"Knowing what I know now, about God and His Sovereignty...
Somewhere there is a heart willing to listen to this story about this little girl, orange carpet, hollyhocks, a small town ...and violence. Somewhere there is surely someone who will read Your story and see the Grace and Mercy in your life...and God will use you to touch that person, for His Glory.

Your story touches my heart, Pat "

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Staircase

 this post is similar to a previous post called Staircase on Southern Belle





   I grew up in government housing, perhaps a small town white version of the hood. I had lots of friends there, many great memories and more than a few that aren't as good. It seemed like most of the trouble came from our house, the reality is, our troubles were were just the more visible kind. It wasn't uncommon to wake up to yelling there, sometimes it was the fighting kind like when  a young kid pulled a knife on Bob, and they danced through the yards like a poor version of West Side Story. Once we were awoke by our drunk but happy neighbor, he needed everyone to come out and see the fish he caught, we did. Mostly it was just run of the mill domestic "discussions", with an occasional sledge hammer to a truck window.

  Arranged in groups of four,  perhaps 44 total, the apartments were made of brick with small little yards,each with a clothesline. Holly hocks were everywhere, I think they were the only flowers that grew there.
Our place had three levels and the staircase between the main floor and upstairs bedrooms holds many memories for me. At the end of that staircase  was the large gold frame mirror where once a  little girl with an unwanted  pixie haircut peered in crying.
About half way down you could see into the living room and kitchen, if I sat there the wall still had me hidden from view but I could see everything going on in that  mirror, this is how I watched the troubling tv series Sybil. I wasn't allowed to watch it but something inside me really wanted to. I was hiding there in terror watching as Kunta Kinte had his foot chopped off on the series Roots, for years I couldn't sleep with my foot hanging off the edge of the bed. I spent hours there, playing, running and jumping, skipping steps making large leaps to the bottom, but a haunting memory of violence is most associated with the staircase.

      
She sat in a flannel nightgown on the kitchen chair, brown print wallpaper behind her and a small white porcelain stove to the left. He stood in front of her wearing blue jeans and a white t shirt like he always wore, he had just gotten home from the bar. His dead dark eyes squinting in anger, he was yelling, at only 5 foot 7 or 8, he was small in stature, but he was a scrapper. The little girl watched from the staircase, she saw his fist rear back, his other grabbed the flannel, the knuckles on both turning  white. The woman clasped her hands around his and pulled back, the flannel tore and she yelled, "Bob, NO!"
The little girl screamed, every bit of her body seized in fear yet....no sound came out.



To this day I don't remember the sound, I am not sure anything actually came out of my mouth. I don't remember his fist hitting her face, it probably did like so many other times, violence was normal those years, almost daily.
That incident is so vivid yet, so incomplete.

  A little girl on a staircase
with orange carpet
in a brick fourplex
with hollyhocks at the rear entrance,
across the street from a park
in a small town
in North Dakota.

6 comments:

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Knowing what I know now, about God and His Sovereignty...
Somewhere there is a heart willing to listen to this story about this little girl, orange carpet, hollyhocks, a small town ...and violence. Somewhere there is surely someone who will read Your story and see the Grace and Mercy in your life...and God will use you to touch that person, for His Glory.

Your story touches my heart, Pat

Karen said...

Shannon, your writing is so clear and concise, I felt like I was with you on the staircase. Isn't it something how some memories come back with a vengeance, due to a smell, a sound or a sight? Hollyhocks have always reminded me of my childhood, too. They grew along the barn wall. Good and bad memories, but nothing the likes of which you endured. You are an amazing person, Shannon.

Pamela said...

witnessing violence in our homes is just as powerful as being the victim of violence. I wish our legislatures understood this and passed tougher Child Witnessing laws.

mudderbear said...

Shannon I hope that putting this out there will help you to cast away your pain. It is distressing to say the least.

The Path Traveled said...

Shannon, I can hardly type and see the keys for fighting back the tears. That scream was heard by God...He was there keeping you back on the stairs. I'm so sorry that memory hunted you to this day. Now reread it again, and give it to God to erase.

Geneva said...

This is a very moving story and drives home that you can never tell what someone is going through or has been through just by looking at their smiling faces. More than once I've been shocked when hearing someones story that I thought had a perfect life, only to find out their past had been filled with tragedy. The really happy ones like you, have realized how the grace of God can dim the past and help them focus on the future. God bless you for being so transparent... I know he will honor you by using your story to minister to someone else who is hurting.