Three legged one eyed cattle dog

Being told that I wanted to have sex with my Dad made me question my every motive and thought. The thought of what they had told me made me sick. But they had to be right, because they heard from God, and their voice was so loud that it echoed in my mind. Maybe I was trying to seduce Dad every time that I went to work with him. I can’t believe that I didn’t know this about myself. I wanted to avoid the subject at any cost. As much as it hurt me, I stayed away from Dad. It was hard because some days he would work at the barn while us kids were home. I would stay away from the barn. He would come in the house for lunch and I would have it made but I wouldn’t bring it to him. I would not allow myself to get close to Dad. I felt like my heart was breaking, I was grieving the loss of my childhood joy and innocence. I could never, ever be close to Dad again. I knew this, and it killed me.

This summer Ted was working for Dad. He would work in the barn with Dad and some other guys. The guys who worked for Dad had to come to the house to use the bathroom. Ted would come in to use the bathroom. On his way in and out he would take time to say hi to me and look at me in a way I can only describe as creepy. I was not sure how to handle this behavior. I knew I had to handle it on my own since telling someone about it hadn’t worked. I decided that I would play outside a lot. Brother and I rode our bikes up and down our road two to three times a day. It was about a six mile round trip to the neighborhood store for penny candy. We would ride that a few times a day while Samantha watched Sister. It was a good way to pass the time. There was a three legged one eyed cattle dog along the route. He was named Herb. Herb liked to bark and chase us, so I always packed a bottle of water to squirt at him. I would rather have faced that dog three times a day than face Ted once. Brother and I had to be home during lunchtime so we could make Dad lunch. We would go outside while the guys ate in the kitchen. Brother and I would swing on the rope swing or climb trees. Ted would go out with us and watch me climbing and swinging. I did my best to ignore, but I felt my privacy invaded. I wondered “did Dad ever notice Ted missing from lunch or taking frequent lunch breaks?” It was so obvious to me. I hoped that Ted would do something stupid and Dad would have to fire him. Ted did a lot of stupid things, but Dad couldn’t fire him since he was a Pastor W child. I felt trapped.

I established a few ways of escape in my mind. Like trips to the grocery store with Mom. I could never talk to her about Dad or Ted, but when we went to the store I could pretend we were normal, or that we had different lives. I saw girls my age at the store and wondered what their lives were like. I would imagine their life, and then I would imagine a different life for myself.

Another escape would be to find a hiding place where I could write. There was a place on the front porch of the old house on our property where if I sat down, no one could see me. Sitting in this place, I had a view of the whole valley. I would draw the hills and the trees, and I could write poems about nature and beauty. In this place, I would never get wet when it rained or sunburned in the sun. I never shared my drawings or poems. I don’t know what happened to them. They were just a tool for that time in my life, and they served their purpose.

~E

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