For this post I am going to be trying something new! I am going to tell this chapter from Elizabeth's point of view. Everything you read is Elizabeth's thoughts. Enjoy!
For being suppressed for so long these memories sure are strong. I can remember every single detail of every single moment. Thinking about them is just like reliving them and they are so strong, in fact, that they hurt. "My story started in a small one bedroom house on the very outskirts of Riverview. I guess the house was nice, at one time; but years of hardship- and no upkeep- left the once white shingles brown, the roof falling to pieces, and rust stains on every metal surface possible. It certainly wasn't my home, but it was my house."
"No... my home was inside that house. Across the living room, through the closet door, and up the stairs. That was where my home was."
"It was just an attic to most people, but to me it was the only place I could call my own. Sure the walls were chipping off, and the ceiling was leaking, but to me it was my safe haven."
"I can remember everything about that room. I remember the one small window right above Jay's bed. I can remember the flickery light bulb that was often on to keep away the monsters at night- though the only monsters I ever encountered were my parents. I even remember all of the posters Jay hung on the walls in a small effort to make it feel more like a room."
"That creaky, cold attic was the one place that my brother and I could be happy... Well, the closest thing to being happy we would know for a long time."
"I am so thankful for Jay that word's cannot even describe how thankful I am. I know I was a handful of a child..."
"... but no matter what Jay was always there. I felt bad, and still do, for making him grow up so quickly. I wish, so much, that he could have been a kid for a while longer. I actually used to ask him what it was like before I was born. He never told me; whenever I asked he would just get a pained expression. I think it was either he did not want to remember- I would not blame him- or it did not matter. Dreaming and dwelling about the past won't change the future."
"I guess my toddler years were the easiest time of my whole life. I cannot remember anything before them, and what I remember after them was definitely not easy. It was a simple time though... I would fall asleep on the floor."
"Then by the time I would wake up I would be in my bed with a pacifier in my mouth and a soft quilt beneath me. The quilt, I can remember especially, was from Jay. Everything in that attic was from Jay. Most of it, don't get me wrong, was probably being thrown away by another family; but Jay was the one who got it for me. Usually he would ring their door bell and politely ask if we could have that crib on the curb, or the chair in the trash. Most of the time they would take one look at him and just simply say, 'Sure'. To me, though, that trash was like gold. It was how I got my crib, my chair, and my books. My toys were assembled by Jay in shop class at school. Jay always gave me the best too. He gave me the nicer quilt, the fresher food, and most of all he gave me his love."
"At the same time everyday our parents would leave to start drinking again. That left us, thankfully, home alone. With only one bathroom in the house you can imagine our joy when they finally left. The house below our home was gross and disgusting. Dishes, clothes, and empty bottles were scattered about the floor. We couldn't clean up, though. Ryan had tried it once... Let's just say the parents were not happy."
"We had no idea what our parents did when they left; nor did we care. They were gone and that was all that mattered. My parents were a grumpy, mean, and odd couple. One moment you would find them all over each other."
"Then in an instant something would happen and they would be at each others necks- for a completely different reason."
"By the time I was a kid I realized that they actually had a schedule they followed. Up at 1:00 p.m. to terrorize their children and then by 1:30 p.m. they would have already left to go to the only bar in town. By the time 4:00 a.m. rolled around they were dragging themselves back into the house. After that they would pass out and then start all over again."
"After they finally left Jay would usually bring me downstairs. He always said it was to feed and bathe me, but I think it was truthfully just for the change of scenery."
"Children", I paused for emphasis, "Your uncle Jay is to thank for everything. He taught me how to walk and how to talk. Then as I grew he taught me my name, alphabet, and numbers. He truly made me who I am today."
"By the time I was in bed and asleep it was late and Jay usually hadn't eaten yet. He got picked on at school for being so skinny, but I guess the children just didn't think about it. Most of the time, if we even had food, Jay would make sure that I ate first. When he actually got to eat it was usually just toast with jam or cereal."
