Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

In the Dark

There’s a silhouette, of a man, tucked behind my eyelids.

I see him every night when I try to shut them.

He taunts me,

Coming closer,

Getting bigger and bigger.

I don’t know who he is and why he torments me so.

– Shammy 4/12/12 4:36pm



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I wish I lived in a safe neighborhood where I could walk around in the middle of the night and nothing would happen to me. A neighborhood filled with quiet little coffee shops instead of busy fast food joints. Then I could go to a nice little coffee shop and write my papers in peace. They would have rich coffee made with exotic imported coffee beans and cozy red chairs, the kind someone would want in their own living room. Every table would have its own set of three candles in the very center, the walls would have lanterns hanging from them and tiny chandeliers would glow dimly from the ceiling.  Their tables would all have squeaky clean glass tops that look as though they are not even there. The ceiling would be a mural as would the walls. Pretty Brazilian women in their native clothing would walk around in the yellow walls. The ceiling would be blue like the sky when it has just become morning, and the flock of birds would soar into the clouds. The whole place would be a work of art. I would get lost there, and then find myself through my writing.

Instead I live in a crappy neighborhood in the middle of nowhere, Queens. The only train that comes here is the J and it doesn’t even run half the time. The other times I have to wait for the shuttle bus to get places. Of course the bus is always late, unless I’m not at all in a hurry; then the bus comes early. Come to think of it, the bus isn’t even that bad. I wouldn’t mind taking a bus to work every morning at 5o’clock, as long as I didn’t always have to watch my back. Shit goes down in my neighborhood. There was a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted just up the block from my house, in broad daylight too. A man came and held a knife at her throat. She fought him off with a pen and miraculously got away before he could do any real harm to her. It was all over the news. My dad made a point to make us stay at home more. “See what happens when girls hang out too much outside?” he said. His philosophy is that girls are like little virtuous china dolls. They are too fragile to step outside, unless it’s for work or school. If they go outside they might break. They might be tainted by men or ideas and no longer be acceptable for marriage. He’d love it if I was home-schooled and completely cut off from the world. Then I’d grow up to be the perfect daughter that would learn only what he wanted me to learn. I hate my life in this neighborhood, this house, this room.

My room is in the basement. It’s pretty big with a medium sized closet. I have three tiny little windows: one in my closet, one that opens to the front of the house and a slightly bigger one that opens to the hallway. Sunlight only comes in from one of them. I can’t write in my room, I can barely sit still to do anything. My mind wanders and there are too many distractions.

I swear there are ghosts in the basement. One night my brother saw one of them. He was dreaming and in his dream he called my sister to come and help him. She came into the room and held his hand. That was all in the dream, but my brother actually felt someone holding his hand so he opened his eyes and he saw her, the spirit that haunts the basement. She was wearing a long black dress and she was so tall that he couldn’t even see her face. She held his hand and pulled him out of his bed. He was on the floor crying out for my mom to come and save him. My mom was sleeping but I heard him crying, so I went and saw him on the floor. He looked sick, like he was dying. I woke my mom up and she calmed him down and put him back to sleep. We all lived in the basement then.

My brother and I don’t talk. Actually he hates me. He always has, since the day I was born. Once he threw the stem of a plastic flower into my eye. I was five. I went to the eye doctor every two weeks for a year and a half because of that. And when I was just a teeny, tiny, baby, he burned me with a hot iron to see what I would do. He wanted to see my pain. It gave him pleasure, sadistic piece of shit. Another time he shot me in the leg with his bb-gun because I was annoying him. I was nine, he was fifteen. It’s been years since I’ve spoken to him. Not because of the stuff he did to me as a kid but the stuff that he would still do. When I was nineteen, I was watching television in my parent’s room and he called the cops on me. He told them I was being a nuisance because he could hear the TV in his room, which was right next to my parent’s room. He was 24 then. Now if my friends ask me how many siblings I have I tell them one. I have a little sister, that’s it.

