By the time my first quarter of school was halfway over Daddy was barely speaking to me. The only time he would speak to me was to remind me I needed to find a new place to live. I’d ignore him. I was terrified. I had no money to pay an electric bill let alone to rent an apartment. Where the hell did he think I could go? G-d damnit Daddy! I was not the awful kid you made me appear to be to others. I was not a hoodlum or a drug addict. I just wanted love and support from my Daddy! Why in the hell was that so G-d damn hard? Meanwhile because of the caring of the professor I worked with in the youth group I did have a place to live. You know it was a strange thing. I was afraid to leave to have to rely on strangers. Why in the hell would strangers want to help me? What happened if that didn’t work out? I’d have nowhere else to go. That frightened me. The other fear I had was that Daddy would go to where I lived and threaten those people. Knowing how mean Daddy could get, I was worried he’d try to get me kicked out from where I was living by making up lies and creating a scene. So, I suppose I was trying to protect others from having to endure his wrath too. Listen, I know many people may not understand because they can’t relate but as afraid as I was of staying, I was even more afraid to leave. Also, I still had an underlying belief Daddy was right that if I left him it would mean I didn’t love him. And because I did love him I didn’t want to leave. Very warped, I know. But that was the control Daddy did have over me.
It was obvious tensions with Daddy were escalating even in the silence. The silence was scary and to me it was worse than when Daddy was yelling because it never seemed to end. I felt as if he was a walking time bomb and could explode at any moment. I hated waiting! I felt as if I was walking on egg shells. I was scared to make any wrong move for fear it would press the wrong button and G-d knows what would have happened then. It didn’t matter who Daddy was speaking to but whenever I heard his voice, I’d jump in fear. One day I heard him slam his telephone down and he started yelling. My heart stopped because I thought he was exploding at me. Meanwhile, why would it have been me because I hadn’t done anything? But, most of the time I hadn’t done anything to be in trouble. I was in my room so I cracked my door a bit to hear what was happening. I heard his secretary calming Daddy down. I realized it was not me he was angry with but a client. I was so relieved.
Daddy was definitely annoyed with me spending so much time on my studies and He’d do anything to pull me away. I remember this one week where he’d allow me to go to class but I wasn’t allowed to stay to do some research at the library. He wanted me home to wait for “an important” package. I had to sit on the inside stairs by the front door to watch for the mailman. See, Daddy kept his front door locked and I needed to be there to “grab the mailman” when I saw him as Daddy told me. One would think it would have been easier to keep the door unlocked but Daddy never liked his door unlocked. And because he didn’t like his door unlocked his solution was more complicated than it needed to be. I decided I’d studying while I was sitting there. I had a test coming up and needed to use that time. Now, would you believe while I was sitting there his secretary and Daddy were in the office? What the fuck? Unlock the G-d dam door and have the mail guy come up the stairs to deliver it to you. But, no, Daddy’s way always inconvenienced others and made no fucking sense! His secretary told me he had no idea why Daddy needed me there. Just another one of Daddy’s control things.
Because Daddy didn’t know when his mailman delivered the mail, I had to sit there from 11:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. And the longer I waited the more disturbed Daddy was becoming because his package had not arrived. At 4:00 I could hear him yelling in his office to his secretary. Daddy was pissed I was studying when I was supposed to be on the look put for the mailman. He was furious and felt I hadn’t fully paid attention because I was too busy studying and therefor missed seeing the mailman. Are you freaking kidding me? Was his comment for real? He must have been joking! But, he wasn’t and Daddy spent weeks telling people how he had asked me to do a simple favor for him and I couldn’t even do it right. I started to question myself and thought maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention and missed seeing the mailman. However, wouldn’t I have heard him walk on the porch? Wouldn’t he have knocked? Of course so why was it my fault?! Do you know I had to sit there for another couple of days until his package came. I even had to miss one of my classes because of it. The most infuriating part was the package was a gift he had bought for his then girlfriend. That was what was so important that I had to spend hours sitting and waiting? Oh my G-d!
Listen, while living with him at that time it was common for Daddy to go through my belongings even if they were in my room. He’d go through my book bag and look through all of my papers. He claimed he had to do it to check for drugs. He didn’t justify his need to snoop because I had done drugs in the past and he was just making sure I was staying clean. Oh no, that would be what a caring father would have done. Instead, he justified snooping because he felt my erratic behavior clearly showed signs of taking drugs and he was determined to find them. So, Mr. Daddy, using your logic, what drug might I say you were on? I’d certainly say your behavior was over the top erratic!
