CPS showed up Wednesday…as promised and dreaded…like a bill I didn’t save for, like a marathon I forgot to train for, like the final death rattle of a loved one’s tarry lungs.
They read off the list of allegations I am accused of in the report. Force-fed me that gruel…I choked on each mushy mouthful, but they just kept spooning it down, ignoring my distress…Let me tell you: someone in my life is capable of hand-wringing evil mastermindery. The
creative storytelling report claimed:
- I abusively pour water over my children’s heads in the bath because they cry when I wash their hair
- I squeeze their hands to get them to comply
- I have neglected Rowan & he doesn’t talk & is not potty trained because of that
- I threw a lollipop at Bridget’s face
- I have been verbally abusive to my children & speak to them in threatening & abusive manners
The worker then nervously stated, “The person making the report also mentioned that you…have a past history of mental health issues…and hospitalization.” Ah, if there was any slight wiggling worm of doubt, this is my heavy-booted confirmation that this is someone really close to me. My hospitalizations are not public knowledge. Yes, the call came from inside the motherfucking house. I flatly say, “I was hospitalized in my early 20’s, yes…Over 13 years ago.” And even then, I was only a danger to myself, trying to end my life. Fuck you.
She tells my ex he is under investigation as well, since he is the other primary caregiver. That appears to seal his cooperation and ensure his honesty. He also shares my version of events, that I’m not abusive. She then talks to my babies. Both tell her the same thing that I have told her—that they are put in timeout for discipline and that I don’t hit them. They tell her they are well fed. They dislike having water poured over their heads because they’re afraid of getting soap in their eyes. Rowan tells her that he loves to snuggle with me and that I crush him with hugs. She seems mostly approving of their answers. Still, I am required to sign paperwork giving permission for my therapist and psychiatrist to talk to her…for my mother to talk to her about my parenting…for Bridget’s school to talk to her…for the kids’ doctor to talk to her. Sign, sign, sign. All this fucking sifting of my life. Let’s trample the rose garden to find a single imaginary aphid.
I feel like I am less in danger of losing my children. I am unsure of what my stepson, Ian, said to the woman, but I am more sure than ever that he is the one who turned the key, shifted & put this terrible machine in motion.
Still it stings. The raised purple welt of cruelty…betrayed by a person I raised and loved as my own. His mother wasn’t in the picture. I was. And here he is, scratching my eyes out with a pin, drawing a moustache on me, aiming a dart at my smile. His dad didn’t pay for his birthday parties—I did. I bought him his Christmas presents when his dad was too broke to do so. I went to his school functions when his mother wasn’t here to do it. But when I spoke up and said his girlfriend couldn’t spend the night at our house, when I spoke up and said he needed to pay his own way–this is the tip he left at the table to pay me. Mud. Twigs. Entrails. Wound up into a nest of ugliness…unfortunately, my 2 babies are cradled inside.
Besides that, the irony of the situation is so in-your-face it hurts…to have CPS called on me as a parent, when I so badly needed them to be called for me as a child. I think about how I called out for help every time those men climbed on me and forced themselves on me…forcing my face into the bed by pushing down on the back of my neck, as they assaulted me…me, at 6, crying into a dirty mattress, stomach contracting in pain. Later, I would learn to bite my arm to keep from screaming, to distract myself as they entered. I think about how I bled when I went to the bathroom and hid it by putting wads of toilet paper in my pants. I think about how I told my mom it hurt down there, when she was bathing me. She yanked me out of the iridescent soap bubbles by my upper arm and told me to get dressed and walked away as I toweled off, alone & retreating into myself. I think about the speech impediment I developed as a result of my trauma. The night terrors that left me wrapping myself in blankets, screaming & quivering. The self-injurious behavior. Smashing my head into the linoleum floor in the kitchen again and again and again after coming out of his trailer to try and distract myself from the whole otherworld of pain in my body…my mom stood at the stove watching me wearily, telling me irritatedly, “you go ahead and do that, you’re not hurting me” …I didn’t know how else to communicate with her about the fucking constant pain…I remember that time my uncle shoved me up against the wall of his trailer, after I threatened to tell my mom…cheek smashed up against the wall, my soft little arm twisted up behind my back. “You going to tell anyone?” After blowing him, my jaw was tired, my tongue clumsy, my lips puffy, the corners of my mouth burning….I was too slow to respond & he shoved my arm upward, “ARE you?” I danced up on my toes, as I yelped. No. My answer was no. I had no one to tell. And no one called CPS for me….and I was someone who actually needed them.
