The Unknown

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When I was around 8 years old, my mother told me of a spooky story from her country called La Carreta Loca (The crazy wagon). My siblings and I crowded around her, our ears ready to listen and our blankets pulled to the tip of our nose like a shield. 

The story tells of a crazy wagon that haunted a road near my father’s house. Every night at midnight a wagon perpetually rounds the same road. People in my mother’s small village said that any person who walked the same road as the wagon at midnight, would go mad. One glance, one sound, and your being will transport into a never ending, painful delusion followed by physical illness. My father claimed to be a victim of such horror. 

As we cuddled next to my mother, my mother smiled as if enjoying our fear. She continued with her story:

My father came back from and eventful, drunken night at his friends house. It was close to midnight and he decided to walk back to his house, even after his friends insisted on a sleep over. He walked the road, stumbling here and there. When the arrows hit 12, the wagon began its journey. My father came to a stanstill when he heard the crunch of wheels on gravel. He looked back, but the mysterious fog did not allow any image intake. He quickened his pace. The graveling sound became louder. The fog begun to disappear. He dare not look back.  He continued his usual pace. The rumbling sound synced with his footsteps. Step. Step. Step Step. He glanced to the side and saw the wagon. He stumbled down with fear and the wagon came to a halt. There was nothing pulling it; no animal or human. He described the wagon to be antique, rusted, and covered in debris and webs. After seconds of silence, the wagon continued the path. My father did not remember anything after that. His mother claimed that when he arrived home: his body fell into a deep fever, he mumbled his words, sweat drenched his clothes, and his eyes bulged and red. His mother layed him down on the bed and tried to calm him, but it was futile. My father dwelled in an unreachable dimension. His mother said he was on the verge of death. After a long night of ritualistic cleansing, his fever subsided and his cognitive responses reached a normal state. The next morning he awoke, bewildered and with no memory of his bewitchment.

My mother said that my father never walked that same road at night again. He was a changed man; he was never the same. 

 As my mother concluded the story, the sound of the wheels crunching the gravel haunted my head

  • What if the wagon is a weird alien?
  • Why didn’t the wagon choose a different road?
  • Is the wagon trapped?
  • Does it like being there? Alone?

 During that time in my childhood I didn’t think much of the story, but I have to admit that it did scare the shit out of me. Out of all the spooky stories my mother told us, this one stood out the most. Now, as I think back, I think the reason it stood out was because I found similiarities between the wagon and the men who abused me. 

Like the wagon…

  • They harmed others with reasons unknown.
  •  They chose a path and never steered away from it. 
  • A predators’ mind is puzzling. 
  • Solitude was their advantage. 

 Throughout the story, my mother kept repeating

The wagon without a rider

Is the reason behind the wagon’s insanity void? If it had its rider, would it still have chosen the same path?

Did my abusers choose a path because they lacked something in their life? 

The feeling of void is powerful. It drives humans to a depth of desperation, but does that justify a predator’s actions?

NO, IT DOES NOT.

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Focus

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  I was walking underneath the pier with my family whe I glanced at this magnificent spot. For some odd reason I was overwhelmed with anxiety; it felt as though the raging waters would swallow me any second, and yet, I felt strong. I stood there. I did not move, not because I could not move, but because I CHOSE not to move. 

I found a hidden strength. 

Where is your focus?

The Eighth Piece: Uncle #2 (Trigger Warning)

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Charismatic, confident, friendly, and any other word or phrase that will describe a person in the most postitive sense; all three of my predator blended in, without a hint of suspicion, and my fourth predator was no different. 

 My uncle L immigrated from his home country to the USA and was introduced into the family when I was around 10 years old. My aunt thought he would flourish if he lived with us since my father had a successful small business and our economical status was better than the poverty line. My mother, without hesitation, agreed to take him in. I was surprised how my mother loved to take opportunities that would increase her reputation as being a “good woman” which she was by the way. The conundrum was figuring out whether she did it out of good will or advertisement. My mother was a strange one, but through the years I was able to turn this puzzle into an exciting game, very similar to I Spy. 

My uncle was a tall, very good looking, young man. He was polite, friendly, and conservative, but what stood the most was his smile. A similarity that I found with all my predators was the power they had behind their smile. To me, everytime they smiled, a shield formed because I knew who they really were on the inside. To others, their shield disintergrate and an automatic illusion begin to play. They were swept by the innocence of their smile and they lacked the vision of truth. 

I rarely talked to my uncle. The truth is I tried to keep my distance from him like I did with other men. I did not want to give him the wrong signal since I was convinced that something was wrong with me to cause the men in my family to act as they did. So, I kept my distance. I continued basic, everyday, conversations. Even though, my father continued with his routines, I was proud of myself, because i felt like I had control of at least a small part of my life…

Sadly, after everything that has occurred, I couldn’t learn my lesson: happiness is non existent. 

My small episode of self empowerment ended one night when my uncle opened the door to my room. 

“Psst. Psst. J. Pssssttt.” A very silent, but growling whisper awoke me. I scratched my eyes and looked towards my door and saw my uncle. He smiled a wicked smile and gestured a condom, swinging it back and forth. He jerked his head, telling me ‘it was time.’

My body quickly picked it self up and I began to walk behind him. 

Feet. Stop moving. Why are you walking? 

Go back. Go back. 

We walked to the living room and I quickly layed on the couch. I did not question the situation. I did what I knew best. To please. 

I layed down and he slowly pulled down my pajamas pants and panties, ripping the condom wrapper with his teeth. 

My body and mind were not intact. As he was preparing himself, something clicked within me.

NO.

  I jumped off the couch, pulling my pants up and ran to me room. I quickly closed the door and locked it, slowly walking backwards to my bed. My breathing was deep and silent; I couldn’t wake up my sister. I layed down on my bed and pulled the covers over my head. The tears rushed down. I couldn’t stop them. I was overwhelmed with disgust.

Why did you walk over there?

You’re disgusting. 

What is wrong with you?

 I continued the thoughts of self neglect through the whole night. I didn’t sleep. The following morning I found my composure and walked to the kitchen as if last night never occured. My uncle sat on the table and did the same. He glanced over to me, smiled, and looked away.

 My uncle didn’t last long with us after that. About a month later he decided to go live with his mother, my aunt. He said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you all. Thank you for everything.” As quickly as he was welcomed into our home, he left it. 

My life continued as it did after that. My father continued his daily routines. My mother was oblivious. My siblings were saved from the harsh truth. Everyday was the same. 

 The only new question that arose was Why did he do what he did? It’s as if he knew I would walk to him, no questions asked and do what he wanted. This new question brought back an unpleasant memory of my childhood. 

 Our family had one of their common family gathering parties. Everything was cheery, joyful, and alive. My father, uncles, family friends were obviously intoxicated. I was about 8 years old. My father made his way towards me and grabbed my hand. He walked me where my uncles and family friends were gathered and sat me on his lap. He began to pridefully, compliment on my beauty. He sat me in the middle where I was sorrouded by all the men. I did not like it. I felt trapped. I felt exposed. I could only focused on all the men smiling down at me. One by one; each one smiling at me. 

It was feeding time and I was the main dish. 

I was able to sneak past everyone and hide in a corner. Hide from the perverted eyes. Hide. 

That new question. That lost memory. That new incident with my uncle. 

I was convinced that my goal in reaching the status of being a normal girl would never arrive.

 I was a sex toy. 

 I was a puppet.

 I was nothing. 

                                                                 Alone I stand.