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My Story (Ch6) 10/27(R, for now)

 
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Parrish122

 


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Post subject: My Story (Ch6) 10/27(R, for now) Reply with quote
Chapter One
*****

I need to tell you my story.

But I find, to my horror, that I have to explain what my family was like in order for you to understand me at all. Concidering that I try very hard to forget the things that went on when I was younger, the thought of performing an autopsy on my family history is very painful indeed.

I'm going to do it anyway. I suppose that proves that I truly need to do this.

Just see me as the ghost of nightmares past. Take my hand and I promise I'll show you it all--even the truths that are hiding in the shadows of the lies I believed back then.

Please listen. And believe.
*****

I'll start with my father. He was in the Navy for twenty years. He joined up when he was eighteen, and I was born when he was thirty-five, so I didn't have to go through all the constant moving around like a lot of kids with fathers in the military do.

My father got into the Navy mostly because at least there he'd have his basic needs met. His father drank up too much of his paycheck to have enough left over for what he concidered minor things--like food, clothing, and medical attention for his children. Grandfather was also a mean drunk. Since my father was the only male child, and also the oldest, he always went after him first.

I don't think anyone can blame my father for jumping at the chance to get out of that house.

However, one can say that in light of how his father had a problem with alcohol, it was very unwise of him to start drinking.

I find I can understand that though, in a way. I think my father discovered that merely putting hundreds (sometimes thousands) of miles between himself and his father wasn't enough to end his pain. He carried it with him, you see.

That form of running away didn't work, so he chose another.

And it proved to be his fatal flaw.

Don't get me wrong--he didn't drink so much that he couldn't work. He didn't spend all his money on alcohol.

But he was a violent drunk, just like his father was.

Maybe part of it came from when he was a kid, and got picked on a lot because he didn't look like he could fight back, being so short and thin.

Once he got into the Navy he shot up to well over six feet tall and filled out considerably. A lot of that probably came from finally getting enough to eat and having decent medical attention.

But I think when my father looked in the mirror he always saw the little boy who got shoved around by bigger kids at school and beat on by his father at home. Saw the child who no one wanted on the team when it was time to choose up sides. The kid who often didn't even have shoes to wear and wore clothes two sizes too small.

He saw that little boy--and hated him. Hated the people who made him feel like he was nothing. Like he wasn't even human.

It's no wonder he carried a neverending well of rage within him.

So I can understand to some degreee part of the reason my father became the man he did. Not all of it, by any means. I can even forgive him for some of the things he said and did, and I'll always feel sorry for the boy he once was. The little boy he has locked up inside him, hidden in the darkness.

The little boy I can love, even if I can't love the man.


Last edited by Parrish122 on Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:35 pm; edited 5 times in total
PostTue Oct 06, 2009 11:11 am
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Draven260

 


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Intriguing start Parrish, I hope you continue Smile
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PostTue Oct 06, 2009 1:10 pm
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KatinasLove

 

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Yeah That

Hope to read more from this fic, soon Smile
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PostTue Oct 06, 2009 5:03 pm
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wow this was a good start!
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PostWed Oct 07, 2009 6:23 pm
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Parrish122

 


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Chapter Two
****

Of course, these are all things I found out--or figured out--later in my life. I didn't know all of this when I was growing up.

This is the first memory I have of my father:

I'm about three years old. I'm not sure if my father had just gotten out of the Navy or if he just happened to be home. It had to be close to the time that he retired, at any rate.

I was in my room, dancing to some music I was listening to on my record player.

It is funny what you remember and what you forget. I can't remember what song was on, but I do recall that the record skipped as I heard a loud thud in the hallway.

I opened my bedroom door and saw my mother lying on the floor, curled up in a ball. My father was screaming at her as he kicked her repeatedly.

Again, memory can be a strange thing. I can see how his normally pale face was so red it was nearly purple, but I can't remember what words he was yelling at her.

I stared at the scene in horror for a few seconds. Then, as he drew back his foot for another kick, I darted out of my room and threw myself at the leg he had his weight on. I even got lucky, and it threw him off balance--and the fact that he'd been drinking heavily helped, I'm sure. We both went crashing to the floor.

Mom started crawling down the hallway towards their bedroom. Maybe she was thinking she'd get to the phone and call the cops. Maybe she was just trying to get away. I don't know.

Before I could do anything else, before I could even think to do anything else, my father got to his feet. He grabbed me, lifted me over his head, and threw me on the ground as hard as he could.