I want to kill myself. That’s what I think about when I’m in my room. That’s all I think about. The different ways to die, all the reasons I have to die. All my unhappiness shouts out to me when I’m in my room. I don’t belong here. I won’t succeed. What’s the point of it all? What do I have now? I have nothing. When I’m with a crowd of people that supposedly love me, I feel lonelier than if I was with myself. My boyfriend, Jackson says I need to live for myself, no one else should matter. He says I need to get out and do things, so I did. I got involved in school. I tried to mend things with my family. I even tried to make new friends. I have so many friends now, and my parents talk to me on a regular basis but I still feel the same. I tried my hardest to be good at school, to be how I used to be, but it’s just too hard. No matter what I do I’m still behind. I manage to fail tests that I spend days studying for. I never had to study before in my life. I always just knew it. I used to be smart, now I wonder how I even got accepted into college. I think it’s because I have to come back to this room every night. I can’t think in that stupid room.

I bought a new rug and curtains in hopes of brightening up the place. Jackson bought me a couch and I saved up to buy a long storage ottoman that I could use as a table. It was supposed to make my room cozy. Dark red, brown and green colors fill my room. My painting of an old Spanish road filled with horse drawn carriages and pleasant trees is supposed to bring everything together. It does; it makes sense of the colors in my room, gives it unity. Jackson says it looks perfect. Like a showroom they would have on display at IKEA, brilliant, beautiful and fake. I hated it. So I thought maybe if I painted something inspirational it would help, like a woman embracing her freedom. I painted her face, bold and defiant. I painted her lips, her arching neck, her breasts, her pregnant stomach, her fat thighs and well toned calves. She stood against the red background alone, free of all barriers. She hung on the wall close to the door. Jackson loved the painting; he said it reminded him of me.  I would’ve kept her but she didn’t let me sleep. The curves of her black body haunted me at night. They jumped out in my dreams trying to seduce me, so I threw her out.

Sometimes I get extremely motivated. I feel like I can conquer the world if I wanted. But give it an hour in this room and I feel like dying all over again. It doesn’t matter how many degrees I have or how good my grades are. It doesn’t matter that all my hair is falling out or that my eyes are swollen from lack of sleep. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have a brother, or that my boyfriend still loves me with all his heart even after seeing me this way. I want to change. I want to be okay for him. He’s done everything in his power for me. But I don’t think I can. I tried to stop thinking about death, but it creeps up on me.

I tried a lot of things but nothing really worked. I tied a pair of black stretchy pants and stretched it out as far as it would go and wrapped it around my neck. I tried to hang there but it started to hurt and my stupid impulses kicked in. Another time I dunked my head in the bathtub and swore I wouldn’t lift my head no matter what. Of course I lifted my head. So I thought pills might be the way to go. But an overdose didn’t go to well with my stomach. I ended up throwing it all up and sleeping for sixteen hours. Everything was the same when I woke up, no one even noticed.

Jackson tells me all this craziness is only in my head. He says it’s not healthy to think the things I think. He thinks I should seek medical help. I agree with him, I should, but I won’t. What would I say? Why am I feeling this way? I can’t answer that. I feel like a selfish, arrogant, high maintenance chick. How come nothing is good enough for me? I have everything I’ve ever wanted, especially now. But I’m running it all down to hell. I’m losing and I know it. How would I explain that I have everything, but still I’m not happy?

Jackson used to take me out a lot. He said it’s good for me to get out of my room. He took me to romantic little restaurants with expensive wines, boat rides around the city, Broadway plays and independent films theaters. We would spend whole weekends together at his place cooking and watching re-runs of Law and Order. Now all I ever want to do is go to a bar and drink. I hate the taste of alcohol in my mouth, but the after effects are great. I feel funny all over when I drink, funny and bold. I can do whatever I want when I’m tipsy. I don’t care as much what people have to say about me so I dance and talk freely. I’ve never been drunk before. My birthday was the closest I got. We went to this hookah bar on Coney Island Avenue named Vianky’s, where they had a DJ spinning all night. The place was dark and packed. Jackson led me to the VIP section covered with red see through curtains in the middle. I could walk straight but I was scared to use the restroom alone. What if I couldn’t hold my weight and I touched the toilet seat? I couldn’t risk that so I asked Jackson to come with me. “Jackson, don’t look over there okay. Just make sure I don’t slip and fall.”  I rolled down my tights and my underwear and hovered over the toilet seat carefully so that my thighs didn’t touch the seat and I peed. Turns out I didn’t really need Jackson’s help but it’s a good thing to always be on the safe side. I hate public bathrooms and germs. I’m a complete “germaphobe.” I would’ve probably been traumatized for the rest of my life if I had touched anything in that disgusting bathroom that day.