It was incredibly maddening to me when Daddy would accuse me of doing drugs at a time I was so proud of myself for not using. Holy crap! Could he possibly give me a little credit and encouragement? It wasn’t easy to not want to use again as life with Daddy made me want to numb myself. But, I knew that path was a dangerous and I couldn’t afford to go in that direction. So, trying so hard to do good then to have Daddy accusing me made me incredibly angry. G-d help Daddy if he had pointed his finger at himself. Gee, there was no way my explosive behavior derived from the constant verbal and physical abuse? Oh gosh, why would that even cross (or Jewish star of David) his mind? It all was incredible the way he interpreted things. I felt as if I was living in this surreal crazy world and reality was nowhere to be found. Why was he so G-d damn mean?
During one of Daddy’s raids through my book bag he found a pack of cigarettes. I couldn’t believe how shocked he acted because he knew I had been smoking for years. Was he doing that for the benefit of his secretary who also knew I smoked? What fucking planet was he living? Come on! His secretary knew Daddy was acting. After he got over his shock which took a few minutes he told me that all kids my age who smoked were also on drugs. I asked him how he knew that to be true? He said, “Because studies had been done on it to prove it.” I then said,”Well, I suppose the study was incorrect because they didn’t use me in it.” Daddy’s secretary chuckled out loud which he had not realized he had done. Daddy gave him a mean look and told me to shut the fuck up that I was being sassy. Here’s the crazy part about the entire cigarette thing. It was at that point Daddy felt he had proof I was doing drugs while living in his house. He then turned around and started telling anyone who would listen that had proof I was using drugs. What the hell?! That was my reputation he was ruining! It was a joke. I would hear him on the phone talking to this person or that girlfriend telling each of them a more colorful version than the one before them. I was flabbergasted and felt so betrayed by him. Why would he make up such crap? Listen, I never denied my drug usage. OK, so, I denied it at the time I was using but knowing I was clean I certainty didn’t want people believing Daddy’s lie about me. I was so angry at what Daddy was doing. As Daddy was telling others about finding proof I did drugs they began giving him advise. Oy! I never wanted anyone to give Daddy advice. First of all, not realizing it they were giving him advice on false information. But, the other thing was those people would support Daddy and feel bad for him. That would give him a sense of empowerment only adding fuel to the fire for me. I hated it! I wanted to call every single one of those people to tell them the truth but I knew it would have been mute. I felt so helpless and so upset that other people had such the wrong perception of me. After one of the people he spoke to told him he had to kick me out because he wouldn’t want to have drug dealers hanging outside of his place, I was furious. It was at that point Daddy became more aggressive in making my life at his house even more miserable. Here’s the thing about Daddy having people to agree with him. He interpreted their support as justifying his verbal and physical abuse. I could tell the difference when someone had empowered him because he would not hold back. Meanwhile people, he was accepting advice on untrue information he had given them. I remember standing in my room and pulling my hair with all my strength just to help me get my rage out. I couldn’t believe my own father would make up such lies about me. Listen, it didn’t matter to Daddy that he hadn’t told the truth. Somewhere in his screwy head he believed the stories he told. Meanwhile, I was blown away how far out of proportion a lie could be taken from one pack of G-d damn cigarettes.
OK, now here’s the really crazy part about Daddy going through my book bag. Because I was living under his roof, all belongings including mine were his. So, he had no problem appropriating items from my bag. I thought I was going crazy for a while there when I didn’t know he was taking my things. What boggled my mind though was when he once took my syllabus from one of my classes. What the hell would he want with a syllabus? I never could figure out how taking my syllabus would benefit him. But, the amazing story teller he was, I was sure he’d come up with something. What was wrong with my Dad? He was not living in the real world. He had conjured up so many stories of things I was supposedly doing. For G-d sake I purposely kept my graded papers and tests in my book bag for him to see how well I was doing. I was hoping those papers would have been proof of the straight path I was following and could be my voice. You know, I’m not sure he even looked at them. Or maybe he did and he was disappointed I was doing well. See, if I was doing well then there was no chance he would have been able to convince me to quit school and help him. The better I was doing, the less of a chance his plans were going to happen.
