Before the winter quarter started I was helping Daddy as he needed. One morning he told me I needed to organize his supply closet, so some things he had in his office could fit. Let me tell you though, I just couldn’t organize it. I had to walk around with him as he gave me the exact instructions and I had a special notebook to take notes. That process usually took a good 45 minutes before I could even start on the task. Once he gave me the go ahead to get started, I took my notes and got to work. After about an hour Daddy walked by and got angry I was doing it the wrong way. Well, actually, he was furious. He yelled, “I clearly told you in my instructions to remove everything from the closet first. If you had opened your G-d damn ears and listened to me, you would have known!” Just as Daddy finished telling me what an idiot I was because I wasn’t doing it as he instructed, his secretary called for him making up something for him to do to help get him out of my hair. Thank G-d! He was able to keep him out of my way all day until I was finished.
I waited until the next day to tell Daddy I was finished. He told me I was to wait in the hallway until he could come check. After about a half hour I told his secretary I was going to the restroom and would be back. Well, let’s say I took my time. I was pissed I wasn’t going to continue waiting. When I returned Daddy was talking to his secretary. When he turned to look at me, he was pissed beyond words. How dare I leave when he told me to wait. I told him I had gone to the restroom. He told me he didn’t care if I needed to leave to the emergency room, I was not to leave. He then went into the supply closet to see if I had done it correctly. Next thing I knew he was screaming and yelling how I had done it all wrong. He crazily started pulling all of the items off the shelves and letting them drop to the floor. Daddy’s secretary was shocked and tried to get Daddy to calm down. Not even he could get him to calm down. Once Daddy was done with his fit of rage, he told me because I didn’t do the job correctly, he wasn’t going to pay me. Then, he told me I was to have the closet finished by morning. Shocked by what he did in front of his secretary, I initially just stood there. Then, I turned to Daddy as he was walking down the hallway and yelled, “No, you made the mess, you clean it up!” I knew because Daddy’s secretary was there, he probably wouldn’t hit me. But when I saw how angry he was I wasn’t quite sure. What he did do was threaten to stop payment on the check he sent for me to attend college. However, I knew it had already been cashed, so I didn’t have to worry about it. My non reaction was infuriating to Daddy. He went into his living area of the apartment and locked the door. That evening he kept the door locked and wouldn’t let me in to get anything to eat or to go to the bathroom.
I continued to have to ask Daddy for money for my toiletries. And even by the time I started winter quarter he had not paid me for any of the jobs I had done. One afternoon I had started my period a little earlier. For most women stress would keep them from getting their periods. No not me. Mine had to come early. I needed to run to the store to get some tampons but I had to ask Daddy for money. When I went to his office to ask him he not only had his secretary in there but someone else I didn’t know. I apologized. Daddy told me it was OK and asked what I needed. I asked him if I could have $10.00. He of course asked me why and then looked at his secretary and the other gentleman and said, “You know these Kid’s these days. You never know how they’re spending your money.” I was so pissed by his comment. I said, “Well, technically Daddy, it’s my money for the jobs I’ve done.” Daddy laughed and told me I didn’t earn it because I had refused to do any task right. He then looked at the others and winked at them. What the fucking hell? Daddy asked me again why I needed the money. I told him I needed to go to the drug store. Listen, aside from being totally pissed I had to tell him what I was buying before he’d give me the money, I didn’t mind telling Daddy why. But, not in mixed company. I told him I couldn’t tell him at the moment. He got mad. The others knew but not my dear ol dad. Instead, Daddy kept getting angrier and angrier. He finally told me to forget it that he wasn’t going to give me a damn dime until I told him. He told me to get out of his sight. When I walked out of his office I heard him discussing with his secretary and other gentleman how I do nothing but take money from him and he’s tired of it. He told them how he has been paying for my schooling and how ungrateful I was. He gave them a cockamamie story about all he had done for me since Momma had died. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I wanted to tell them he was totally lying. But there was nothing I could do. There wasn’t a G-d damn thing I could do.
Winter quarter couldn’t have arrived quick enough. Daddy wouldn’t let me use his car, so I had to take the bus to the campus. I was mad at first only because he kept stripping me of things the more I kept trying to do to better myself. But, then, I didn’t care and just wanted to be in school. One of the first classes I took was a required English class. I enjoyed it. I had to write a term paper on a poem of my choosing. I chose Haim Nachman Bialick and his poem, Kishnev. I spent the entire quarter gathering information about the Russian pogroms and related it to the poem. A time of no Internet I spent hours at the library doing my research. Daddy allowed me to use his computer to type it.