If you have never had the wind knocked out of you, then you can't imagine how it feels. No matter how old you are when it happens to you, a part of you wonders if you are going to be able to start breathing again. Being as young as I was, I was certain I was about to die.

Then, suddenly, I was able to get air. It hurt to breathe...but at least I was breathing.

And even through the pain and the fear, I realized something.

My father was laughing at me. Mocking me.

Shaking with rage, I managed to say, in between gasps of air, "I...hate...you."

He actually looked shocked for a moment. Then he laughed again and said, "What makes you think I care?"

But even then, a part of me knew that he did care. I had somehow succeeded in hurting him, and I was glad of it. Maybe he saw some of this in my eyes. He turned, and staggered towards the door.

He didn't bother to shut the front door as he went outside. A few minutes later I heard the car door slam, and then the motor start up.

When I was sure he had driven away, I closed the front door. I couldn't reach the chain lock, but I turned the lock in the doorknob. And that was when I fell in love with locks. I loved anything that could keep the monsters that wanted to hurt me away.

Then I went looking for my mother.

I found her in their bedroom. She was lying face-down on the bed, sobbing.

I got up on the bed and started stroking her hair, telling her that dad was gone and I loved her. I told her I'd locked the door, but she needed to hook the chain since I couldn't reach it.

I'm sure I said more, but I don't remember what. I felt lost and terribly alone. I wanted something...but didn't know what.

I know now. I wanted her to hold me. I wanted her to make me feel safe.

For God's sake--I'd just tried to protect her from a grown man and she'd just left me alone. Maybe she'd thought that he wouldn't hurt me, but surely she should have known how even seeing that scene would effect me. And now she wasn't even acknowledging that I was talking to her.

But I didn't know that then. I just hated myself for being little and not knowing what to say to make her stop crying. For not being able to make things all right.

An eternity later, she turned over to face me.

"What will I do if he doesn't come back?" She wailed.

I didn't say anything, too stunned to speak. She wanted him to come back? Why?

Then, in a slightly calmer tone she said, "I heard you tell your daddy that you hated him. You shouldn't have. That wasn't nice."

Again, I was too young to have the words I needed. I simply knew that something was very wrong here.

Wiping at her eyes with one hand, my mother half-heartedly patted me on the arm with her other hand.

"I'll be ok. Don't worry." She said.

"Ok." I said, looking into her eyes and trying to figure out what was going on.

"Why don't you go outside to play for a while?" She asked in an oddly bright tone.

I didn't want to go outside. I wanted to stay behind locked doors, where I felt some degree of safety. Somehow, the thought that my father would surely have a key to the house never occurred to me.

"I...I want to stay with you." I said.

The smile fell off of her face. "Well, I want to be alone for a while. So you will have to go outside now."

I could feel tears dangerously close, so I just nodded and left to go outside.
PostFri Oct 09, 2009 4:49 pm
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Draven260

 


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Wow that would have to so confusing, being a child & trying to protect your mom.......... Abusive relationships are just a vicious circle.
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PostFri Oct 09, 2009 5:28 pm
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aww wow yulia was a brave little girl and smart to for 3. And having yulia being as a kid in the first few scenes is very good way to show who is the good one and the bad guy...that anaylzing is due to my film class, which oddly i apply more to reading then picture. Also i wonder whats going on with yulia's mom i wouldnt want him around after that, but then again i wouldnt have wanted him around ever maybe she is just stupid...or being blackmailed or something.

great update
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PostSat Oct 10, 2009 12:37 am
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BooBoo

 

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Poor little thing! I can understand her being to terrified and confused. Her mom should have taken care of her!
PostSat Oct 10, 2009 7:34 am
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paintedfrog wrote:
Also i wonder whats going on with yulia's mom i wouldnt want him around after that, but then again i wouldnt have wanted him around ever maybe she is just stupid...or being blackmailed or something.

great update


well, i'll try to answer since i was in almost the same situation that Yulia, maybe i was a little bit older.

I think she thinks she worth nothing, he had made her feel like she was nothing without him and now she happened to believe it, she feels like she depends on him because he's the one that bring the food and pay the bills and maybe she also thinks that Yulia needs a father and it's better that kind of father than no father at all.

I would say more things but my english is not that good and i get confuse. lol XD
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Great update, this looks great, like all your others fics parrish =)
PostSat Oct 10, 2009 10:49 am
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I've missed reading these things.

A few things...

