Sunday, 14 August 2011

Innocence Lost

 This is probably going to be one of those blogs that will be one of the most painful ones to write, so I apologize in advance it may be hard for you to read. But, it is my story, my journey and I'm going to tell it in as great a detail as I can remember. If it is disjointed I apologize. I was only 4/5 years old so the memories are vague, and blurred together.

When I was 4 my parents separated and then divorced, my sister and I that summer (as well as the next one) went to live with my Mother's sister in Toronto with her husband and their son who is about 6 years older than I. I didn't know my Aunt and her family well, they lived in Toronto (world's away at that age) and we didn't see them often. The person (I won't even refer to him as a "gentleman" because he wasn't) my Aunt was married I can only refer to as an alcoholic lecherous abusive asshole.

To be honest I'm uncertain as to what they did professionally. I THINK they may have been book keepers or accountants but for whom I have no idea. I know my Aunt had gone to school to be a teacher (which she didn't really end up even doing although she truly would have been a GREAT teacher), and I know later on she was also a real estate agent...but I know they weren't then. I know they worked from home and I know there was countless ledger books in their "Office" (living room) which is what makes me assume they were book keepers or accountants. 

They lived in a lovely influencial area in Toronto, not too far from downtown Toronto. The house was a large 2 story home, 4 bedrooms and 1 bath. I WANT to say it was "Craftsman style" but I could be wrong. It was lovely in any event. But, I hated it...for those two summers, it was my prison.

My cousin was allowed everyday to go off on his bike, and play with his friends. Now, did I expect my sister and I (she was 6 the first summer) to be allowed to run the streets of Toronto? No, of course not who would?
But the fact that we were NEVER allowed out of the back yard, I hated it. My sister and I were woken up every morning, dressed, fed and ushered outside for the day. The only time we were permitted to come back in was if it was raining (and I mean downpour, if it was spitting...we could stay out...after all it's not like we were going to melt! "What are you made of sugar?"), if it was the end of the work day, or if we had to pee. That. WAS. IT. The screen door was LOCKED so we couldn't even get in. I remember I had to pee so bad one day, the door was locked and I banged on the door for what seemed like 20 minutes and no one came. I peed in the bushes in my Aunt's back garden. She wasn't happy with me...What if the neighbors saw?! God forbid!

We were given a card table with paper, colouring books and crayons and a small above ground pool. And that was it. Our lunches were spent at that card table every day. If we wanted to have a nap, it was either sitting in the chair with our heads down on the table (which btw sat in this garage thankfully -- truthfully our only shade). I prayed for rain days, only then were we allowed to be inside.

It was lonely, confusing, boring. Imagine being 4 years old, or 6 for that matter (my sister's age) and suddenly being thrown into a house were you don't really know the people who you're living with, who are complete strangers in your eyes. Your Mom isn't there, your father isn't there...there's just you...and your sister who is only 6.

On rare occasions my sister and I got to go out: CN Tower, Toronto Zoo, Science Center, Casa Loma, Center Island, Ontario Place. On those rare times, those odd forced "family" moments, life seemed almost normal.

I have very little recollection as to which summer was which, I just know I was very, very sad.

I have one very disjointed...odd...disturbing memory. One of those memories that you're not sure if it REALLY happened or if you've imagined it. But somewhere, deep down in the pit of your know it's truth. That it really happened, but I get the feeling that I'm forgetting something. And truthfully, I probably don't want to know.

I don't know if this happened the first summer, or the second and doesn't matter. It's hazy, vague and honestly..I don't know which summer it was. I remember I was either in bed and woke up, OR I had just had been finished being read to and was about to go to bed...but in any event I needed to pee. My Aunt informed me that her husband (I REFUSE to refer to him as my uncle (even though I called him that to his face at the time) - The title "Uncle" is reserved for someone who deserves it, and let me assure you - he..did not.) was in the bath. But, since that was the ONLY washroom in the house, and I was a little girl - I had to pee - right then. I remember I knocked on the door, opened it and went in. Went to close the bathroom door and saw him sitting in the tub. Now, you would think...if a little girl was coming in to use the bathroom, that you'd close the curtain, put a wash cloth or hell even your hands over your penis. Not him. He was just sitting there completely exposed. I remember I went pee, he talked to me casually (I don't remember what about), I finished and went to leave when he stopped me and said "Good night". I remember being uncomfortable and at the time finding the whole scene just wrong. Why didn't he cover himself? Do I recall him touching himself? No. Do I recall him touching me? No. But to be honest....I think I know the answer to both questions, and it's not good.

Would it make a difference if I knew either way? Probably not. I think I've blocked out whatever occurred and inserted my own reality into it. I think there's sizeable amounts of that "bathroom visit" that are missing from my memory - and I've always felt that way. I literally would get a feeling of loathe and disgust and repulsion and even nausea on occasion looking at him over the years. I truly hated him. And I'm not a "hate" kind of person. I don't think that if I knew for a fact what went down that it would change me fundamentally as a person. I mean, I already hate the guy. I already assume something was amiss, I just don't know what.

He was cruel to my sister and I. One night my sister was crying because she missed our parents. Instead of comforting her, he mocked her saying things like "look at the baby" and that "if she didn't stop crying, he'd set up a crib and she could sleep in that." Who says shit like that to a child???

We used to eat "too slow" supposedly. A large black timer (I THINK it was used for film developing??) was set in the kitchen on the counter. I remember struggling to eat and get everything eaten before that fucking buzzer went off. I hated that fucking timer. I remember one breakfast timer was rapidly coming close to going off and with each loud tick of the timer I would sob harder and harder because I KNEW I wasn't going to finish on time and I would gag on my eggs. I was such a nervous wreck I wanted to puke. Who does that to a child???

I was eternally scarred for life after those 2 summers. I made decisions of things I would NEVER say OR do to my children. Or anyone else's children for that matter. I feel in a way my innocence was ripped from me. It was the first time I can ever remember hating someone. Who hates someone at 4 or 5 years old? Does one at that age even have a grasp on the ideology of hate? Let me assure you, they can. And truthfully my Aunt was just as much to blame, because she didn't stop him. But I think because she's blood related I feel that I MUST forgive her actions or non actions and move on. My Aunt eventually left him, and he's dead now - and has been for years. I don't know if I should forgive him or not. I don't know if I can. Does that make me a bad person?

One Last Glimpse,



  1. There are some things that can't be forgiven. It's just the way it is. Sounds like he has two of the biggest reasons covered so no forgiveness.
    Did you or your sister ever tell your mom you had to stay out all day? Who the hell locks out kids that young with no interaction? Sounds like she's on borderline forgiveness. If anything good comes of it, at least you knew how not to treat your own kids.

  2. I don't know that we did. I suspect so, but I think perhaps she thought we were exaggerating? I mean I realize that both she and Dad were going through SIGNIFICANT emotional stress themselves, I honestly don't know. I know My Mom and My Aunt had almost NO communication for YEARS afterward and that my Mom was pissed off with her (I don't know if it had to do with that summer or not). I love my Aunt, but it has been difficult.