Story

She sat in her room staring at her AC/DC blacklight poster, waiting for the inevitable. Her disassociation was wearing off, letting the sheer panic seep in to her consciousness. She had been caught smoking pot in the school bathroom and her father had picked her up at school. It hadn’t seemed real, sitting in the office with the silence broken by Dawn’s crying. She had worried more about Dawn than herself, and had taken all of the blame, telling them that it was hers and asking them to let Dawn go. In reality, Dawn had come to her at lunch in the school smoking lounge and asked her to get her high. That didn’t absolve her guilt, but Dawn was far from innocent. Regan had always been her best friend’s protector though, and she so had tried her hardest to protect her even then. Her father’s appearance in the principal’s office was like one of her night terrors, her altered consciousness trying to make sense of him in this setting, where he had never been and did not belong. Her mind tried to go away to shield her self and for a little while it worked. The drive home had been silent, Regan staring out the window as she dissociated further, none of it seeming to be real. It was 1986 and she had just started 11th grade. She wasn’t sure she’d make it to the 12th.

The front door slammed, shaking the house, and he came running up the stairs. As she stood and started backing up he shoved the bedroom door open and came for her.

“I am sick of this shit! You are going to straighten up. You are going to go to school and back and that is it, IF you don’t get expelled. ” Regan had backed up against the wall as he advanced. Her father cleared her desk with one angry swipe, strewing her things across the room.

“I am tired of all the black clothes and moody lights and the crap on the walls.” Regan had her room decorated in black light posters and psycho lights above her record player. She felt a pang but knew better than to speak. “You are going to get rid of all of it. You’re a fat slob and all this shit is going to go.” His voice had been rising to where he was almost screaming. Regan had seen this before, many times. He would start off angry and work himself up to violent fury.

When she had come in, she had dropped her belt on the floor. It was her favorite and she had saved up from her job washing dishes to buy it. It was thick leather with a double row of spikes, and the front of it hooked together with a pair of working handcuffs. He picked it up off the floor and doubled it. “You’re going to get rid of this bondage crap too! You’d better not let me catch you smoking cigarettes, let alone pot!” Never mind that he had smoked pot for as long as she could remember.

He advanced on her, beating her with the belt. The metal cuffs struck her arm as she tried to block him, making it go numb. Then he threw them at her, striking her in the chest before descending upon her.

He tossed her to the bedroom floor as she screamed, hitting her with his fists. Her world became broken snapshots of pain and terror as he grabbed her by the throat. Now he was on top of her and she wasn’t sure how exactly that happened, but he was strangling her, his fingers digging into her throat as she tried desperately to pull his hands away so she could breathe, terror infusing every part of her, no longer able to scream as tears ran down her face into her sweaty hair and she couldn’t breathe, eyes wide, the face of her father huge above her as he choked the life out of her.

He released one hand from her throat, but it didn’t help. She still could not breathe and now things were going black and her struggles had lost all strength. Her hands weakly fluttered at his iron grip on her throat, fingers digging into the soft flesh of her neck. He held his fist back, about to punch her in the face before she died, his fist shaking, face red, and suddenly her bladder let go. She was sixteen and she would later be mortified, but she was losing consciousness and she had no control over it.

He released her. She rolled over, choking, gasping for air, instinctively rolling into the fetal position before he could kick her. He did kick her, but it landed on her leg instead of her stomach. She was gulping air, harsh against her bruised throat, but so sweet. Her eyes closed as she sobbed, rolled into a ball on her bedroom floor with her father standing over her. She heard him leave.

“If I don’t get out of here he’s really going to kill me,” she thought as she crawled across the floor, shaking, beaten and in fear for her life.

 

Being a teenager

It’s hard to be a teenager. You have hormones surging through your body, wreaking havoc on your emotions. You’re caught in between childhood and adulthood and the future seems unimaginable and so very far away. You are a slave to your passions, and you follow your heart, stepping off the precipice again and again, believing you will be caught. You try to keep most of your life a mystery to adults, sometimes by necessity. You have your own mind working against you at times, you have school, family and drama with friends. Sometimes it gets overwhelming.

┬áThat’s for the normal teen, if there is such an animal. But if you’re a teenager who has been traumatized, it can be so much worse. Your friends don’t understand your oddities so you’re the weird one. You embrace it and wear it like a badge of honor. But it’s all a smokescreen for what’s really inside and what you want is for someone to care enough to see past the disguise. You are something wild and you feel your savagery in your bones. Sometimes this makes you prey for those who hunt the wounded, compounding the confusion you already bathe in daily.

When people get older, they often forget precisely how it feels to be a teenager. They forget the fierce joy you feel at being out at night, the warm breeze riffling your hair as you scream defiantly. They forget the heady seduction of danger, and of breaking the rules. They forgot about how it felt the night they swam naked in a storm at night, the waves tossing them about like so much flotsam.

They forget they were once awake, fully awake, feeling excitement tingling in every cell of their bodies, not afraid to experience it all. Or maybe they were never awake and don’t understand what I’m writing about at all. Perhaps they think this is just a sort of psycho-babble that sets one apart in some way.

You believed in magic. You were part of the mystery and you knew things you had no way of knowing. The games changed, but still you played. Always play. I think when you quit playing, when you are afraid of the absurd and start to feel you are ‘too old for such things’, that’s when you actually do get old.

The mystery is still there, but it’s harder to get it back than it is to maintain it.