I can relate to some of the stuff going on in this story so far, which is why it resonates with me in a sense. It also does make me wonder if the events written here come from personal experience; you describe it well enough. I almost put a smiley there, but I realized that might seem sort of odd. I think you understand, though. Hug

I do have a question, though. I've read the feedback here and Yulia has been mentioned. I reread the chapters a couple of times. Maybe it's just me and my inability to fully concentrate, but I don't see Yulia mentioned specifically. Am I missing her being mentioned, either directly or implied? Is it Yulia? Or is it not supposed to be known yet? Or what?

In any case, it's an interesting start. I wonder about the story Yulia (or whoever) has to tell. Words like "autopsy" make me conclude that this isn't a very happy story. (Well, that and the part about being thrown around by a drunk and stuff, heh.)
PostSat Oct 10, 2009 12:00 pm
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Draven260--Thank you! I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. And yeah, trying to protect your mom when you are just a kid is terrifying and confusing.
t.A.T.u-U.s.A--Thanks!
theone--Thank you as well.
paintedfrog--She's definately brave as well as smart. I'm actually curious as to why you thought it was Yulia, because I hadn't specified who was "speaking" in the first two chapters. I've worked on later chapters, and it does later come out that it's Lena who is the little girl.
BooBoo--Absolutely. And if you don't like her mother in that chapter, you're *really* not going to like her in this one!
nur--You've hit on a lot of the very reasons why her mother is thinking/acting this way. You'll understand a bit more in the following chapter. I'm sorry to hear that you were in a similar situation though. I know how difficult that is.
IvyRevolution--No, you didn't miss anything. I hadn't identified who the little girl is, but it is Lena. My guess is that people saw the little girl as being fairly fiesty, and thought Yulia. Which is understandable. But since this was her mother, Lena felt she had to do something.

And yes, some of this story does come from personal experience. Usually not exact situations, more like I wrote things that would have generated the same emotions as I'd gone through in similar situations. I can see where a smiley would've been a bit odd in that spot, but yeah, I do understand. Hug

And yeah, "autopsy" just isn't a cheerful sort of word, eh? Heh.
******

Chapter three
*****

My mother was, and will most likely always, be a mystery to me.

My father, even at his worst, was at least consistant. I became very adept at reading his moods within seconds of his walking into a room. If he were tired, drunk, or both, I knew to be extra careful around him.

My mother was much more irrational, erratic, and difficult to predict. An action that had merrited punishment one week could earn praise the next.

As a result, even though my father was far more brutal physically, I believe my mother damaged me more.

I could never relax around her. Even at times when she was happy I had to stay on my guard, constantly fearing the moment when she would turn on me.

The part I think most people who did not grow up in abusive homes don't understand is that it isn't only the moments of actual abuse that we suffer through. After all, it isn't like I was beaten every day of my childhood.

But I did wake up every day having to live with the possibility it would happen.

And living with constant fear, and hiding your heart away to try and prevent it from being ripped right out of you, kills you by inches.

That kind of death always shows in the eyes first. Even now, sometimes when I look in the mirror I'll see lifeless eyes staring back. Eyes that have sometimes made me wish I had the strength to close them forever.

But then other times I look and see I don't quite have the eyes of a corpse.

They didn't quite succeed in driving all the life out of me.

And I manage to go on.
****

But I was telling you of my mother. She didn't tell us much about her childhood. I knew that her father was a minister, and had died when she was nine. She did talk quite a bit about how much she loved him, and how good he was to her.

I remember her telling me how when her mother had to let her know her father died, she called her "Honey" for the first and last time. I wonder now how she could remember that pain and yet refuse to use any terms of endearment with her own child.

I grew up believing that my grandmother had only been married once, to my mother's father. In reality, she'd been married four other times. I discovered this after my mother died and I was helping my father go through her things. I found an old picture of my grandmother with a man. I asked who he was, and my father glanced at the photo and said casually, "Oh, that's one of your grandmother's husbands."

I think it tells a great deal about how little my family communicated, since my father had no idea that my mother had lied all those years to me.

Another interesting fact came out of going through her belongings. I found a framed copy of one of my grandmother's divorce decrees.

I had to wonder why my mother would treasure this. When I figured up the dates of when they'd been married, I saw that my mother would have been ten when they first got married, and 14 when they divorced. Crucial years in a girl's development. I can't prove it, but I feel certain that he had abused her in some way, and that she kept those papers as a reminder that he was really gone.
*****

Even when my mother tried to do what she thought was the right thing, it often ended up hurting me.

I remember once, when I was about eight, waking up because I was having a hard time breathing.

That is because my mother had shoved a pillow up against my face.

Not that I knew that right then. At the moment, I was just fighting to get air.

