time and each time I would try getting through her with a new revised plan...but I never once called the police.
Coffee. That's what I took her for. Coffee in a nice safe zone. Three years it took for that cup of coffee, but I was tired, worried beyond a worry I could explain in words but the core part of my role in this story...... I had realized the sick and twisted role I had been placed in.
I told her, "I love you, but I can no longer be a party to this. I love you, but if you end up dead tomorrow it will be partially my fault because I know whats going on and did nothing. I know what he's doing, yet every time I watch quietly while you go back. I love you, but you can no longer call me at 3:00 a.m. I love you, but if you end up dead, how will I ever be able to face your children, face myself. I've been doing this for 3 years and nothing I've done has helped. I no longer want to know details, I can't bear it. But, if you choose to leave him, I'll do everything in my power to help you."
I had made a choice, a hard line choice. Two months from that cup of coffee, to her day of freedom. A beating and an attempting drowning in the bath tub and she finally called the police. Finally, I was able to do what friends are supposed to do, help.
But, as with all things, we people must face our choices and actions, which is what I had to do with the investigators. Now, today, everyday, but especially on that day at the police station when I said, "I didn't want to make things worse for her." I could see and feel in every fiber of my being, the extreme ignorance in my innocence.
I was the friend who could see clearly but I didn't do the right thing and I should have. I assure you, the one in the abusive relationship can't see anything clearly. They are brainwashed, scared, embarrassed, humiliated, blinded, mortified and unsure of taking one single step without permission from the monster that controls them.
Call the police, despite your loved ones wishes. Don't enable a situation through caring ignorance. The police won't go storming in unless someone is in immediate danger. Make a plan with them. And just so everyone knows, and clearly understands, when it comes to trial and the law, everyone that knew anything will be on trial in one way or another. A defense attorney looks at a friends lack of action as damn near an admission that nothing was going on significant enough to call police.....think about that. Take notes, keep a log, establish a pattern...be a solid witness for your friend.
My friend is lucky, I am lucky. My gracious and merciful reality is the top conversation, but it could have just as easily been this bottom one.....................no friend should carry such a burden.
Investigator," If you knew he was hurting her, why didn't you call the police?"
Rebecca, sobbing and devastated, "She begged me not to. I didn't want to make it worse for her."
Investigator," She's dead now, whats worse then that?"
I grasp that I am not the only parent who has experienced the pure heart pounding terror of a teenager getting their drivers licence...I get that anyone who has a drivers licence, probably subjected their parents to hyperventilating moments that needed medical intervention......I understand it's all part of the job, but good gawd all mighty, I'm not sure how much more my heart, knuckles and car can take.
I felt in my gut the day my 16 year old daughter finished driving school would be about as much fun as the one day a year I go to the gynecologist. I was right, except now I get that feeling everyday. I had read the paper work, I knew my part in this whole terrifying deal. "Once your child has passed driving school, they must drive accompanied by an licenced adult for 6 MONTHS before applying for their drivers licence." Oh parental joy...
The first lip quivering pause was vehicle. I own two, a necessity for my lifestyle. One for the mountains, a big tough Dodge truck and the other, a sweet smart little BMW for the city.
I suggested the truck, figuring if we rammed into anything, a tree, a fence, parked cars, moving train, we would have a decent shot at living. But her mouth dropped open and she said, "That big thing, are you kidding? Mom, there's just no way, I'm used to a Subaru from class."
Which brought her eye's and mine (open huge and buggin) to the BMW. Double gulp. Shelby tentatively says, "Wow Mom, do you think I can handle the BMW?" Handle? The only words that came to my mind was smashed, scratched, dented, totaled with a capital T. There's a reason I drive a BMW, it isn't for name, or status, I could care less about such empty illusions. I drive one because they are fast, barely touch the gas peddle zippy fast, turn with the slightest touch, and ride like they are on air. The sort of things a 16 year old need not appreciate.
I make too much noise. That's right, turns out I'm the horror, according to my daughter, to drive with. I gasp audibly with terror etched throughout my face. I grab the dashboard to often, white knuckle style. I suck in air like a fish gasping and dying on the floor boards. I yelp and I whisper cuss words to often. Oh, and I give suggestions, criticism and directions far to much for her sensitive soul.
All that according to the kid I've made cry on more then one driving occasion.
I don't consider myself the sort of Mom who takes great joy in making the kid cry. And I even tried to explain, justify myself and my actions to her.
Shelby, I gasped because you were hugging the right side of the road so bad that poor biker had to jump the curb to avoid being laid out flat under the wheels.
Darling, I grabbed the dashboard because you 'paused' ...your word, not mine....at the stop sign, and let us not forget stop sign means well...stop the damn car.... and you practically took out that mans utility trailer. By the way, if my hands weren't indented in the dashboard I would have flipped him off, for flipping you off.
Sweetheart, I sucked in air because despite your 'comfortable' speed, when you get on the freeway you must maintain a speed that flows with everyone else. Just because 45 mph feels better for you at that moment, that doesn't mean the Semi-truck coming up the ass-end of the car understands.
