The huge gallon glass jar of homemade wine soared by Teensie’s head, barely missing her. The crash of the glass against the recently stained cabinet’s seared into her memory, like a freshly burned cd. An audible that would replay in her dreams on a regular basis for the next twenty four years.
Immediately the blood from the intended target made the grapes look like chocolate covered dead cherries.
Teensie’s mother was hit and Teensie was hysterical. Immediately the young girl saw images of how her life could play out in the instance that her mother fell victim to her father.
The girl always thought that her father would protect them at all costs. Sadly, in a single instant she’d seen what the devil looks like. The other half of her creation had suddenly become the intruder that all of the guns in the house were bought to ward off in case of invasion.
But how does one (especially a young child) vanguish a presence, a spirit, a metaphysical element that overtakes men with pre-existing hellish tendencies?
Her mother stood dazed and confused as if not understanding who the man that she’d given her hand in marriage , had gone. She looked astonished and out of sorts. Everytime another blow landed another more desperate affect filled her eyes, now pooling with blood. The former prom queen had never experienced any manner of abuse from anyone.
She was given the world by her father, who single handedly raised she and her two brothers- when her mother abandoned the family. Her world had been shattered when the loving father that she adored, had a heart attack leaving her to fend for herself at the age of sixteen. The prom queen went onto college and married the star athlete who had dreams of becoming a doctor-until the prom queen became pregnant. He resented her for taking away his aspiration to escape the house of horrors where he had been raised.
Teensie saw her mother unwilling to fight back. She witnessed the prom queen from pictures of old become little more than a punching bag. At that moment Teensie resented her mother for teaching her independence, resilience and “Sass”, that she was unwilling or unable to put into practice herself. The girl could not understand why the battered woman could not muster the warrior needed to at least fight back. Blow after senseless blow without so much as an objection had worn on the child’s emotional stamina.
The images of life without her mother played in her mind like a movie on fast forward. She saw her mother in a casket and no one to fill her void. She saw her father’s demonic arms trying to reach to embrace her ever again. The images of her having to be the sole careprovider for her younger brother welled up the strength within her twelve years. In laymen’s terms Teensie snapped but in spiritual term
The girl ran to the back bedroom where the guns were kept. Teensie pulled out the shotgun but got cut by the machete that sat atop of the firearm. That weapon had been used in the altercation the week before. Blood streamed down the girls arm but she didn’t feel a thing. The woman child had no idea whether the gun was loaded or not. All she knew was she had the only thing that would get her father off of her mother.
Her brother screamed as if he were being beaten when he saw his sister carrying the heavy artillery!
Teensie rounded the corner of the kitchen entrance. Her mothers always coifed hair looked like a mass of matted horse mane balled in the fist of the monster.
Her mother’s eyes seemed to plead with her not to do it. The gun was raised and the tiny voice had suddenly become deep and resonant. “GET THE HELL OFF OF MY MOTHER”! In one motion, the man that took loving care of she and her brother, turned towards the double barreled shotgun. He immediately seemed to be shaken from whatever had taken a hold of him. The monster was aware of himself. He stumbled and stepped on Teenie’s mother causing her ankle to snap.
Her father was shocked into temporary submission.
Teensie’s father had run from the house only to return three days later. He moved all of his crap in the basement and told Teenie’s mother that the marriage was over. He wanted nothing else to do with her. There were many court battles from this time to the day of FLIGHT. Restraining orders, severed relationships from cousins and other close relatives.
It was a beautifully clear day on December 27. The striking woman loaded the tan and navy blue Buick Regal with the children’s gifts, pots and pans, and necessary clothing items packed in overstuffed suitcases. The former prom queen had a new aura. A confidence that was tangibly victorious.
She later confessed that she was moved to resolve the matter because of her daughter’s bold act.
The children were hustled into the loaded vehicle, while the “monster” was visiting his brother’s house. The drive was silent until Teensie turned on the radio….”When Doves Cry” was utterly appropriate for this particular journey. That year Teensie and her brother received the best present of their entire life, the gift of FREEDOM.
They arrived later that afternoon to a beautiful brick townhouse that their moma had saved her hard earned money to buy all on her own. There was no furniture in the whole place, but it didn’t matter. Every night was a slumber party. Their mother made sure that the transition was not as negative as it possibly could have been. The house was always filled with music, board games and good things to eat. It was a welcome distraction.
The weight had been lifted. The ominous presence was gone and we were finally free from issues that had nothing to do with children and women.
Teensie appeared unscathed by the absence of her father but the void branded her heart. It made her angry towards men. An anger that she frequently unleashed while playing contact sports, right along with them. There she would encounter a few more grown boys that shared the desire to beat women but she returned fire without hesitation.
Her father would come around here and there. But he felt the distain from the children and soon didn’t show up at all. He didn’t even try to mend fences until the children were well into their thirties. Teensie couldn’t do it.
The baby boy found refuge in other arenas that were heavily gerded with testerone. Football, skateboarding, eating and even hustling. Fortunately, football was the path that was chosen.
To this day it isn’t known whether he feared the monster that he was creating in his daughter or whether he’d been baptized by the fire that birthed a burning bush within his girl woman child because of what he’d exposed her to way too early.
Deltonia N. Shropshire, MA