Just as I was about to black out, my mother removed the pillow.

I remember feeling shocked as I saw her and figured out what she'd been doing, and felt even more confused by the look on her face.

Because she didn't look angry. Just blank.

I couldn't begin to understand what was going on. Was this a dream? Weren't people supposed to be angry at you if they were hurting you?

We stared at each other a long moment. Then, with amazement in her voice, she said softly, "You want to live."

Not knowing what to say, I nodded.

She continued to look at me for several moments. Then said, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that you want to live."

I saw tears in her eyes as she kissed me goodnight on my forehead. I also saw compassion there and...love?

Yes. In her confused, deranged way, love.
PostSat Oct 10, 2009 12:26 pm
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Draven260

 


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Wow, not sure how I would've reacted if my mom had tried suffocating me with a pillow......... I can see this fic being more on the darker side of life.
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PostSat Oct 10, 2009 12:35 pm
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IvyRevolution

 


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Okay, this chapter disturbed me just a tiny bit. In a good way, I guess. But wow.


Parrish122 wrote:
But then other times I look and see I don't quite have the eyes of a corpse.


This is my favorite line, by far. The imagery says so much in so few words.

And then this...

Quote:
I remember once, when I was about eight, waking up because I was having a hard time breathing.

That is because my mother had shoved a pillow up against my face.

Not that I knew that right then. At the moment, I was just fighting to get air.

Just as I was about to black out, my mother removed the pillow.

I remember feeling shocked as I saw her and figured out what she'd been doing, and felt even more confused by the look on her face.

Because she didn't look angry. Just blank.

I couldn't begin to understand what was going on. Was this a dream? Weren't people supposed to be angry at you if they were hurting you?

We stared at each other a long moment. Then, with amazement in her voice, she said softly, "You want to live."

Not knowing what to say, I nodded.


The bolded part gave me chills. Sad chills.
PostSat Oct 10, 2009 12:44 pm
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sparks

 


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Wow, this is so well written with words and imagery. It's so emotional and gave me chills. Crazy childhood, but it is real.
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PostSat Oct 10, 2009 4:16 pm
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KatinasLove

 

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Tough, tough childhood… and disturbing as well. The way you explain her father sounds a lot like mine.

And the way her mother acts towards the end with her words…

Parrish122 wrote:
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that you want to live."


Simply frightening…
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PostSat Oct 10, 2009 11:09 pm
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Jan1551

 

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Wow, I'm quite speechless. I could tell at the first few chapters that this would be on the darkside but the downturn this last chapter took was simply chilling. Lena's moms lines at the end about living were very disturbing. VERY disturbing. Something I truly can't imagine a child saying to their child. Another line that stuck out to me was:

Lena's thoughts wrote:
Weren't people supposed to be angry at you if they were hurting you?"

I read over this line multiple times and something about it is very powerful to me. It doesn't seem like it was meant to be one of the 'big lines' in the chapter so to speak but it stuck out to me. I think often people hurt each other without trying, without meaning to be malicious. Anger is not always the cause of pain. Of course I'm taking the line out of context but still.

Very well written and powerful story Parrish. I'm very interested to see where you take this.
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PostWed Oct 14, 2009 10:28 pm
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Is her mom bipolar? That was...insane.
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 1:17 pm
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Parrish122

 


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Draven260--Oh yeah--very dark. Even for me, this will be a dark one.

IvyRevolution--Sad chills is exactly the kind of reaction I was hoping for, so it's great to know you felt like that. To say that Lena's mother is emotionally disturbed is putting it a bit mildly.

sparks--Thank you. I'm glad that this part came across as realistic.

t.A.T.u-U.s.A--I'm sorry to hear your dad is like that. I based that character on my father in some ways, so I can certainly sympathize.

I wanted the line you quoted to be kind of a jaw dropping bit--the lynchpin of the whole chapter. So I'm glad several people have had an emotional reaction to it.

Jan--Well, the line you mentioned was sort of important, in the sense that I wanted it to help remind the reader that Lena was a child at the time. When you are young, you do tend to think the only reason someone would hurt you would be if they were angry at you. So the fact that her mom seems to mean this in a *loving* way (even kissing her goodnight before leaving) just makes her confused as well as terrified.

BooBoo--Not bipolar...but she does have serious mental and emotional issues.

*****

Chapter Four
****

For most of the people that are bound to me by ties of blood, the warmest emotion I can consistantly feel is pity.

This isn't the case with my half-brother, David.

I'm the oldest, but only by a few months. We both have the same father. I suppose it is fairly obvious that my dad was cheating on my mother.