Daughter, I yelped and cussed under my breath because first you hit the gas too hard which shot us mock 5 around the corner, at which point in time you froze your turn in the steering wheel, shooting the low clearance BMW along side, into, and onto the sidewalk. At which point in time a show of emitting sparks, and the noise of scratching the entire side of the car will haunt me forever.
And none of us will forget scaring the shit out of 4 people who went flying for cover (now I know how people get run over innocently walking down a sidewalk) ...........and the worst thing about that disaster was your darling back seat driver sister blamed me. I had just answered my cell phone 2 seconds prior to this horror and was mid process of telling the caller I would need to call them back and guess what, that caller got to hear the very reason WHY. Every screech, scrap, scream, swear word....the whole enchilada. Answering my phone for that brief second was not the problem sweet Kaitlyn.
***By the way, I drove home from this experience with both daughters sobbing in the back seat. I think daughter number #2 thought I might murder and bury her sister in the mountains somewhere***
So my fault ehh.....if that's the story you two are sticking to, well then I'm telling my side, not to mention writing the check for the damage.
Honestly, I just want to live, or call a taxi, or hire someone who can contain their 'oh shits' and 'oh gawd we're gonna die's'.... I am not enjoying this entire experience, at all. The interesting thing is, when I got my drivers licence, I came home a spry 15 year old with my licence photo barely dry and my dad gave me a key to the car.
I was off and driving, just like that. Alone (well ok, I'd zoom down the street and pick up 2, or 3 or 4 friends)
There was none of this drive with parents for 6 months agony. I was a pro from day one, surely I was, right? My parents were the lucky ones, they trusted blindly, spared themselves the heart attacks and I suppose just prayed I'd make it home alive each time.
The good old days, when parents weren't legally bound to torture their children as much with suggestions, directions, ohhs and ahhs~~
It's been so long since I've written an actual online entry, that I feel the strings of writing uncertainty: which direction I should meander towards.
I've been a rubbertramp for months, meaning, I've been off exploring the world. That's what summers are for me.... (and no, I'm not a teacher) ...it's the time I unlock the binds of routine & normalcy and let myself (dragging daughters along for the ride) wander without intention, without plans and without destination. We visited several different states, we explored, I observed and took good notes. Best of all, I stacked fantastic memories sky high for me to pluck from during the gloomy winter hibernation months.
The last thing I embarked in before "officially" returning was my yearly sovereign into the wilderness. A time when I leave my daughters behind at home and intentionally subject my physical and mental ability to the limits.
It may seem obscure or perhaps a bit demented, but I have found no greater 'high' or clarity in life then when I am deep in the wilderness. It isn't until I start entertaining the thoughts, and I do often, that I could drop dead from pure exhaustion and physical pain, that another Rebecca inside me takes over, pushes me, encourages me, embraces me and I always make it out alive. Deep in Natures womb, I see more clearly, I hear every noise, I notice every color and most importantly, I connect with every piece of energy that is me.
By the time I return home I feel like I could catch bullets with my teeth, bounce a quarter off my ass and nothing could knock me off balance. Core strong. I just wish I could convince a few people I know to take such an adventure with me. I would love nothing more then to drop the unsure and unaware of themselves , at the top of a Mountain and tell them, "I'll see you 10 miles from here at the end of the day...".....and leave them completely alone.
If they didn't connect with their inner core by the end of that sort of therapy, I don't know what else would prove to them they are incredibly strong. I'm not referring to a physical strength, but the ability our mind and body, and I believe every single person has, to push past the barrier between presumed mind limitations and discovering an entirely new level of power. That is clarity..........
I've come to realize something about myself, over time, as I've gotten older. It's a damn good thing I have children. I'm pretty certain if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be online right now, I wouldn't have a permanent address and I would live life as unattached to things and places as possible. My girls already know that as soon as I have them safely and securely moved out someday, that I'm going to take a walk...... for a couple of months, a year, what ever works out. I think they understand this about me and all they asked for at this point in time, is a few phone calls and perhaps a postcard or two.
Five years. I can wait~~
(Last minute housekeeping from my AOL journal Lavender Black, I'd hate to lose or stop what I started.......a copy and paste from my past)
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Every month I make a trip to the attic in our home and add all the letters I've written you both for the past month to your individual chests. A ritual I've maintained since you both were tiny little souls.Yesterday I made my way up there with a fistful of written memories, moments and words captured in letter form for the both of you and marveled at the vast number of letters I've written you both in the past 16 years.
I pat my own back for having the foresight to start such a endeavor so long ago. Each letter was sealed the day I wrote it, whether it was last week, or 10 years ago, the only hint of internal content I've ever provided was your name, and the date on the outside envelope.
I have no idea when I'll give the two of you these pieces of your past. Perhaps when you turn 18..........maybe when your 25.........I've always imagined I'll "know" the right time.
Above all, I feel like, and I hope you will see it as such, that those hundreds of letters and the written journey I'm about to embark on, will be the greatest gift I'll ever be able to give the both of you.
