My earliest childhood memory isn’t of a birthday, riding a bike or playing with my brother.
My earliest memory is a toss up between being thrown overhead down a tile hallway (because I moved a box that our cat had kittens in, out of the rain) or of being snatched up out of a bathtub and punched in the stomach as hard as a grown man can punch.
I think I was 8 maybe, not exactly sure. I remember being afraid to play as a child, too loud, too rowdy, too much laughter (which was always minimal) would always trigger something. If I got dirt on the floor or water on the patio, or moved something out of place there would be hell to pay. I remember protecting our dogs from his wrath, if they dug a hole in the yard they were beat too. Once I remember him threatening my brother’s dog Max, with a 2×4 for digging a hole and offering myself up instead.
I remember the day I tried to protect the kittens from the rain and slid a cardboard box out of the raindrops. That’s the day he found me in my room, he came in screaming and yelling, picked me up overhead and threw me down the hallway. I remember my brother being afraid and closing his door, nothing he could do, he was younger.
I remember picking myself up and running out the front door in the rain trying to make it to my mother who worked at the bank on the corner, or our babysitter’s house who was just as far.
I never made it and I’ve been running ever since. Running from the anger and confusion. Running to find someone who would sweep me up off my feet, wrap me in their arms and protect me. It has never happened. I have served as the protector, the confidant, the arms wrapped around absorbing the pain, providing the comfort I sought. I’ve held the promises of solace, but always temporary.
Everything I’ve held has been temporary.