Because Daddy’s lies about me were supported by his friends and substantiated in his mind he felt justified to question me each and every time I left the house. It got to a point that if I headed to school early or if I needed to stay longer after my class, I had to explain to him why it was necessary. Usually, giving the reason I needed to go to the library to do research or to study (which was true) was not good enough for him. I had to specify what I needed to study and the specific research I had to do. But, I remember thinking that was such a joke because how would he have known I was telling him the truth? Oh, that’s right! He had my syllabus to confirm it. Listen people, Daddy was not a stupid man. Crazy, yes, but not stupid. But, let me tell you, he wouldn’t have known the purpose of the syllabus. Knowing Daddy he took it thinking it was incriminating. But, when he showed it to someone and they told him what it was, he trashed it because it was no longer valuable to him. Regardless, let’s say he was that knowledgeable I had nothing to worry about in that are because I didn’t lie to him.
I never knew if it was true or my imagination but I felt he was getting angrier and angrier with me because of his lack of ability to control me. When I came back from Israel I had a new sense of confidence. And not that I didn’t voice my opinions with Daddy in the past but with all that I gained during my time overseas I was able to put my foot down when Daddy was making bad decisions for me. Before I didn’t have a choice as I was a minor and with that age had less freedoms in making those decisions. And even though I had stood up to him in the past I had limits. I just wanted to desperately understand why Daddy couldn’t be supportive and happy for me. Why was it necessary for him to have the need to control?
I spent much of my time in my room or at school when Daddy would allow it. I knew keeping out of his way was best. However, I was so incredibly lonely. I felt more alone with Daddy there than when I lived practically alone as Daddy was girlfriend hopping. Trying to keep away from him as much as possible to make my life a little easier, I’d only go into his section of the house to use the restroom and to grab something from the kitchen to eat. But, I’d only go to the kitchen once he was in his bedroom so he couldn’t yell at me for having taken “his food”. By that point Daddy refused to buy food for me and I wasn’t allowed to touch his specific grocery’s. I remember many nights eating a jelly sandwich with a cup of water for my dinner. No peanut butter because Daddy hated peanut butter. Even though my days were very lonely what upset me the most were those nights I’d sit on my bed in my room eating dinner alone. I would cry a lot and wondered why me. I didn’t do anything that bad to deserve this. I missed Momma and I couldn’t understand why Daddy was just so damn mean. I missed Elspeth and would have loved to have her with me. I hated my life with Daddy and I knew it wasn’t healthy.
I could feel my time living with him was coming to an end.
Daddy wasn’t demanding I do jobs for him anymore and nor was I volunteering either. I had a problem though. Daddy refused to pay for my toiletries. OK, he pretty much refused to pay for most anything. But, particularly my toiletries because he felt they were too damn expensive. In fact during this time he had this pure hate for my long hair. OK, he absolutely despised it. He felt all of my hair products were a waste because if I had just cut my hair, I wouldn’t have to use all of that crap. But listen, I was 21 years old and loved all of the fragrant hair products. It was my indulgent addiction. But for whatever reason, he seemed to use my hair as his reason to not buy my toiletries. Oh, my G-d! About my hair at that time. It was long, very thick, curly red hair. Now, for those who’ve had or knows of someone who has had long hair, understands it sheds. It’s just what happens. Well, Daddy would get furious when he’d find it in the sink. That goes without saying. But, he claimed he was picking it up off of the carpet like dog hair and that in itself would easily send him over the edge. My hair, people, would send my dad over the top. Holy crap was that crazy.
Anyway, back to Daddy not buying me toiletries. It had been a good 6 months since Daddy had given me money to buy tampons and pads. I had asked Daddy for money to buy more but he’d tell me they weren’t necessary and a waste of money. So, there were a couple of months I had to be creative during my period because I didn’t have any pads or tampons. As I knew my period was approaching again I thought while Daddy’s secretary was in the office I’d try to ask Daddy for some money to get a box of tampons. I knew he wouldn’t allow me to get a box of tampons and pads, so I just kept it simple or so I thought. I rehearsed how I was going to ask Daddy for the money in my head while I was in my room. I went over it for a good 30 minutes before getting the nerve to leave my room to ask him. After all, we had not spoken nor had Daddy acknowledged me in over a week, so their was no telling how he’d react. I figured I couldn’t be any worse off by asking him than I was at that point. It was worth a shot. Meanwhile, I couldn’t believe my nervousness was all over a damn box of tampons.
