Sorry. Let’s try again.
Once upon a time…no, that doesn’t work either.
Back in the Dark Ages of 1990, the Scientist took a class called Linear Algebra. I had a class at the same time as him, but on one fateful (see how I added suspense there?) day, my own was cancelled. I thought it’d be fun to tag along with him to class, as I always liked math in high school. Boy was I crazy.
The professor put a particular problem up on the board (*sigh* Yes, in the Dark Ages, we still used blackboards with real chalk!) that had, I kid you not, more letters in it than numbers. And the worst part? Not all of the letters were common Arabic. Nope. There were Greek letters mixed in with them. I was baffled, to say the least. I had rocked out “regular” Algebra, loved Trigonometry, breezed through Geometry, and loved it all.
This? This, my friends, was beyond my comprehension. I pondered trying to learn it, despite the fact that I was a psych major, but then decided that unless I wanted to become and abnormal psych case study, I’d leave Linear Algebra to the smarter minds like the Scientist. It kinda bugged me for a while, but I came to the conclusion that there are some things in this life that I simply do not need, or particularly want, to take the time to understand. I don’t hit that point often, but I did so again last week, and I think it might be a Good Thing.
When the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan of my old blog, and certain members of my family decided that I was the Devil Incarnate for posting about Golden Boy’s 2 year molestation of me, along with my best friend, conversations arose with one certain person. This certain person had caught my brother with me, and of course, Golden Boy swore that was the only time, blahblahblah. After reading my blog, this person consulted a pastor, and a psychologist on staff where she worked to ask them their opinion. Both people flat out said, “If it happened once, it happened multiple times. She’s telling the truth.” Of course, I was so, so glad to have required outside opinions to confirm my words as truth, but we’ll leave the sarcasm out of this for now. Of course, it wasn’t any real surprise to me that confirmation was needed for this person – otherwise, she was privy to child abuse and molestation and did nothing. Granted, she was only 15 herself, and not to blame. She wasn’t an adult. But now? Now what?
So when I was told that Golden Boy had indeed been “caught” with me once, I was pretty surprised. I had absolutely no memory of that. I wracked my brain, nothing. Why did I not remember? Strange, as I remember pretty much every other detail of it. Perhaps it was my brain’s way of shutting out the knowledge that someone could have helped me and didn’t. Perhaps I couldn’t handle the fact that I truly was that powerless. No idea.
Last week, like any other given morning, I was hurrying to get ready for work. I turned to rinse the conditioner out of my hair, and it felt like someone had dropped one of Wile E Coyote’s boulders on my chest. I got dizzy, clammy, and I had to sit down on the bench in our shower for a minute to get my bearings. In that one split second, I remembered. Every detail. I remembered what I’d said, in a child’s voice that rose past the veil of secrecy he’d built to cause her to burst in. I remembered the look of guilt that morphed into derision, on his face. I remembered the look of shock, and then disgust on hers. I remembered everything he said; he blamed it on me, and told her that I wouldn’t leave him alone. I remembered her shoving me out of his room, yelling at me to go to mine. And most of all? I remembered her coming to my room later, and telling me that what I had done was dirty, wrong, and disgusting. She told me I needed to go to confession, and to hope that God could ever forgive me for what I had done.
I was 6 years old.
And of course, it wasn’t even remotely the last time. In fact, the next time he got his hands on me, well, let’s just say I’d rather I hadn’t remembered that part.
When I recovered my senses in the shower, I dried off, got dressed, went to work. My hour-long commute that morning, and that afternoon, was rife with unanswered questions, and the biggest one of all was, “Why?” Why in the hell had he gone after me, and why didn’t she tell my parents? Well, I know the answer to that second part. My parents would’ve killed Golden Boy, and she was so close to him that she protected him at all costs. Better to sacrifice me. *shrug* Wouldn’t be the first or last time.
As I drove, something in the swirls of rage and pain just stopped. Defense mechanism? Maybe. Maybe it was just an acceptance that I will never know why it happened, and at this point? It’s just not important to me anymore. I don’t care enough about him to give him the opportunity to soothe his own soul with an apology. I can’t change the past. But I can make sure that what happened in my past doesn’t ruin my future. And I think I’ve done that.
And so, in a moment of peace, I came to the realization that my brother, like Linear Algebra, would stay forever in the realm of things that just aren’t important enough for me to waste the effort to understand. Small victories, maybe, but they still work.