David's mother, Julie, didn't know my father was married until after she got pregnant. I'm a little surprised that my father decided to stay with us. The only thing I can figure is that my father decided that if he was going to support a wife and kid, it might as well be the family he already had. It would be less complicated that way.

He did send Julie child support--I'll credit him for that. But she really had nobody to help her raise David.

She held it together, somehow. When David was two, she met a lady in a similar situation. So Marcia and her little girl, Yulia, moved in with them.

I would find out when I was a teenager that Marcia and Julie had become lovers.

They were a family, and I still envy David for having that home to live in when he was younger.

Marica had wanted to adopt David, but dad wouldn't give up his parental rights.

Mind you, he never went to visit David. But he didn't want to give him up to Marcia either.

When David and I were five (Yulia too. She was in between David and I in age) Julie was killed in a car accident.

My father insisted that David move in with us.

I don't believe that he did this out of any desire to take care of his son. He just didn't want Marcia to have him.

So Marcia not only lost her partner, she lost her son. Yulia lost the only other parent she'd ever known and her brother as well.

And, of course, David was torn away from everything he'd ever known.

My mother made no secret of the fact that she did not want David living there. I can understand that he was a painful reminder of the fact that her husband had been unfaithful to her.

But this certainly wasn't his fault. So she shouldn't have taken it out on him.

She did though. She made sure that he never felt like the house he was living in was his home. Yet he was expected to be grateful for the fact that he was allowed to live there. Can you imagine?

He had been taken away from a home where he was loved, given to two adults who, at best, were indifferent towards him but more often actively disliked him...and they demanded that he be grateful!

And he was forbidden to mention his mother, Marcia, or even Yulia.

So he told me about them.

Well, not at first. I think that David didn't like me too much at first. As far as he was concerned, he already had a sister and didn't need another. Plus he couldn't know at that point if he could trust me or not.

Eventually he realized that I was his ally. And he was my salvation. I am very sorry for him that he ended up living with us, but grateful he was there for me.

David was far from perfect, but without him I doubt I would have known that anyone could love me.

As we grew up, we often told people that we were twins. They would believe us too. We had the same shade of red hair, both had fair skin, and similar eye color--though his were closer to green and mine were more blue.

But it was more than outward appearances that made people believe we were twins. It was how close we were. We had empathy that bordered on telepathy.

One thing we discovered as we got older was that if something traumatic happened to us, if one of us blocked it out, usually the other could remember it. It was like our minds had linked without our knowing it and decided who would hold what memories. This made the blank spots in my mind not so scary.

Unfortunately, there was a lot for both of us to remember. David quickly became a favorite target for my father in his drunken rages. He constantly called David a fag, and claimed that the beatings would toughen him up.

He did succeed in getting neither David or myself to cry, no matter how much pain we were in. If we cried, the beatings only got worse.

Even now, even when I want to cry, I almost never can.

Other than that, the only thing my father managed to do was make us both want to be as little like him as possible.
PostThu Oct 15, 2009 4:55 pm
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Such a powerful update!

It's horrible that David had to move in with Lena's parents.. and not even be treated with an ounce of respect. Also, it's good that he and Lena became closer. They both needed someone to talk to.. and someone who would listen.
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PostThu Oct 15, 2009 5:09 pm
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Volkster

 

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It's a very powerful story so far Parrish! Thumb

Sad and disturbing and angry and at the same time compassion is evident for all the things that Lena's parents put her through!

I can't wait to see where you go with this!

Have I told you how happy I am that you are really back lately? Hug
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PostFri Oct 16, 2009 1:33 am
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t.A.T.u-U.s.A. wrote:
Such a powerful update!

It's horrible that David had to move in with Lena's parents.. and not even be treated with an ounce of respect. Also, it's good that he and Lena became closer. They both needed someone to talk to.. and someone who would listen.


Yeah I'd have to agree with t.A.T.u-U.s.A. & hope to see another update soon.
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PostFri Oct 16, 2009 1:56 pm
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That is such crap that he was taken from a parent that loved him! That gets me so heated for personal reasons.
PostFri Oct 16, 2009 2:49 pm
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David caught his first fish when he was eight years old. Even if it hadn't been his first, it would have been impressive seeing as how it was well over ten pounds.

My father had taken him fishing, and I knew as soon as they walked into the house that it had been a good day. I had learned at an early age to read my parent's emotions, so at eight I was already an expert at it.

Often I knew if either my mother or father was in a bad mood before they were all the way in a room with me. Just from their walk alone I knew if I should do my best to be invisible or not.