I opened the door to my room, walked down the hall to Daddy’s office and knocked on his open door. He had two gentlemen with him. Uh oh, that was not part of my rehearsal. And now I was stuck because Daddy already saw me. He motioned for me to enter his office. He was smiling like nothing was wrong. I knew that was because he had the two gentlemen in his office. His smile was simply for show. I asked if I could please have $15.00 to buy some toiletries. As he turned his head to look at the two gentlemen, he questioned why I needed the money? Too embarrassed to say what I needed I said, ” It’s for some personal items I get at the drugstore.” Do you know I found out later Daddy thought they were for a box of condoms? What the fucking hell? Are you kidding me? He was absolutely clueless and it showed where his head was that was for sure. I just wanted a box of tampons. Even the two gentlemen had guessed what I needed. But not my ol Daddy O. Nope he was clueless and had his mind in the gutter. He refused to give me money. I remember begging him but he refused. As I walked out of his office his secretary motioned for me. I walked into his office. He whispered to me that he knew what I needed and he tried to give me some money. I wouldn’t take it because I was afraid of what Daddy might have done if he found out. So, he offered to talk to Daddy for me. I was grateful for his help. I went back to my room.
At the end of the day Daddy’s secretary knocked on my bedroom door and came in after I answered. He told me he had spoken to Daddy and I should go talk to him a little later. He said Daddy had agreed to give me the money but I’d have to at least show him the tampon box when I came back from the store. Well, I wasn’t thrilled with having to prove myself but would do almost anything at that point for a box of tampons. I really appreciated the help of Daddy’s secretary but I didn’t like having to go talk to Daddy when the secretary had left. I didn’t trust Daddy. But, I couldn’t say anything to his secretary. He had done so much for me and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful.
I couldn’t concentrate on my studies once the secretary told me to go see Daddy later. I was nervous and couldn’t believe it was all over a box of tampons. While I was going over all of the possible scenarios in my head I ended up falling asleep. Whoops, I didn’t mean to do that. When I woke up I heard Daddy on his phone in his office. When he hung up I knew it was time to go talk to him. I stood at my bedroom door holding the door knob for what seemed forever. I went over the different scenarios in my head one last time. G-d, I hated this! I didn’t want to fight with Daddy anymore.My heart was racing. I finally turned the knob and opened my door. I walked down the hallway and lightly knocked on Daddy’s already open office door. He wouldn’t answer me. I said, “Daddy, your secretary told me to come talk to you.” Without looking up from his work, he told me in a cold tone to come in and sit down. I did. I waited quietly for Daddy to finish what he was doing. I didn’t want to interrupt him as I thought it would make him angry. The next thing I knew he had thrown his reading glasses on his desk and said, “So, you going to continue to waste my time or are you going to fucking speak?” I told him I didn’t want to interrupt him and was waiting for him to finish. He told me to cut the crap and just tell him what I needed to say. I asked him if he could please give me $15.00 so I could go to the drugstore. He gave me a blank look. I reminded him about his conversation with his secretary earlier that day and explained I understood that I could come and get the $15.00. Refusing to acknowledge his conversation with his secretary, he started to raise his voice and very sternly said, ” I refuse to go through this all over again. He then went into a long speech about how he didn’t deserve the way I was treating him and taking advantage of him. I was confused. Why was he acting like he hadn’t even spoken to his secretary about this? As he kept rambling about how awful I was and how he didn’t deserve it, I asked him if he had spoken to his secretary about giving me the money? The more times I asked him, the angrier he got with out answering me. I kept thinking why this had to be a game? Why was he pretending to have not had that conversation with his secretary. I mean, come on! Daddy wasn’t fooling me. I could tell he was playing a game by the sheer fact he was refusing to answer my question. And why was he? Why was this whole thing of giving me a measly $15.00 a source of such rage? What the hell? I had thought for a moment I misunderstood Daddy’s secretary. So, I asked Daddy a more concise question. “Daddy, did you tell your secretary you’d give me the money?”
