"You are not good enough," he said.
An utterly grotesque submersion of my mind into the acid drenched memories made me cringe as the words stung my innocent insides. I pulled my frigid body away, turned and hid my eyes within pillows of hair. I stared at the morbid drawing which reminded me of the failure I subconsciously thought I was. The drawing was an insipid fruit; orange, lonely, inert in a dim light floating within the atmosphere of the canvas. Drawing and painting were a release for me. Strokes of divine colors interpret my emotions well. My delicate fingers at work filling each significant interstice on a barren canvas are exhilarating. But still the reoccurring echoed words, "you are not good enough" was heard.
Far and distant within those tormenting thoughts, my husband comes to hold me and asks, "What’s wrong?"
I shook his hands off and with my all struggled to get the words out. I stammered in a low frightful voice, “You said ‘I'm not good enough.’”
I ran to the bathroom, my refuge. I slammed the heavy, pale blue door shut. My husband then came knocking on a barrier as solid and impenetrable as my heart's past. I slid down against the moveable wall, feeling vibrations down my back as my husband knocked authoritatively. I sat on the floor with my knees propped up, my arms resting on them and my hands on my face crying. His voice so transparent, I looked up at the rusty, golden knob to make sure the door was actually locked. His continuous knocking was annoying me to the point where I couldn't stand it anymore. I shouted through my young weak fingers, "What?!"
"What's wrong dear?" he asked soothingly. Suffocating silence answered him.
"Christine, if it’s what I said, I'm sorry, I didn't mean it."
Soft moans of hurt fought him, leaked though the other side and launched straight into his soul.
He pleaded with me, "Christine, please come out, you're a wonderful artist but it's just not what I was looking for to put in my presentation." Another pause. “I am looking for photography.”
I heard this and tried to register this information with my unbalanced emotions that I let take control of me. Pulling myself up I held my husband’s words into account. Russell listened to my timid movements. I took conscious steps to the sink, looked at myself in the somewhat dark clouded mirror. Pink eyes lined with red streaks leading to black pupils stared back. A round brown wet disgruntled face and a weak heavily breathing creature appeared as a result of my reflection. Astonishing it was that I was able to see myself without having to climb on the toilet. I flushed my face with water but my puffy red eyes stubbornly remained. Walking dreadfully toward the door with a posture stained with aggrievement I knew the meeting with his quizzical face was inevitable. I opened the door and slightly peeked through the space exposing the tip of my face and one eye. He stood there waiting. Thoughts of escape to my room and becoming lost within comforting covers entered my mind. He stood there and the memory of my room being his room was brought back. I slid the rest of my body, closing the bathroom door slowly behind me. My eyes concentrated on the suddenly interesting red carpet beneath my bare feet as I attempted to avoid his questioning gaze. Russell went up to me and without saying a word he pulled me into his wide chest and rubbed my back lovingly. His rhythmic strokes along my vertebrae temporarily melted away my tensed scared muscles. Submerged within his embrace I kept on reminding myself, it’s just Russell, no one else.
After those few moments, Russell had to leave. Alone again, haunted by the demonic thoughts of the past, lights off as I was locked up in the bathroom and thought about those memories. Memories of the evil manipulation I endured at the tenderly impressionable age of eight. I remember being attached to the wall by a leash around my neck. Like a harmless puppy in bondage, little Christine stood there nowhere to go and nowhere to run. My stepfather hated me, put me on the leash and I endured verbal abuse. He sent blows, punches, and slaps to my self esteem. I had no voice, I was unloved, a nobody. He said with his devilish shots of torment, things that would remain with me until I perish. My young soul bore the undeserved pain. Those words stayed fixated in my mind "you are not good enough" and "you are nothing." I pleaded with my all to use the bathroom; anything to get away from the immortal monster my mother married. I ran to the bathroom, my refuge. I slammed the heavy, faded blue door shut. My stepfather then came knocking violently on the impenetrable barrier. I slid down against the thick wooden wall, my whole body shaking from the deep and loud vibrations. My little body grew more and more afraid. I tipped into the cold, frozen like the blue tub, and laid there. I cried profusely but silently only hearing my own little echoes at the bottom of the drain. The hot tears ran down to my arm, then the tub, and traveled to the drain. In my memories, I fell asleep until my mother came home.
I was sitting on my bed, crying feeling abandoned and afraid. I got up, went into my tub. Feeling the weird comfort of the tub I fell asleep just as I did when I was a child. When I awoke, I was surprised to see my husband looking oddly at me; I thought to myself it used to be my mother I found. I opened my mouth and began to stammer out a lie.
But Russell helped me up and said, "We need to talk about you and I brought your mother." He paused and went on, "I spoke to your mother about what happened and she’s waiting out in the living room with someone else."
"You'll see." Russell whispered.
He brought me into the living room and there my mother sat with her hands shaky, looking in the direction across from her. I followed her line of vision, there he was, my stepfather. I ran back into the bathroom in confusion. This time my husband was there, sat in the tub with me, and held me as I cried.