One evening I was on the computer finishing my paper. I was almost done and really proud of the work I had done. As I was working Daddy stormed over to me. He was pissed that he had called for me and I didn’t go to him. I didn’t hear him. Holy crap! His apartment was on the other side of the building. It was feasible I didn’t hear him. Daddy seemed overly angry at me for not answering him. When I told him I didn’t hear him, he went ballistic. He asked me to give him my floppy disc so he could destroy it. Um, like hell! When I told him hell no especially because it was my only copy, he then tried to jump over the desk to get it. I pushed him away. He walked around the desk and shoved me into the wall. Like hell was I going to allow him to destroy my work. He had done it in the past but not this time. I was going to fight like hell to protect it. Because Daddy was clueless where the floppy disc was even located, I was able to get to it first. I grabbed it and ran down the hall to my room. I knew he was going to break open my door, so I had seconds to think fast on where to put it. I shoved it down the back of my pants but opened a few of my dresser drawers to throw him off. (OK, for those of you who remember those floppy discs you’ll understand shoving it down my pants was not easy. Today, I can laugh about it because as I had it in my pants, I know I had to have been walking funny as big as it was. Also, I was extremely afraid I could break it. I prayed Daddy wouldn’t force me to sit down. How many people can say they were forced to hide a floppy disc down their pants? I’m sure not many. Crazy, I say! Just crazy!)
Just as I closed one of the drawers, Daddy had kicked in the door. He ransacked my room looking for the disc. When he couldn’t find it he demanded I give it to him. Not this time. I was not going to give in so easily this time. He tried to grab my book bag when he couldn’t get the floppy disc. He told me he wanted to tear up one of my school books. He was shocked when I shoved him out of the way and grabbed it. That’s when he told me he had enough of me and my crazy behavior. He said I had one month to leave. He grabbed his chest telling me I was giving him a heart attack and I wasn’t going to be the cause of his death. As he walked to his living area he kept rambling how he couldn’t take it anymore and he wasn’t going to put up with my crazy behavior anymore. I was afraid to be out on my own. I knew what that was like when I was previously in college. And this time I didn’t have money or a car. I figured Daddy was just blowing out hot air like he had in the past but I knew I needed to come up with a back up plan. I think I knew it was time for me to go and finally get away.
I had been doing a little work with the local Jewish Youth group. The advisor for the group I barely knew at this time but there was something about her that made me feel safe. She was a professor at the college I was attending. Sadly, there was no one else I knew. Well, there were at least three of Daddy’s ex girlfriend in town but not people I would call for help. Finally able to see the reality of Daddy’s outbursts along with his increased physical abuse I was finally scared enough to ask for help. One day while I was at the college I stopped by that professor’s office. As I told her I needed to get out of Daddy’s house I started to cry. The pain of being rejected by a parent was very difficult. The idealistic dad I had created in my head, it was dawning to me who he really was. As I waited for the professor to finish something before she talked to me, I started daydreaming. I wished this professor was my mother. All I wanted was to be loved and supported. And when I say supported I mean given praise and encouragement. I was trying to turn my life around. I wanted more for myself than where I was headed before going to Israel. G-d dammit, most parents would praise their child for being able to take the initiative. It was a hard reality to see the abusive man my father was and know I needed to get out.
I remember sitting in the professor’s office scared out of my mind. I was terrified to tell her about Daddy. In many ways I was still feeling it was my fault. Even so, I asked her if she knew of anyone I could possibly live with who was close to the college. Since I had no money I thought possibly in exchange for rent, I could clean their house or whatever else they needed. Surely, there had to be someone. Honestly (as if I haven’t been thus far) I wanted this professor to take me in like a lost puppy and care for me. BUT, I knew that wouldn’t have been fair or right.
I was so relived when the professor had an idea. She told me there had been another professor and his wife who had rented out one of their bedrooms in their home. They lived right next to the school which was perfect since I didn’t have a car. She told me she’d ask if that room was available and if I could do a trade.
Still secretive about Daddy’s abuse, this professor was insightful enough to know something was terribly wrong. I have to admit I don’t remember how much I told her about my situation. I’m guessing not much. I’m sure though, my fear was quite apparent. She offered for me to stay with her but I was afraid to except. I liked her and her family a lot and I didn’t want to burden them with my problem. Plus, I wasn’t sure what Daddy could do.
Sure enough the other professor and his wife did have a room available in their home for me to stay. I was terrified of the thought of leaving Daddy. I spoke to the professor’s wife and she suggested I come over to meet her one afternoon after my classes. Without any of Daddy’s knowledge I met with her and she graciously agreed for me to live with them. As a psychologist’s wife she knew I hadn’t hit the end of my rope yet and wasn’t ready to leave Daddy. So, she told me when I was ready no matter what time of day or night, she’d come get me. That peace of mind knowing I had a place available meant the world to me.
