This is one of the hardest things to write about, but I felt I needed to share this (please feel free to share this as well.)
“I want to make something about this seem meaningful or become some powerful source of wisdom, but the truth of it is that it is none of those things. It means nothing and it means everything all at once, and I cannot wrap my 5-year-old mind, nor my 17-year-old mind around any of it. I’d like to tell you that the sight of a bathtub or of bathroom tiles do not make my heart fall out my chest, but I’d be lying.
No part of me wishes so relive it, and every part of me is terrified. Terrified that he will find me just to tell me I’m wrong; “you were a child, you’re memory is foggy, none of that happened,” or something along those lines. 5-year-old “googie,” as I was often and still am referred to as, innocent and vernal, an image of youth, implores me to break the silence, shatter the bathtub so to speak.
The water fills halfway up, full of bubbles from the dial soap; it’s bath time with “dabby” and I, the door closed behind him. We’re living in military housing at the time, my mother’s room on the other side of the wall facing him. “Googie,” pallid white skin, dark blonde hair, nearly black eyes, and ultimately and principally free of body hair, virginal, an image of youth in his eyes. His large hands, dark eyes, and thick lips puncture my eyes, my skin. His warm Sicilian skin contrasts against mine, washed out and simple, his mind against my own.
I can now see the initial consequences of this, things that I often discounted as regular childhood tribulations. I could not use the toilet on my own, unable to wipe myself, and instead had my father do so; perhaps I felt it was normal, the touch so similar to that in the bathtub. My hand constantly down my pants, looking for that feeling of false normalcy that I had been fed so young. I developed crippling depression, a hard and pitted sadness, something I could not untie myself from. The incessant and burgeoning mental and physical torment I endured led me to drop out of high school in my senior year, something I initially blamed myself for. I was shoddy and defective, as my father’s hands would’ve led me to believe. His hands were carless fabricators, a synthetic image of fatherhood. I am not them. I hate what he did, how little he cares, how easily he can escape from his evils, yet I am left to drown in them. But I have awoken now, my head above the water; I can heal. Though my body may still be submerged, concealed by bubbles, his hands no longer hover over me, no longer able to touch my skin, nor my mind. “