So it was with relief that I noticed that my father was even smiling--a rare event in itself.

With a great deal of pride, my father told my mother and myself all about how David caught the fish. He described it in such detail that I almost felt like I was there. My father was an excellent storyteller, and I liked him best when he was doing it. I only wished he did so more often.

David was standing next to him, grinning, clearly loving this rare moment of parental approval.

My father had just finished telling us how he had nearly fallen out of the boat since he'd been excitedly running back and forth while shouting out encouragement and advice, when my mother sneered, "Tell the truth, Al. You caught the fish."

As one, the three of us turned to stare at my mother in stunned silence. At that moment my father and David had such identical looks of hurt puzzlement that nobody could have doubted they were father and son.

I was both astonished and mad. I couldn't figure out why she believed that nor why she'd say such a thing. Why ruin such a nice moment?

As I stared at her I realized something...and grew even angrier.

She didn't believe what she'd said--she had been jealous of the attention David was recieving.

Even after all these years I am convinced that this was her motivation, though I doubt she realized it herself. My mother was so insecure that she didn't seem to believe that someone could love others and still love her. Her usual strategy was to try and turn us all against each other. She lived by the words "Divide and conquer".

Predictably enough,David and my father both insisted that my brother had been the one to catch the fish. This quickly escalated into a heated arguement between my parents. David and I exchanged glances, then quietly slipped out of the room.

As we reached the hallway, I told my brother that I believed him. He gave me a sad smile and said he knew that already. Not knowing what else to say, I went on to my room.

I wish now that I'd hugged him and told him how wrong our mother was. But we were not an emotionally demonstritive family, and we rarely acknowledged aloud the problems we had. In a couple of years David and I would grow closer and did get to where we discussed what went on in our house.

But I wasn't at that point yet, so I escaped to my room.

About half an hour or so later my mother opened the door to my room. She didn't knock--she never did. The rest of my family would knock and wait for me to say it was all right to come in before entering, but not her. Whenever I'd complained about this, she'd say that the only reason someone would have a problem with that would be if they were doing something wrong.

I glanced up from the book I was reading and saw my mother had an unpleasant smile on her face. She gestured for me to join her and whispered, "Come here."

Reluctantly I put down the book, got off the bed, and followed her. I didn't know why, but my instincts were telling me that I'd regret this.

But I didn't have a choice.

My father was standing in the hallway. He raised his eyebrows at me, and I shrugged, indicating that I didn't know what was going on either.

We followed my mother down the hallway until she stopped at the bathroom door and opened it.

There stood my brother. He had put the fish into a sinkful of water.

David was crying--nearly sobbing.

He turned, looked me in the eyes, and said, "He's dying."

I could feel my heart breaking for him. It was clear by his tone of voice that he was sorry for what he'd done and wanted to somehow take back his actions. My brother was far more sensitive than I, and had empathized with this fish in a way I never would have.

I turned to my parents, to ask them if we could hurry and return the fish to the lake.

What I saw made the words dry up in my mouth.

My father was glaring at David in pure disgust. As I watched, he mockingly asked David, "What are you going to do next? Give it mouth to mouth?"

I shifted my gaze to my mother as she laughed, and felt rage run through me. I suddenly recalled that she'd brought me and my father here to witness this. That she'd seen how upset my brother was and found it amusing.

I didn't have the words then for all that I felt. I mostly just knew that what she'd done was horribly wrong. Now I know that I felt betrayal on behalf of my brother, and more than a little contempt for her.

I also hated her. It wasn't the first moment that I'd felt that way, but it was the first time I'd admitted it to myself.

I was so overwhelmed by all I was feeling that I simply stood there for a moment. For most of my life I had tried hard not to feel much of anything, so I didn't know how to handle it when I encountered emotions as strong as these.

My father stomped over to the sink, snatched up the fish, and shoved it into my brother's unwilling arms.

David's jaw dropped from surprise, and my father snapped, "Hold it! You're going to hold it until it dies!"

"Dad!" I exclaimed, horrified. "Why?!"

"Stay out of this." He said, not bothering to look at me as my brother began to cry harder than before.

My legs felt like they'd give out on me as I walked over, took the fish from David, and placed it back in the sink.

"Dad, just stop being so mean." I pleaded. I was shaking all over. Partly from anger, but also because I was afraid of what he'd do next. Neither of my parents tolerated rebellion in any form from their children.

So I wasn't even surprised when he backhanded me, nearly knocking me into the tub. He grabbed the fish, dropped it on the floor, and cursed. Then he picked it up and thrust it at my brother.

