I made no secret about how much displeasure I felt at my family’s insistence on bringing back a truckload of triggers that they felt I should have to salvage from a life that rife with violence sometimes so brutal that I cannot bring myself to burden loved ones with things no human being should be forced to endure. Adamantly I stood in refusal against retrieving anything he left behind once he was finally evicted for racking up $4500 in rental arrears. They nagged me. Scolded me. Pushed, poked, and prodded me relentlessly, and I threw up my hands in disgust.
“He can choke on it. Let him have it. He’ll come back to get it.”
“You bought it. Why would you want him to get it?”
“Let him choke on it so hard he disappears. I don’t want it. I don’t want anything to do with it. Let it rot. Set it on fire. Use it for target practice. I don’t care. But don’t you dare bring it back to this house.”
I didn’t want reminders of his insanity sitting around to remind of the horrible things he did to me. I have plenty of those stashed in my head already. I wanted it all to disappear, and I thought I made myself clear when I said, “Don’t you dare bring back.” They did not listen. Stubbornly, against my wishes, the went back and loaded up instruments of torture so brutal that even the thought of them can bring me to tears. They called up a gang of co-conspirators, carted it back, and put it in the same storage building where my stepmother insisted on picking that fight. On my dad’s property, behind the house. And they leaned the worst of them up against the window for me to see every day. I have lived in that house since December 14, 2012, and I have yet to venture to the back of the property. I don’t want to see it. I can’t, because I am not ready to. Badness dwells there.
Since they brought it back, I have been hounded about going to the barn and going through it. I have refused. “I said, ‘Let it rot.’ It can sit there until it disintegrates for all I care. I’m not touching it. I don’t ever have to look upon it again. This is why I told you not to bring it back. Do what you want with it. It is no longer mine. I cut ties with everything when I walked out the door.” And there it has all sat for months upon months in the cold Central New York winter just begging for field mice to come in and make a home out of the frigid air. Not even the mice wanted it.
How do I know? After months of insisting they could distribute and otherwise gift the trash of my life from Kevin to whomever they wish without seeking my permission, and most definitely without my help, some of the worst of it has finally begun to disappear.
My father acted all timid this morning on the way to work and he finally broke the silence by telling me that he gave my bed away. My indifference caught him off guard.
“The mice didn’t nest in the mattress?”
“No, I checked, and it was fine. She just needs to clean it.”
“Well you gave her the dresser, right? I mean, it goes with the set.”
“Are you sure –“
“Dad, I don’t ever want to see any of it again. It belongs with the bed.”
He looked at for a minute before changing the subject. I don’t know why my disgust and hatred and fear over this thing is so difficult to grasp. This thing on which he tortured me, choked me, beat on me, forced me to do things I didn’t want to do. It’s all in my head, zipped up and locked in the vault. Why on earth would I want to look at it every day for the rest of my life?
My mother would have a tantrum if she were to find out it was just given away. She paid off the last part of the set for me when she bought the house, and I didn’t want her to. It was one more thing for her to hold over my head, right after the hearing aid and the laptop. Her obsession with objects has caused a rift since I left. The first thing she asked when she talked to me the first time after I left Kevin was where the laptop was.
“Kevin’s got it, but don’t worry, mom. I’m okay.”
If she wants to contest it, so be it. But she will have to be the one to go to this person’s house and tell her it’s hers. And she never will. It’s okay for her to let it hang out around family, but not around anyone else. Appearances for appearances’ sake.
All I know, past the obvious emotional attachment I have to it for the early days, there are so many desperately painful memories attached to that network of cherry and metal, I can’t bear to even have it near me, much less in my face every time I turn around. And my cousin, who has fallen on hard times, who has been sleeping on an old, tattered mattress on the floor, because she cannot afford to even buy anything used, now has a new-to-her bed, frame, hardware, mattress, and boxsprings.
Sleep well, T.T. And I will do the same.