Everyday in Daddy’s house was filed with screaming, violence and a lot, a lot of anger. And that included a lot of anger on my part as well. One morning I had gotten up to get ready for one of my classes. I had been up late for the last many nights studying for a test. They were NOT my strong point by any means, so I was working very hard to do well. So, I got up to get ready for class. Daddy had been angry with me for pretty much the entire time I had been home from Israel. I knew I was buying my time with him and crazy as it was, I stayed as long as I could. Well, that morning I was taking my shower. Let me explain first. In Daddy’s house one was NOT allowed to shower for more than three or four minutes. See, the houses we lived in had limited hot water, so there had to be enough left for him. And he never could wait for it to heat up again. So, I was in the bathroom showering. I remember feeling exhausted not just from studying but being in such an oppressive house too. As I was showering I was going over what was to be on my test in my head and I lost track of my time. Next thing I knew there was a tremendous BANG on the door. Right when I heard it after I had to shove my heart back down out of my throat, I realized I had been in there too long. Daddy had broken open the door. Meanwhile, it wasn’t locked. He was screaming at the top of his lungs to get the hell out of his bathroom. He was pacing the floor and flailing his arms all around. He tried to grab me but I disappeared back behind the shower curtain. Luckily he wasn’t ready to get wet as I still had the shower running. I yelled back at him that I would get out of the shower as soon as he left. He ranted for another 5 minutes. I had to scream over him to get him to hear me. I screamed, “Daddy, you are wasting your own hot water. Get out so I can get the soap off and get out!” I had to scream it four or five times before he finally slammed out.
Because Daddy had to get into the bathroom right then I had no time to dry off. I had to wrap the towel around me, grab all of my clothes and school stuff I was using to study and go to my room. I was doing fine on time. I didn’t have to catch the city bus to take me to the college for another hour. Since the kitchen was in Daddy’s living area I dreaded to go there to get breakfast. I figured I could at least grab a bagel. When I went to open the door to his living area, it was locked. He had locked me out! I was so pissed by his desire to have so much control over every little G-d damn thing! I figured I’d go ahead and grab my school stuff and head to school. Since the bus only came once an hour, I figured I’d walk to another stop which would help me get out some anger and energy before my test. Just as I was gathering my stuff to get ready to leave I heard stomping coming from Daddy’s living area. And to my dismay that stomping was coming closer to me. I heard his door open and him ranting about something under his breath. He yelled, “And where the hell do you think you’re going?” I told him I had a test and I was leaving for that class. You would have thought I told him I was burning down his house with as angry as he was. Would you believe that man stood there for over 30 minutes not allowing me to leave? I was in a panic because I had missed my bus by that point and didn’t know of another way. Daddy certainly was not going to take me and I even asked him. When I told Daddy I had missed my bus, he told me that was good because then I knew how he felt when I inconvenienced him. I was crying and so raging mad. I punched a hole in my bedroom wall. OK, so that wasn’t so smart considering Daddy was already so angry. But, you have to understand. I had to let it out. Daddy went ballistic. I told him he was lucky I didn’t put a hole into him. I know. Not a smart thing to say either. Daddy screamed I was to get the fuck out and I had better find a place to live because I wasn’t welcomed to stay with him any longer. From what I gathered from his yelling he believed I had not made arrangements and he was pissed I was taking advantage of him. Oh yeah, I just love living in a place like that where yelling and beating up on me was the norm. And on top of that doing jobs that were never right and always getting my pay revolked. Oh yeah, I knew how to really take advantage of the situation. And I was getting what out of staying? To take advantage meant I was getting something In return. Well, you know why I was staying? All the hell I wanted was my Daddy and I knew he was not going to be capable of being there for me.
And yet I still wasn’t ready to leave. I know. I know. I had a place to go. Because of the help of the professor who was the advisor for the youth group I had a place to go. It’s so easy to look back now and say why did I even return from Israel and live with him. I get it and understand that now. Well, I understand to a point. My brain understands but as a daughter of abuse, my heart always caring for my father. My heart that was waiting for the moment where he would change and be able to love his children. So, I couldn’t leave him and have him think I abandoned him like everyone else had done. Don’t say it. I know. People didn’t abandon Daddy, he pushed them away. I get that today but then, believe it or not, I was not ready. However, it would only take one more event for me to finally have to leave. Daddy would show me how far he was willing to take his anger and I knew I was in danger at that point. That event which I will share in my next chapter was I felt Daddy’s worse display of violence. It would forever be imprinted in my memories as the worse day of my entire life. It was the day I was forced to see my father for who he really was.