"Take it. And stop that crying or I'll give you a reason to cry!" My father said.

"Al...he's just a little boy." My mother said uncertainly from the hallway.

I glared at her, more angry than if she'd kept silent. It was far too late for her to be trying to put the brakes on the situation.

Neither my father or brother gave any sign of having heard her. David took the fish and held it close to his chest, visibly trying hard to stop crying. He glanced at me, and his look both thanked me for trying and mutely pleaded with me to stop before things got worse.

So I stayed where I was on the floor and watched that fish as it tried desperately to breathe. From time to time David stroked it with one hand, and I doubt he was even aware that he was trying to console this fish as it died.

It seemed to take forever, but it was probably only a few moments before the fish finally died. And by the time that happened, my brother's tears had ended as well.

My father took the fish back from him and motioned for my brother to leave. David quickly walked out, no doubt relieved that this ordeal was finally over.

As I got to my feet, my father quietly said, "I don't expect you to understand...but what I did was for his own good."

I didn't say anything. Partly because I was still so angry, and that made speaking dangerous. But mostly it was because he was correct about one thing--that I didn't understand.

Now I'm certain that he believed he was right to do what he did--that he needed to toughen David up.

He certainly succeeded in making my brother desire to be less sensitive. Years later, David would inform me that he'd sometimes burn, cut, and hit himself in order to learn how to take pain better. To be able to endure it without showing it bothered him. This worried me more than he knew, because I'd done the same things myself...and I hadn't wanted to believe that my brother had felt the same compulsion to make himself a little dead inside.

My father ended up taking that fish to a taxidermist and making it a trophy to hang in my brother's room. I'm not sure if this was intended as an act of cruelty or if it was a bizzare way of apologizing.

But I believe that more than just a fish died in that room that day....and that trophy was a constant reminder of that.

****Author's Note*****
I'd stated earlier that parts of this story were somewhat based on my childhood. In most cases, very loosely based--focusing on emotions I had and changing the circumstances. This chapter, however, is exact (other than changing the names and changing my age. I was 12 rather than 8). I very nearly didn't point this out, as I'm not used to baldly stating "This happened to me as a kid", though a few of you had been told this particular story already. But somehow it didn't feel right to let you all think this was made up--I'd have felt I had done the child that I used to be wrong.
PostSun Oct 18, 2009 11:13 am
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Parrish122

 


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t.A.T.u-U.s.A--Thank you! And yeah, what a nightmare for David. It's hard to say which is worse--to be Lena and never have a loving parent, or to be David and know what it's like to be loved and be snatched away from it.
Volkster--Thanks Volkster. I'm definately trying to have this be a very emotional story.

And aww....thanks. Hug
Draven260--Well, it was up fairly soon. Smile
BooBoo--Yes, that is definately messed up. What a selfish decision Lena's dad made. He managed to hurt his son, his wife, Yulia and Yulia's mother.

Thanks to everyone for reading and replying. I might not always respond to feedback because a lot of times I have pain in my back, and sitting up makes it worse. So I often just post the chapter and go. But I do greatly appriciate the feedback, and I'll try to be better about responding to it.
PostSun Oct 18, 2009 11:27 am
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Parrish you give a lot of youself in your stories, any writer does but I feel you do it more so than others. I think its part of the reason why so many of us love your stories.

The fact that this story is mixed with your past, thats a whole lot of trust you have towards your readers & that means a lot to me & probably the others too. So if you don't always respond to our feedback personally doesn't really matter coz in a way you do because you always post the next chapter Grin .

So on that note, the chapter was powerful & to see what both Lena & David has to go through on a daily basis can be heartbreaking.

As always I patiently await the next update & I apologise for the long ass reply Wink
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PostSun Oct 18, 2009 12:01 pm
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KatinasLove

 

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You have so much emotion built in this, Parrish.. it's amazing! Reading this can honestly make one's heart ache. I know it did for me!

Also, I hope that trophy was not a way to apologise for what their father done. If it was, that's truly sick in a way….
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PostSun Oct 18, 2009 2:14 pm
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This really was heartbreaking. It made me feel so sad.

We can really feel emotions in the story because of that experience you had and it makes it so real and so raw. So well written.
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PostMon Oct 19, 2009 12:08 am
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Parrish122

 


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We were almost eleven when we became close.

Not that it took us that long to become friends. Neither David or I were stupid, it didn't take either of us long to figure out that we were the only ones in the house not actively trying to hurt the other. It wasn't a big step from there to know that we could be friendly allies.