Until now, I've always written individual handwritten letters to each of you. As the clock towers of life persist at a perpetual movement, I have something else to say, something to say to both of you, which brings me to my purpose in this typewritten form. (which will probably resemble a novel by the time I'm done)
This will not be about the both of you, but about me............and what I've learned, what I know, and who I am. I also think this will be a course in explanation of the way I've raised the both of you, I know I haven't stayed within conventional lines all these years when it comes to parenting and I want to explain that for you~~
And of course, as your Mother, I take the liberty of heaping my view of life in your direction and as always, as I've raised you........I expect you to consider my words, but not accept them as final truth. You must design your own conclusions in this world~~~~~~~~~~~Loving You Everyday~~~~~~~~~~Mother
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Dearest Shelby and Kaitlyn,
I have an entire laundry list of words (idea's) I have written down with the express purpose of writing to you about each one. Somewhere down that line I had written the word Death. It was one of those, not pleasant, but I'll get to it topics, but since I have been curled up in the lap of such a fact since May 5th, I've decided it's earned the right to move up the list.
First and Foremost, a little personal wisdom about being a witness to someone else's passing away, because someday you will be given this chance and choice. Perhaps with my death, one of your Grandparents, a friend, a husband........
You have a choice when you walk into a room and someone is taking their last breaths. If you stay, you choose to be a voice they may or may not hear, a comfort they may or may not feel and a piece of their last moments on this earth. It's a precious chance, to be with someone who has walked this world during their last heart beats, one you can look back on and know you were with someone so they weren't alone during such a time.............but with that choice, that precious once in a lifetime moment, you also have to accept the possible burden of those last images, the rattle in ones chest, the body jerks and shakes, what resembles suffering, their eyes open and vacant.
There won't be a magical moment, a divine sense of leaving, a spark in the air. The air around you simply becomes a painful void. You have to realize you'll be a witness to the quick effects a body goes through once they are gone, coldness and color changes and a silence that can haunt ones mind.
Don't stay long my daughters, nothing in the room changes..........
I tell you this, because no one ever told me. I suppose it's the sort of thing that no one wants to think about or recant after the fact, but you know my philosophy.~ Fact is truth is understanding is knowledge is knowing is prepared is to make ones choice ~
I would like to believe that in time the images of her suffering and passing will pass and I will be left with the simple knowing, that I was part of something important. If given the choice again, I would do exactly as I did with your Great Grandmother Mary. I would stay in the room again and again.
I am not afraid to die my darlings, never have been. Why fear something that remains a universal fact? We all must die, truth. But thisI know for certain, I know I'll remain long after I have taken my last space of air. I am not referring to any sense of heaven, or afterlife, I entertain zero notions of a welcoming God or blazing hells, but I will remain nonetheless.
One minute ago is now my memory, and life is a string of memories. I would remain as long as I am remembered. I would remain as long as my writings survive the test of time. I would remain as long as my keepsakes and photographs passed through my future generations.
The very existence of this letter to you, ensures my remaining, and that's comfort enough for me. The focus in life shouldn't be to dodge the inevitable, but to embrace the opportunity of right now. Writing this letter is embracing opportunity, right now. Hugging and telling you both I loved you before you went to school this morning is embracing every moment.
Life is divine and I would never presume to know what might happen tomorrow. When someone you know passes on, honor them through memories. During this last week, memories are what brought smiles to all of our faces, laughter to a room of people who felt a deep sense of loss. Memories reminded everyone that the intricate connections people weave between themselves is what remains, even when someone passes on.
Weave my darlings, weave yourself into many loves, family, friends, children, and life itself. If you do that, you will remain, and never fear leaving. And although you will lose those you love, you'll always have that threaded connection.
Weave and you're sadness will hold hands with smiles.
Weave and your loss will embrace laughter through memories.
Weave yourself into life and when you pass, when I pass, we will remain. I love you both..........
Labels: Letters For My Daughters
It's simple, it's clean, I can live with it and that's about all that matters to me. The pain it took to get here, where I could comfortably write an entry was worth it. I just can't bear to start writing unless everything else around me is just right, be it here, my handwritten journals etc..... And just like my AOL journal, I'll probably never change it from here on out. I'm that boring.
I would like to get back into the routine of writing, this style, more often. I fear I've let my mind and words pool around my ankles for quite some time now. If there's one thing I've learned about myself, it's that if I don't write constructively, I go a bit stir crazy. Regular thoughts start to interlace with the creative thoughts and that feeling isn't exactly pleasant. It is hibernation season, the time when I hole up inside my home and typically write more, so I'd say I have a fighting chance at sticking to more of a ritual, rather then fleeting fly-bys. I shall see..........
A lot has happened lately, things I should probably process out via written word, but I'll save that for another entry. For now, I just want to post an entry, put a welcome sign on the door and flip off AOL and HTLM one more time........
Ok, I can get rid of those last words.
I've figured it out.
Onward we go.........
Dan.....Betty........you are journal saviors. I bow down to your HTLM knowledge. Remember what it was like to learn to add? Well, that's what learning this computer crap feels like to me, frustrating, but once 1 + 1 finally works out and =2 it's all easyyyyy from there~~~