I Dream of Dirk

Painting by John Henry Fuseli Image in the Public Domain

Painting by John Henry Fuseli Image in the Public Domain

Depression kicks me in the nuts on a regular basis. After my revelation yesterday, I think my brain decided to get back at me. I had nightmares regarding my mother’s ex-husband, my family’s number one abuser, Dirk.

I dreamt of endless arguments. I begged, pleaded, raged, and prayed that he would understand. My mother wasn’t a bad person. She was only a bad person when she was with him. My brothers weren’t bad kids, they just needed parents. I needed parents. The dreams did end, but the truths of our childhood, the terrors of my teenage life, they stuck. They haunt me this morning.

Our family wasn’t broken. It lived in fear of Dirk’s rage. Our home wasn’t a place of comfort. It was a battleground. It pitted us against each other. I was placed in an impossible position. I was held responsible for my siblings. I was held responsible for the condition of the house. My brothers were left without true parents, and stuck answering to another kid – me.

If our home wasn’t clean, it was my fault. If my siblings had to clean, it was my fault. If my brothers were beaten because they didn’t clean, I was blamed. Oak and I were held in such an impossible position. Oak did get away. It took a tragedy of betrayal and hatred and terror, but it’s not my story to tell. I, however, was left doing everything I could to keep our lives safe.

It didn’t work. The position I was left in was impossible. I couldn’t be a high school student, a parent, a sibling, and a child, all at once. It doesn’t work that way. It shouldn’t be that way. But that’s what it was. That’s the only life I got. No do-overs. Just painful memories.

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