The Years of the Monster

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published at Shamelessly Sassy}

When I was five, my mother married a monster of a man, the scariest person I had ever met.  She was married to him until I was seven. It is safe to say that I spent those two years of my life scared of my own shadow, and I think I’ll spend the rest of my years recovering.

The monster spent a large portion of his time punching holes in the walls that mother tried to hold up single handedly.  He also threatened daily to drive us off of a local bridge or back the car into the local lake with us inside.

(I still hate that lake.)

The monster was full of mostly empty threats, and he was eaten up with heavy doses of crazy. Even his eyes looked crazy, always opened as wide as he could possibly muster. As far as staying went, the last year and a half of the marriage, my mother stayed with him out of fear. Live with him or else he might really drive us off of a bridge or burn our house down with us inside.

With the monster, you never knew.

For those two years, I felt as if I would never get out from under his thumb. At age 6, I felt like our lives, particularly the end of them, were resting firmly in his hands. I didn’t think I would see my tenth birthday. Most likely I would be sitting at the bottom of the lake in a car with my mother and my younger brother. Feeling as if I might have died in the near future was a part of my everyday life, and it was so miserable. It was nothing that a girl of five, six, and seven should ever have to do. I knew that.

Luckily, the monster never managed to hit me.  That doesn’t mean he didn’t try. I was small and fast. I excelled at running and hiding from him.  The only time he came close I had warm salt water in my hand, I had just lost a tooth. So I threw it in his face.  That was that.

For a monster, he could be quite cowardly. Yet it seemed as if he would be there forever.

Finally, one day, after a hole too many was punched in the wall, my mother told him we were going to the grocery store. Instead, she drove us to the local state police post. It was the salvation I had been waiting for. Like we had found religion or something even better.

Unfortunately, the monster was on to my mother’s escape plan.  As she drove a town away, he chased us with a shotgun in his passenger seat.  He was right behind us, and my mother went as fast as our station wagon would take us. We swerved at speeding rates through a local park, through red lights. It was like a chase scene from a bad 80’s, redneck movie.

But we lost him, and we made it to the police post in time. The police took over at that point, and we never saw him after that. We moved. We changed school systems. My mother changed jobs.

He was erased, or maybe we were.

It is safe to say that being away from the monster was the biggest relief of my life. I could finally breathe. I am breathing right now because of it.

Growing up, I worked really hard on erasing those two years from my life.  They are almost completely gone, but sometimes I feel as if I need to scrub harder.

We don’t talk about them. My mother, my brother, or myself. We don’t mention them.

Because, well, who wants to?

How would it come up in conversation?

“oh, do you remember those few years when you were married to that big pile of crazy, and we always thought we were going to die? *insert laughter* oh, me too! you gotta love a psychopath!! *insert smiles*”

It just doesn’t work that way.

I never talk about the nights that I fell asleep paralyzed by the fear that when I woke up, my mother might not. A word isn’t mentioned about the period of time when finding holes in our walls was normal, and finding pictures to cover them up was necessary. I don’t talk about those things, because at the end of the day, it truly feels better not to.

These days I live about a mile from that particular lake. I never visit it, and the thought of swimming in it makes me sick. I’d rather swim in the urine of 100,000 strangers (which I would be doing if I did swim in the lake). Meanwhile, I have an unnecessary fear of bridges, but at least it has a foundation:  I thought I would spend my tenth birthday nestled beneath one.

The night that the monster finally went away, my brother and I slept in my mother’s waterbed. We were all curled up, spooning as the water swished back and forth beneath the soft velour blanket.  I remember falling asleep to the sound of my mother chanting that was she was sorry and everything would be okay

She was right. So far, it has been just fine.

Editor’s Pick: Amanda is an amazing blogger. Shamelessly Sassy has it all-humor, wit, excellent writing and deeply moving pieces like the above. She has one of the best “About Me” pages out there. Also, I kind of want to decorate one of the rooms in my house like her blog template. (No wonder she is a finalist for the 2008 Weblog Awards!). Give her a visit. You won’t be disappointed.

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2 Comments to “The Years of the Monster”

  1. MommyTime says:

    This is an astonishing post — powerful and gentle at the same time. Thank you for being willing to write about something so painful, and in a way that is so evocative.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    It’s heartbreaking to think of any child having to live with that much fear. What a brave post to write.