Truth in Patience Excerpt

The truth is, if I looked up in the stands and saw my mom there, I’d probably faint and fall over. From the day I told my English teacher what Charlie did to me and she reported him to Child Protective Services, I’ve only seen my mother three times. It’s been nine months since Mom and Charlie showed up in the darkness when I was home by myself. Charlie broke my arm last August, but I fought him tooth and nail when he tried to take me back to Northside.

My mother is definitely on Team Charlie: when he went to trial in October for breaking my arm, Mom testified in court on his behalf. Then he drove drunk with Mom in the truck, crashed, and died. I rushed to the hospital to see my mother, and she tried to get me to say that Charlie was a good man.

I wouldn’t do it.
 More like I couldn’t do it, actually.
 Even though Mom’s injuries were Charlie’s fault—she was banged up as hell—she still managed to get pissed at me because I won’t go along with her fantasy that the demon she married was a saint.

When they saw what was happening, David and Bev pulled me out of Mom’s hospital room, but on the way home from the hospital, my anger came out in torrents of rage at myself. My first response when I’m really hurt or angry is to carve my skin or hurt myself some other way.

I’m working on not doing it anymore, but Dr. Matt told me that recovery from sexual abuse is so hard, it’s like a barefoot walk in all kinds of weather from Texas to Alaska and back home again. Not many people make it through because it’s so scary, with highs and lows as the world’s most intense roller coaster ride.

No doubt about it, I’m covered in scars, inside and out. I even have them all over my breasts from when I tried to scratch them off after Charlie started paying attention to them. Dr. Matt calls this my “self-injury impulse.”

I’ve been trying to control it, but I slipped big-time at Christmas. I scared David, Bev, Dr. Matt, and myself so badly, I nearly ended up having to enter treatment so I wouldn’t commit suicide. I’m still on probation right now with Dr. Matt. He told me that he won’t give up on me, but he’s not so sure I’m not going to give up on myself.