I’ve slept about 20 hours in the last five days, I’m on the bus feeling vulnerable from a social event. The bus turns down this road, down a hill in the dark. Now, I’ve been down this road hundreds of times before, but its been a long time. I purposely avoid this route these days, even avoid seeing my doctor on this side of town, but still I’m familiar with the turns, the stops and the lights. I know if you turn left at this red light you’ll get to a statue, make a right and a left and you’re at the house I grew up in. The house I grew up in with you. This paticular dark night I braved to look out the window, and when we drove up the winding hill I am reminded of all of the other times I’ve driven up this damn hill. With you. I’m reminded of the times you made me walk home across the bridge, all of the days I’d sit at this stop light on my way home to visit, all of the times we would be at this light home from school. The times we sat in the car-you fighting and screaming, each and every single time I felt like the worst god damn thing that ever existed or happened to you. I was born into the reason you were unhappy, the disappointment, and the human who was the equivalent of a breathing, sensitive mistake. As my bus drives up this hill a montage of moments both happy and sad, painful and horrible fill my minds eye, and this drowning ache fills my heart. I will never again drive up this hill and turn left to see you. I will never again be full of that hope that this time, maybe this time, for the first time I would feel like I belonged when I walked in that door. I will never get the chance to say all the things to you that I always played through in my head, because just as then, you will never listen. You will never see me, nor you will never say any of those things that I’ve always needed, hell deserved, to hear.
Did you know that in highschool, all those times I’d be walking or driving across that fucking bridge I’d think about throwing myself off of it? Because the idea of living in this hell, where I was made to feel like dirt by the people who are supposed to love and cherish and support you made me feel physically ill. I starved myself to fit into the kind of daughter I thought you wanted me to be, the kind of grand-daughter she wanted me to be. I suppressed my voice, I took your shit, I changed my clothes, I gave up secrets, I made sacrifices, I put my life and my happiness on hold because you made me feel guilty any time I felt even remotely happy, or walked into view.
All those times I’d be driving home whether from a friends or to visit from out of town I’d fill with this dread of what was to come. Was today going to be a day you would be happy to see me? Or was it going to be a day you tell me I’ve given you separation anxiety for moving 4 hours away, or when you tear up because instead of spending another night at home in front of the TV with you ignoring me, I decided to go to a friends house where I felt like for even a couple hours I belonged.
The damn bus drove up this hill into my past and I just managed to catch my breath. I let all these fucking images pass, not that I had a choice, and just tried to breathe. Remind myself that the monsters are gone. That when the bus stops, you wont get on. That not every 23 year old with brown hair is you, not every silver fucking car is you, and that I have nothing to be afraid of. Because despite all of the thousands of moments in the 23 years I heard you tell me different, it was not my fault you were unhappy. It was not my job as your child, or your older sister or your granddaughter to cure you, to fix you, to make you happy. I am and was not a stress ball you could squeeze and emotionally torture anytime you felt like you lost your grip despite your feeling of entitlement to do that anyway. It was not my fault for being a sensitive depressed and grieving kid, that you decided to abuse me. Because it was a choice. I don’t give a fuck what you say, you chose this. You chose to close your eyes to your own lives and to explode on whatever was easiest, and unfortunately that was mainly me.
This damn bus got to this red light and I remembered every time I got to this light, seeing you for the first time in a few months, that I sat here with a sense of hope, a plan of action. I’d find a way to prove to you I am good enough. Maybe if I was funnier, more superficial, less superficial, quieter, prettier, skinnier, dating, single, successful, I’d be worth your time. I’d be worth your love, this supposed unconditional familial love I’ve heard so much about. Maybe then I’d belong and know what it feels like to be in a family, a group of people who have your back and root for your success and happiness and have nothing but support and love for you even on the days that doesn’t happen. Even on the days the sun doesn’t come up.
I sat there at that damn light, knowing that chapter is done. Those hopes will never be fulfilled by you, neither will your words continue to cut me. You have lost the access to my heart, to me. So that you may not continue to abuse me and keep me small. I deserve a place where I feel at home, (real home), where I feel like I belong, where I feel safe, seen and heard.
Im sat on that damn bus in the dark at a red light, thankful it wasn’t turning left.