Flames! Flames! Flames! Red hot flames of fire burning in my front yard.
What was on fire? Why was there a fire in our front yard?
I must have been in the third grade and maybe not even that old. I was a little girl who lived in a house with a monster. You know what a monster is? One who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character, a threatening force. A person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty.
The monster in my life was actually supposed to be the person who loved me the most. He was supposed to care for me, protect me, and provide for me. My dad was the monster. He existed it seemed to torment us. And he was quite successful at doing so I must say.
On this sunny day I was a little girl who was coming home from school. I should have been anxious to get home to Barbie dolls, play houses and imaginary friends. Not the case. The monster went off in to a familiar fit of rage. He took a baseball bat and went through our house and beat in every wall. Smashed every light and chandelier. Broke everything that could be broken. His rage was powerful and full of destruction. He took our furniture, every bit of it…the couches, the chairs, the tables and the beds and he carried it all out in to the front yard and dosed them with gasoline and set them on fire.
When I got off the school bus and walked a short way to my house I could see the flames in the distance. I could feel the knot turning deep in my gut. The fear blinding me and overtaking me as my heart pounded. I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. I wanted to escape desperately to a safe place but no such place existed.
When you are a little girl and you are coming home from school you really need to be able to have a place to retreat to that is safe, secure, and full of love. A safe shelter. I did not have that. My siblings did not have that. I never knew what would be waiting behind the doors. On this day the terror was not behind a door but on public display for the entire neighborhood. Our front lawn was on fire and in the fire were the things that belonged to us. Where would we live? How would we live? My bed was in that fire and I wondered where would I be able to sleep now?
Flames that burned all of our furniture that day ignited within me even more fear. Fear for my life. Would he kill me? Would he kill the people dearest to me, my mom, my little brother or big sister? What would he do next? The thought of death was on my mind. Staying alive. Breathing. Those were top priority.
That day was lived out in paralyzing fear of the unknown just like most of the other days. It was no different. There was no stability. There was no consistency. There was no rhyme or reason. There was no hope of it getting better. There was no protection. No place to hide. Torment growing in my stomach, worrisome thoughts eating away at my peace of mind. Eating away my childhood and creating horrific memories and later as an adult some unwanted flashbacks. One day things would get better…….but not on this day.
Thank God for HIS protection and HIS angels that kept me and the rest of my family alive that day and many other days that we had to endure tormenting rage. Thank God.
Thank God for a sound mind. Thank God this is just a memory, a part of my story. The story has a great ending. I am so grateful for life. My life has been recreated. What was intended to kill me or harm me in any way…God has used to make me a stronger healthier person.