"Some days, though, my mom or dad would stay home. On those days Jay and I usually stayed in the confines of our attic. My mom was definately not mother of the year, but she was still my mom. I looked just like her, other then the greasy hair and sunken in cheeks. She was beautiful, I have to admit, but I knew what she was and how she treated my brother and I. So, looks did not matter."
"Any time we got in the way, or even if she was just bored, she would raise her hand at us. We got used to it after a while, so eventually it just became the norm."
"Of course, any time she did not hurt us with her fists she hurt us with her words."
"Then there was my dad. I, truthfully, cannot remember any time he was not drunk or hungover. I never really did see a lot of him, but when I did he was either asleep or being mean like my mom."
"Sometimes Jay would have to go get me a bottle or a diaper, and then he would have to walk down the creaky wooden stairs and into his own personal hell. Out of everything, I feel the most sorry for having to make him face the wrath known as my parents. Every time he would go down stairs there would be my mom... waiting for him."
"To make matters worse my mom would get joy out of hurting us. What kind of mom would find it fun to hurt her children?" I asked aloud to no one in particular. Mica took it as a question she had to answer, "A bad one." I stopped for a moment to smile to my daughter and then continued on.
"Bad or good, evil or angelic she was my mom. Jay and I had to put up with her our entire childhood. We had to put up with our dad our entire childhood."
"Jay always tried to protect me the best he good. He truly was and is an amazing brother... but once Jay turned into a young adult my parents kicked him out. He did not even get a chance to say goodbye." It hurt... this hurts. Don't cry, everything is okay. "After Jay was gone I was left alone, with my parents. Jay had tried to protect me for as long as he could, but once he left it was my turn to deal with them."
"That is really sad", Mica said after a moment of silence. None of the kids knew how to react to my story... and so we all just stood there. Staring at the tree. I didn't know what to say either so I just stood in silence with them.
"I really am sorry Mom", Mica said finally looking away from the lights. Mica looked at me then with tears in her eyes. My vision started to blur as I hugged Mica tightly, "Oh, Mica it's not your fault." Though my tears fell quickly and freely I was not particularly sad. It was more of a happy crying. I am happy at this point in my life, though things may not be exactly how I wish they were. I have so much now, compared to then.
I waited until Mica's tears had dried, though I still had some lingering on my cheeks, and squeezed her one last time. "It's getting late", I said while wiping my nose with the backside of my hand, "You and Blake should head off to bed." I watched Mica pick up Spear and grab Blake's hand before I moved from my spot. I gently scooped up the, now sleeping, twins and started up the stairs after the others.
I tucked the twins in and wished them a peaceful night. It's weird, but for some reason I always think about Daniel at this time of night. When everyone is asleep and everything is quiet. I think maybe it's because I am left with my own thoughts to keep me company... and let's just say I try to keep myself busy for a reason. I don't like to question things, or to dig too deeply. I have learned, from past experiences, that I will not like the conclusion I reach. Or, maybe, I think of Daniel now because I know that at the end of the day I am alone. I am ending and beginning my days alone. I know it's crazy, because I have a house full of amazing children who are always there for me. I just wish that... See? This is why I don't like to think too much. I'm getting myself depressed.
I guess I should just head off to bed now. I was about to slip under the covers exhausted when I remembered I had to brush my teeth. I was concentrating on listening to the crickets chirping and my feet shuffling across the floor when something started to nag at my subconscious. It was telling me to look to my right.
I pivoted on my heels and started to walk to my right. Oh my goodness... My eyes zoned in and locked onto the tinker toy. That whale, it seems familiar.
No... It can't be... Can it?
It... It is.
My breathing sped up and my vision blurred. Get ahold of yourself, Elizabeth... It's just a toy.
My throat started to tighten as my breaths became short and shallow. It's the toy though. The one I slept with, my favorite toy. How is it here? Why was it in my pond?
I... I don't... don't... I don't feel too good...My feet slipped out from under me and I lost control. I waited for the pain of my head hitting the floor, but I never felt it. Everything just went black.