The seasonal changes make you remember.
My son has been jumpy and irritable for a few weeks. Last week it was the anniversary of one of the worst beatings I had. Not because I broke a bone or required hospitalization, it was an unremarkable beating, as all mine were, in severity. It was a bad beating because I was stretched out fully over a bed trying to tuck sheets into corners when he started on me, right on my spine- a repetitive thing that left me feeling as I were hit by a truck for quite some time. It was the only beating I screamed through.
It was about five days before I could walk comfortably. I prefer to be kicked or hit on fleshy parts (luckily I was pretty overweight after having the babies and stayed that way all during breastfeeding). There are good reasons to be fat or to cut off all your hair when you are in an abusive relationship.
I don’t exactly remember after which beating it happened, my son’s rejection, but I think it was that one, because of the noise. Normally their father just got in a blow or two and walked off. This was an intentional and prolonged effort, and any kid awake could hear it. After my son tried to disassociate from me. He knew I could not keep him safe, after witnessing my inability to protect myself and seeing his father ridicule my pain. He refused my help putting him to bed, and he turned away from me when I offered to hug him. It really hurt. He did that for a day, tried to keep himself safe from his father by rejecting me. I knew what he was doing, but watching it was different from reading about it. It hurt so much I knew I had to leave. I didn’t want them to go through such psychological gymnastics in their toddlerhood. Just because he had stayed off of them for a few months did not mean he would never hit them again. They would never feel safe if they kept seeing him hurt me.
A week later he went insane and spent the night accusing me of having sexual relations with his own family members. Ridiculous stuff, things that could not possibly have happened. He was confused on timelines and could not remember when or where and he made up stories to fit his confusion and accused me of doing things I could not have done even were I so inclined.
This is what a decade of absolute loyalty and obedience will get you.
I spent the entire night patiently correcting him and reminding him that at that time this and that was happening and therefore he was mistaken and etc. By morning my temper was short, my children were up, and I had far more to do and could not spend any more time coddling his crazy. I told him in a loud voice that he ought to check with his family and leave me alone about it, because he was very wrong. In some other words, I am sure. Polite enough, but firm. He did not like firm women.
He got in one blow, on my back as I walked away, where I still had bruising. While I was holding the baby. He looked at the patio door- all glass to the outside walkway where anyone passing could see in, and he stopped.
What kind of coward beats a fat, quiet, breastfeeding woman on the back?
His mother saw the whole thing. She decided it was my fault- because I spoke to him above a whisper. This is a woman who watched me stand up for her every time her son abused her and yet walked away each time he took after me. I don’t understand her at all. I consistently pulled him off of her, even knowing he could turn on me. Shouldn’t she have returned the favor?
There was a lot more drama that day, and despite my efforts to avoid anything further I sustained some injuries later, nothing too serious.
We left in a police car, actually two.
Today my son turns to me as we walk into the school for a function and starts telling me about the police car he rode in five years ago, when he was three. He doesn’t remember being scared any longer, which was how he felt when he got out of the car and was reunited with me at the time. He remembers the hard plastic seats. He said they were comfortable. He obviously doesn’t quite remember accurately.
But he remembers, with no prompting from me whatsoever. Five years to the day.