Now, look. Lookatmyfuckinglife. You’re 30 years too late, you motherfuckers.
So now I just have to wait for them to complete the investigation…as long as nothing further comes up, they have 60 days to close it.
In other news:
Jim came into town last night. He rented a suite at the same hotel I whored myself out at last time with him. We drank a couple glasses of cheap wine down in the lobby & chatted for a bit. Having eaten nothing yesterday, my tongue began to forget how to make words & I collapsed into giggles in the booth at the sight of a family wearing matching pajamas. Jim was amused by my delight , “Oh, should we have coordinated your PJ’s to my boxers?” Loosened up, bodies soft and compliant and magnetized, we went up to the bedroom and climbed into bed. I wore skinny jeans & a sparkly shirt that shed little gold flakes everywhere…transferring shimmery particles onto the bed. This time he didn’t wait for me to work up to it. He just began kissing me and then he pulled my clothes off and was on top of me. I must have looked startled as he was pulling my pants off, because he sat up and apologized. “Don’t. Don’t apologize,” I said pulling him down. Pushing into me, I wildly kissed him back…into it. He started to whisper to me that he wanted to taste me, that he needed to. I stiffened up and began to breathe shallowly as he moved down my body, the same thing that happened last time he tried that when we slept together…This time, though, he felt the change, paused and said, “It’s ok, I won’t. I’ll just stay inside you.” I felt like I was hearing it through a bag. I said, “Can I just have a minute?” Pulled myself back, pulled myself back… like rewinding a cassette tape with a pencil…spooling my panic back inside me. I tried to ground myself. I didn’t want to leave my body—but I began to see that perhaps the only way to stay present is pain. I told him, “It’s ok to hurt me a bit.” He laughed at the suggestion, “I don’t want to hurt you.” I don’t know how to tell him that the physical pain of the present is preferable to the mental pain of the past…that in my cross-wired brain, pleasure and pain are almost interchangeable fuses…bc I don’t (can’t?) feel softness, gentleness… But he began to thrust in a way that was hard enough for me to be held fast in this reality. As he got close, he whispered that he wanted me to cum. I just shook my head, “I don’t do that.” He laughed, said, “ok, baby” and let go, as I clasped him to my chest. Oh, the feeling of skin-to-skin closeness. My life has been so devoid of any of this for so long.
He finally rolled off of me. We laid there, chests rising and falling like tides. Finally, he says, “You can’t cum?” I stare at the ceiling. “No.” “Ever?” he asks. “No,” I say quietly. “That’s really sad. I think it’d help you relax.” Then he put his head on my chest and I held him. It was 9:30 pm…but we fell asleep, completely coated in gold glitter from my shirt…like an illustration from a fairy tale, our sleeping bodies interlocked and sparkling with gold dust.
In the middle of the night, I shake & struggle from some dream best left unremembered. A roulette twirl of trauma, vague details eddying around me. My uncle. Pain. Trailer. Crying. Can’t breathe. Jim knows the routine by now. “HEY. HEY. You’re dreaming one of your dreams again. Wake up. WAKE UP!” I apologize, snuggle into him and return to a dreamless sleep…it’s like being packed into a room of cotton balls, no sharp edges, all safe.
This morning, we wake up early. He gives a dissertation on the ruin of humanity as he watches the news, while I squint blearily. He gets me a coffee. He chugs his, as I gingerly drink mine in little sips. He starts to talk about a song I really hate…ironically, it’s a song that Mister has tried to convince me to like before too… he talks about how the song was recorded & I can’t, I fucking can’t…so I put my mouth on his and start kissing him. Once again he fucks me like he’s never going to fuck again. And it feels so good. Later in the day, it still hurts to sit and there are bruises…However, in the moment, when he finishes, he lies on top of me and I feel safe for once, like I am not going to float out of my body to the place where people harmed me. The trade-off with being pinned down and your vulnerability being on display is: the protection of a glass case & the appreciation of a true collector who can see you for the rare thing you are.
Have you ever seen such a specimen? Her broken wings are flightless, but she is wearing flecks of gold….