8 am, bright sunshine warmed my face when my door opened. Barely awake and squinting I saw my mom enter with a man. Bob. He resembled Abraham Lincoln, much shorter but with deep set brown eyes and thick side burns. He was smiling and trying very hard to win me over.
How does a 9 year old know they are trying to be impressed by an adult?
I knew something instantly....I didn't like him, I didn't trust him.
Even with promises of returning later to make a water balloon man and have "lots of fun" I found the pit of my stomach hollow, that feeling of dread, paralyzing dread, not yet fear.
To this day I have told my husband there is a voice that comes from an adult toward a child that gives me that same feeling. I can't explain it, I have only heard that manner of speaking, a few times since, but in an instant I don't trust that person. It is something sinister, manipulative and disingenuous.
My stomach maintained that feeling for years to come.
My door opened in early Spring, I don't remember the first drunken binge or the first time he hit her. I don't remember the first time he lost the car or broke a window but by the fall of that year he had well established his pattern of behavoir. Work- bar-home around one AM, repeat. Sunday's were the worst, at that time all bars were closed. I find it odd he didn't keep alcohol at home, he liked the bars. So he was dry and angry on Sundays and it seemed to get worse as the day went along.
Bob had recognizable drunks, I caught on to it quickly. I knew when to try to smooth things over between them and when to stay hidden in my room.
His beer drunk was the rarest, he was friendly, funny and cheerful. Full of optimism and promises. We once left to a family gathering 40 miles away with a beer Bob and returned with the mixed drink Bob. Out of control, chaotic and driving 80 mph down the wrong side of the highway. He was punching her the entire way in the front seat. When we came to the intersection he didn't know which way to go. Turning to the back seat, he asked me, "Which way?' I was struck with fear, I knew if I picked the wrong way this drive from hell would continue for who knew how long. I thank God I pointed in the right direction. We were home in about 10 minutes and he was off to the bar.
Whiskey Bob was the most frequent, he brought broken bones, broken furniture and broken emotions.
Still the most fearful was the what on earth is he on Bob, often returning in a state of paranoia, his deep set eyes were completely dead yet seemed to be on fire. Sometimes he would hide in a corner for fear "they were out to get him." Soon he would shift, blaming my mom for telling them where he was. On a good night he just went to bed and passed out, this was when my training on how to roll a drunk occured. Since he cashed his check and went straight to the bar, our only hope of any money came on these nights, I stood lookout while she dug through his pockets.Other times he would shift into a paratrooper, doing rolls off the couch onto the floor, explaining how one would do it from an airplane. He was a minister, occasionally a cop, you never knew who you were about to encounter.
As a child I prayed, as a teen I rebelled. As an adult I became very angry until God began my healing process.
Form the ages of 9-12 I prayed a lot.
Everytime he was on a black out drunk I prayed he wouldn't return. At most, they lasted a week.
When he committed himself for treatment, I prayed he would stay away forever, he checked himself out early.
When he overdosed on a bottle of pills and whiskey, I prayed as he laid out in the yard that the ambulance wouldn't make it in time, but I could hear a faint siren.
He lived with us four years.
I had nightmares for ten.