I could see Daddy steaming from anger but why was it so necessary to be so angry. I was so baffled. But then with out answering me, he grabbed his head with one hand and his chest with his other and let out a sigh. He sat there like that for eternity. I suppose that was what he learned from watching those 1930’s movies. Those movies and Daddy were quite dramatic. Daddy tried to keep himself awake but he kept falling asleep. I was afraid to wake him but this situation had already been going on for a god hour. He started to snore which thank G-d woke him up. His hands still in their dramatic locations, he asked, “Why do you insist on giving me a heart attack? You exhaust me and I can’t take it anymore,” I admit I got mad at that point. I raised my voice a little bit and asked, Daddy, did you or did you not tell your secretary you’d give me the money to buy what I needed? Why can’t you answer me? Then, I told him if he had only paid me as he promised for the jobs I had done for him, we could have evaded this argument. Well? So much for trying to avoid him for the last few weeks because the anger on Daddy’s face was telling me he was going to make up for it in this one moment. He stood up from his chair and banged his fists on his desk. He was pissed. Um, no not pissed…he was furious. Um, no he was angrier than furious if that was possible. Who was I kidding? Of course it was possible! He yelled how dare I try to corner him and attempt to call him a liar. I told him those were his words, not mine. He started screaming how selfish I was. Selfish? I was selfish? What the fuck you asshole? I dropped out of school, got several jobs so I could pay your G-d damn bills! I was furious by his accusation that I was selfish. Something clicked inside me and I stood up as tall as I could yelling, “Oh no sir! You are the selfish asshole here! I have given my life to help you. How quickly you seem to have forgotten that it was me who paid your fucking bills so you would have a home! It was me who you left alone at home while you went fucking around. And now you stand there and deny me a measly $15.00 for a G-d damn box of tampons?” Well, this was the part that probably tipped Daddy over the edge. I added by yelling, “You are nothing but a selfish fucking Bastard!” Just as a little side note. I was pointing at Daddy when I said this. Um, well? I might as well have ripped his balls off because pointing to him was just as bad. So, Daddy rushed out from behind his desk and I thought he was coming towards me to punch me. He had his arm up like he was going to, so I quickly put my arms in front of my face ready to punch back. He stopped and appeared shocked. I stood on up my toes to get closer to Daddy’s face and got as close to him. In the meanest look I could make I said, “You will not touch me anymore!” It felt good to tell him. As I was gloating on the inside for saying that to him, he shoved me into a table that was behind me. I was shock and very angry. I forcefully lunged towards him and shoved him back. While I did I yelled so loudly my voice cracked, “I am not your punching bag, Daddy!” Just as I said that, I could see fire in his eyes. It was a look I had never seen before and I was scared. That was when he put his foot behind mine and shoved me to the ground. Using his fist that had his big hunker of a college ring on it, he started punching me on the side of my head. I kept yelling for him to stop but he was so over taken by his anger, I don’t know if he could even hear me. His eyes were bulging and his face had an intensity that was frightening. Finally, I yelled, “Stop beating me!” He stopped. I stood up. I was still so shocked. As Daddy stood there just staring at me I walked out of his office and into his secretary’s office. I made a phone call. I was calling the Psychologist professor’s wife to come get me. And man did I hope she was available. It was 10:00 at night and I knew very late to call her. She answered the phone thank G-d! She could tell something was very wrong with the shakiness of my voice. As I was talking to her and the realization of what had just happened, my anger evolved into total sadness. I was upset and all I could say to her was,”I’m ready.” She told me she’d be to me in 30 minutes and we hung up. I remember thinking it was so insightful of her to have already asked for my address and directions when I went to meet her.
When I hung up the phone and turned around Daddy was standing there staring at me. He looked shocked and curious. He had believed I had not made any arrangements and couldn’t imagine who I had called. I went to my room to pack my things. Daddy followed me. I ignored him. He seemed shocked I was leaving and even sad. G-d damnit! Which was it you bastard of a father? You want me here? You want me gone? You want to love me? You want to beat me? What the fuck do you want from me? Well, Daddy O you’ll have to go fucking figuring it out on your own because I’m outta here.
I was SO hurt. I never wanted to believe my dad was abusive. I wanted him to be someone else. The realization of who my father really was was a very painful moment.
As I began packing my suitcases, I could see in the corner of my eye that Daddy was standing in my doorway. Without looking at him and while continuing to pack, I angrily and coldly asked, “What the hell do you want?” That’s when he told me if I was leaving him then that night I could only take what I could carry out in one trip. He told me the rest he would throw away. I wouldn’t react. I knew Daddy said that to hurt me. However, I could not hold back my tears. Knowing my ride was going to be there in 30 minutes I quickly packed my clothes and anything else I felt was sentimental to me. I had no choice but to leave everything else behind. I knew I had to keep moving and to not look at Daddy. I couldn’t let him suck me back into his crazy web. Once I was done, I put the the long strap of two smaller bags over my head and shoulder. Then I took the long strap from my duffle bag put it on my shoulder and then grabbed my suitcase. I had my 21years of belongings in those four bags and I was giving myself a new start. I was terrified, I was scared and I had no clue what the hell I was going to do to make it through college and pay my bills. But, I did know I had a place to go for the time being and that brought me a sense of relief. I finally was able to physically leave my abusive father and have a new start.
As I walked passed Daddy and down his long hallway, I refused to look back. I left my keys on his secretaries table and went down the very, narrow steps for the last time. The psychologist’s wife was waiting in the parking lot. She helped me with my things. As we were driving away I saw Daddy looking out his secretary’s window. The life as I knew it was over. I cried.