After we left, Jackson led me to the passenger side of his car. “Baby, I don’t wanna go home. Let’s go somewhere, let’s do something,” I begged.

Jackson laughed and put his arm around my waist. “Its 4o’clock in the morning. Where do you wanna go?” He asked.

“Let’s go this way. I never went this way before,” I pointed down the street.

“There’s nothing that way baby.” He said.

Then I pointed in the opposite direction, “Okay then, let’s go that way. I never went that way either.”

“What exactly do you want to do that way?” he asked. He was amused at my drunkenness. I knew I was talking like a dumb, blonde, long island chick but I didn’t care.

“I just wanna walk somewhere pretty,” I told him.

He kissed my forehead and opened the door. “Okay. Get in.” Few minutes later he parked on the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Prospect Park Southwest. We got out of the car and started towards the park. “You want to go to our place, or you want to walk around?” he asked.

“Let’s go to our place,” I said smiling.

“Okay then hold on a second.” He went back to the car and brought our blanket from the trunk. “All set. Let’s go.”

We walked to our place under the tree. No one is allowed in the park after dark, but our tree hid us well. Whenever a cop car would pass by I’d tense up but no matter how many times it passed us it never stopped. That day I didn’t care if the cops caught us. I was just happy. We put the blanket down on the grass and sat down. He wrapped his arms around me from behind and I felt like melting away into the earth. That moment of happiness was all I needed out of life. The rest didn’t matter anymore. I wanted to die right then. At least then I would’ve died happy. “I don’t want to go back home Jackson. I don’t ever want to go back home,” I said. There were tears in my eyes and my whole body shook.

“Baby?” He lifted his leg and spun me around so that my back rested on his leg. “Dhina? What happened? Why are you crying?” he asked, pulling my hair away from my face.

I couldn’t help it. I just cried like a little baby. I couldn’t get those filthy images out of my head.

“Dhina? Hey, what happened?” He took a tissue out of his back pocket and wiped my tears.

“You remember that week that I didn’t pick up your call?” I asked.


“And I told you I wasn’t feeling well?”

“Yeah, I remember. What about it?”

“Jackson, something happened that night. Something I can never tell anyone.”

“What are you talking about Dhina? What happened? You can tell me anything baby. I won’t be upset. I promise.”

Images flashed in my head. I could feel his weight on me. He threw his black dress pants on my couch and pulled the shirt off his back. His big black hands squeezed my breasts. I could feel his penis ripping me open. I wanted to scream. My red nightstand rocked violently back and forth and my head spun. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t find my voice. I clenched my fists and tears rolled down my cheeks. I just closed my eyes. I told myself to go to sleep. I told myself I wouldn’t open them no matter what. I told myself if I willed it, my eyes would never open again. And then everything went black.

My whole body shivered. I looked up at Jackson. He was so good to me. “I can’t Jackson. I just can’t. You won’t see me the same.”

“Dhina, I love you. I’m always gonna love you. Nothing is gonna change that, you hear me?”

“I hate myself Jackson. I hate myself. I wish I was dead. You don’t understand. You never will. I just can’t go back home ok?”

His brow had creased and he looked positively five years older than he was. He worried for me, but he understood. I could feel it, his love, his understanding. Jackson reached down and kissed my forehead. “Dhina, it’s ok. Tell me when you are ready. I love you.”

– Shammy 11/2/10

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