My grandma was known for her Sunday morning breakfasts. Her and my mom would get up that morning and start cooking around 6:30-7am. I, of course, wanted to sleep in, so I stayed in bed. The smell of country ham made its way down the hallway to the bedroom where my mom and I slept. We shared the same bed for as long as I can remember. When her and my dad were together, he slept on the couch and I slept with my mom. It was that way for years. Once we left my dad, my step father (my mom’s boyfriend at the time) made his way into the picture soon after we moved out. I was forced to sleep in my bedroom whenever he spent the night. It was horrid. I could hear every little noise and always assumed that it was someone breaking into our little trailer to stab me to death – a direct result of watching too many horror movies.
At my grandma’s, I slept up against the wall and my mom slept on the outside. I distinctly remember feeling more protected with her at my side, especially since she slept nearest to the door. (Perhaps she would protect me from the murderer that I so often imagined would offer me a tragic demise?) I snuggled back down in the bed once my mom was up and at ’em. I always loved sleeping where she laid, so I scooched over to her side of the bed. Maybe that’s weird, but I found it comforting.
Not long after 7am (rarely before), I would hear a knock at the front door. It was an anticipated sound. One that I heard almost every Sunday morning. I froze. My fast beating heart was all that moved. A cheerful greeting from my mom and grandma was given to John. I could hear them from down the hall. (Trailers have thin walls, you know.) My mom granted him permission to come to our bedroom or would say something along the lines of, “You know where she is.” I always heard his footsteps as he proceeded down the hall to find me.
As he opened the door, I would quickly close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. John made his way over to my still body – usually sitting on the edge of the bed to my right, but sometimes he would kneel beside it. Always within arms length of me. His hand wandered under the sheet to find my stomach. (He was right-handed, which made it much easier to maneuver around my body.) John would carefully, as if not to wake me, slide his hand under my shirt to find my breasts. I always positioned myself on my back or facing him. Rarely did I turn my body away from him. During the few instances that I did, John became furious and more aggressive with his touch. I had to keep telling myself, “Just lie still. It will be over soon.” Those 30-45 minute stints felt like an eternity.
Sometimes I would open my eyes just enough to see his blurry shadow and then quickly close them to keep up the “I’m asleep” game. I’m pretty sure, deep down, John knew I was not asleep. How could I truly be asleep and not feel his fingers penetrating my vagina?? Surely he could feel the wetness and my vaginal walls contracting. Wait. Wetness? Was I enjoying this? I hated what was happening, but why the hell was my body responding as if it was pleasurable?
Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t demand him to leave. Or just say, “No!” Or tell my mom what was happening. Perhaps punch him in the face. Maybe the groin. But then I remember why – I was incredibly afraid of him. But afraid of what exactly? I’m not sure if I’ll ever know the answer to that question.