My mother, of course, hated this. The last thing she wanted was for anyone in our house (I hesitate to call it a home) to reach out to each other. I didn't understand it at the time, but now I think she was so insecure that she thought that she couldn't possibly compete with anyone else.

That she saw any interaction with the family as a competition.

I can't help but wonder what all happened to her as a child to make her this way.

But at the time, all I knew was she was often angry, and nearly always unpredictable.
*****

I remember clearly the day David and I became brother and sister, rather than just friends.

Mother was bringing us home from school in a blind rage.

We'd gotten our report cards.

"You got a "C" in math?!?" She screamed at me, rarely bothering to look at the road in front of her. "What's wrong with you? Why can't you do better? You get "A's" and "B's" in everything else. Except for your constant "Needs improvement" for your handwriting. I could maybe understand the math grade since you are stupid, but what idiot can't even manage to write clearly?!"

"I don't know." I muttered, staring hard at the air condictioning vent on the dashboard, memorizing every detail. I'd long ago learned that if I focused like that, I was less likely to cry.

She laughed bitterly. "I don't know." She repeated in a mocking voice.

"She practices her handwriting a lot." David said quietly from the back seat.

I was astonished. The first rule of survival in our family was if you weren't the one in trouble, keep your head down and don't attract attention.

Plus, David always got it worse than me.

My mother slammed on the brakes, making David slam into the back of my seat. Once he was in range, she reached back and struck him three times.

"SHUT UP!!" She shrieked. "I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE!!"

Then, suddenly, she stomped on the gas. As we began to pick up speed, she continued to yell....but was also crying. Saying she didn't want to live, that we made her miserable, that she should drive us into a tree....

I hate to admit it, but my first reaction was just to close my eyes and think, "Fine. Do it.".

See.....I was exhausted. And not just because one of my mother's favorite punishments was to allow me minimal sleep....or on some occasions, no sleep at all. I was weary to the bone emotionally.

So a part of me wanted to undo my seatbelt, look her in the eyes, and dare her to do it.

I opened my eyes, and I'm not sure what I was going to do next.

But I happened to look into the rear view mirror....and saw David. He was clinging to the door handle, clearly planning to try and jumpr from the car before my mother could wreck it.

He was obviously terrified.

He wants to live.

I frowned, wondering why that phrase seemed so familiar.

And that's as far as I can remember.

David told me later that I--somehow--managed to talk my mother down. He said I was very calm, and that it was like an older version of me had stepped in for a few minutes, just to make sure we made it through.
*****

That night, I remember staring at the ceiling and trying not to think. I'd look at the shadows the moonlight coming in from my window made, and make up stories about them.

Then, because it was so quiet, I could hear David crying in the other room. I got out of bed and tiptoed to his door, not wanting to wake my parents.

"David." I whispered. "It's me."

I opened the door and went in, praying I wouldn't get caught. I wasn't sure who'd be in more trouble--David for waking them up with his crying or me for being out of bed.

He'd done his best to muffle the sounds, I saw. He had his face pressed into his pillow. But he was sobbing so hard that it was still audible.

I sat next to him and awkwardly patted him on the back. "David....you've got to stop. They'll hear you."

For several tense minutes, it didn't seem he'd be able to stop. But finally, it began to taper off. He looked up at me, still crying, but not making any more noise.

"I want my mom." He said simply. "I want to leave here. I want to go home."

"I know." I said, biting my bottom lip. I understood, but I couldn't help but think of how much worse things would be for me if he did leave.

"I want my sister." He said.

Maybe something flashed across my face. I don't know. But he quickly added, "My other sister, I mean."

I blinked. It was the first time he'd called me that.

"I....I don't know what I'd do without you here." He said.

"I don't know what I'd do without you either." I said quietly.

He studied my face a moment. Then, as if he'd seen the truth of what I'd said on my face, he hugged me.

My brother.
PostTue Oct 27, 2009 12:32 pm
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Your posts are always so moving!
PostTue Oct 27, 2009 1:48 pm
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KatinasLove

 

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Very well written, Parrish! Words can't describe how this fic makes me feel.
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PostTue Oct 27, 2009 5:54 pm
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What a scary & exhausting life to live.... And I really like that last part. Great update, as always. I love this fic. Please update soon.
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PostTue Oct 27, 2009 11:21 pm
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Thank you for the update Parrish!! sparks is right... their life is more than exhausting but maybe together they can make it a little less scary, cause sharing it, takes away half of it!

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PostTue Nov 17, 2009 5:26 am
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