In that old house, where we were given the sex talk, one fine day, my siblings and I spent hours digging out an underground cubby house. The sand was fine and white, and we’d dug down far enough for all of us to fit inside.
If we hadn’t, for some reason, spent that time also teasing our youngest sibling into believing she’d been adopted, that sand cave wouldn’t have been found. But my father’s wife arrived and foiled our attempt by sending us all to our rooms. Had we all climbed in that hole, we would’ve been buried when it collapsed in on us.
We also had some family photos taken, and I’d given a younger sibling a haircut, my father’s wife favourite child. All I did was trim her fringe, so of course after the obligatory face slap, my fringe was cut a tad shorter than that of my siblings. It made for an interesting family photo.
In our innocence, my siblings and I had subconsciously dipped into the family gene pool, and recognised something in the sibling we’d taunted that day. I was to find out later in life she was our half-sister. It doesn’t stop there, my other siblings are my half siblings also. Apparently, my father’s wife flaunted her affairs. Two are presumed by the same father, one is definitely from another. I think my siblings know of their heritage now, I hope they do, but my father, knowing they were not his children, treated, treats, us all the same.
My father’s wife’s affairs were well known by extended family and friends. Her dislike of me began on the birthing table, probably when I was conceived. I was my father’s daughter, the one she’d married. She more than likely hoped I’d die in the womb, or that I’d never cry, and she could leave the hospital free of me. It’s how she made me feel.
She would’ve milked that grief for all she could, but secretly, or not, it wouldn’t have affected her in the way others would’ve thought. I know, because I know of the secret things I shouldn’t know about.
They are the things not told to me by my father, but by others outside the family. I know the truth, and the one thing common to many abusers is that they believe time, maybe a ‘sorry’, or the typical gifts to reinforce the false lie of, ‘I’ll never do it again’ could fix it all.
With me, she’ll never do it again because I haven’t seen or spoken to her for nearly twenty-years, and before that, it was a chance meeting once every few years. She wants the persona that she is the aggrieved party to be the image others see.
Due to my silence, my inability to speak of her abuses, she almost gets away with it. She works hard to manipulate members of my father’s family even now. Those who live on the edges of the whole. I know none of them, and they certainly don’t know me. I haven’t seen all, but three, of my extended family since I was probably twelve.
By chance, I got to speak to people my father’s wife once worked with. They had a trove of information they willingly shared. They were shocked by the things my father’s wife would say about her eldest daughter, because they couldn’t believe a parent could speak that way about their own child.