3rd August, 1987.
Things are going well. Too well. Kevin and I spend most of our time together. And whatever’s left of my day is spent with Beatrice.
She doesn’t like the amount of time I spend with Kevin. He is disappointed whenever I leave to meet her even though he tries to hide it. But Beatrice doesn’t wish to meet him so there is nothing I can do to remedy the situation. Kevin doesn’t know she exists.
This feels like the blissful silence before the storm.
People say you never know which day will be your last. But I believe you sense the end as you near it, the way you do in a book.
I have just returned from a perfect afternoon spent with Kevin when I realize that there is an intruder in the house.
The front door is ajar and Just Marjorie has left a note stuck on it saying that she is shopping for groceries.
I stand there for a few moments and debate calling nine-one-one. I decide to keep my finger hovering over the dial button as I enter the house.
I don’t announce myself, maybe I should have.
The house seems empty and perfectly silent, the wooden floors creaking under my feet.
I get to the kitchen and stop in my tracks.
I don’t think I will ever be able to describe the absolute, white-hot terror that chills my bones in that moment.
My head feels fuzzy with vivid images that rush to me and the pounding of my heart is almost deafening.
There is a man standing in the kitchen with his back to me, wearing a brown suit with a plaid blazer, his salt and pepper hair thinning at the top.
The man is my father.
My throat makes a choking sound and he turns around.
Any opportunity I had to run is now lost.
“Beatrice.” He exhales, his steely eyes giving me a once over.
My skin crawls.
He begins talking but my brain won’t register any of it.
I cannot decipher between the images my mind is conjuring and the reality before me.
“Shh, little girl.” She hears the sound of something unzipping. His breath smells of clove cigarettes and scotch. “The pain will be over soon. You know I love you, Beatrice.”
“Texas has been kind to you, Beatrice.” He walks towards me. I’m fourteen once again. “The tan suits you. I wonder how far it spreads.”
Please, please don’t hurt me. She prays. She knows nobody is listening. He’s holding a belt now. She knows what happens next. She lives this same story every day.
“You’re just like your mother! She never loved me either!”
“I love you, daddy, I swear!”
“Liar!” He strikes.
“What are you doing here?” My voice is trembling. I am trembling all over. My head is throbbing, it feels hot and heavy. It’s going to explode.
“I’m here to take you home, Beatrice.” He gazes at me serenely. He is standing right in front of me now. I want to cower back, but my body is immobilized by fear.
“Why are you calling me that? Stop calling me that.” The walls in my mind are collapsing. I have no control over it anymore, “I don’t want to go anywhere with you.”
His expression turns cold.
“I have tolerated your tantrums for two months!” He thunders, stepping so close that I can smell the clove cigarettes in his breath. My head spins. “No more of this nonsense. We are going home.”
He reaches out to grab my arm and my body unfreezes.
“No!” I scream and scramble backward, my back hitting the kitchen counter.
I would die before I let him touch me, I think as I feel myself fall apart inside. Everything I knew to be true crumbling into pieces.
His face tightens with white-hot rage and he strikes me with the back of his hand.
My head whips to the side and the breath is knocked out of me.
“This is what happens when you don’t listen to me!”
“Daddy, please! I promise I’ll be good!” It feels like someone is ripping her soul out. She creams. He doesn’t stop. He never stops.
I hear the door bang open. He stops.
It is Just Marjorie, her face is horror-stricken. He shuffles away from me hastily. I hear him making excuses. But I’m already lost. My mind has overpowered my senses and some conscious part of my brain acknowledges that I’m probably dying. I sigh in relief.
They say that it is very unusual for two alters of a patient suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder to interact with each other without revealing the true nature of either. I was quite the talk of the town and will be for a while, I believe.
I woke up at the hospital after collapsing in the kitchen. They told me my father was in police custody. They asked me if I remembered anything. I remember everything.
I remember stealing His money and flying to Texas, to my only other living relative. I remember Just Marjorie asking why I hadn’t called before coming. I remember him playing along to save face. Always to save face.
I remember the deviant nightmare. I remember cutting myself, the blood staining the bathroom floor.
I remember the acid washed jacket that belonged to my mother, the pot junkie who sold me concert tickets, the trip to Houston on the Vespa, Just Marjorie’s face when I claimed to be going to Houston with an empty space in the air, the boy who flirted with me on the way back. The conversations with myself.
Yes, I told them, I remembered everything.