Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from my manuscript detailing my own abuse. Please see “My Story of Abuse” under the category link.
It was one of those really hot, humid, hazy days where even the animals were trying to find a cool place to lay and escape the heat. There was no breeze at all and it didn’t feel like you could take in enough air to breathe. Prince was standing under a shade tree with his head hanging down, swatting flies with his tail, and all the dogs had found a dirt-hole to lay down in. Darcie had been invited to go swimming with her best friend, Carol and some other girls. Carol was tall, with dark hair and sort of a funny shaped. Her older sister, Margaret was a good friend of Crystal’s—she had really bright red hair and was a real klutz. They lived a couple of miles up the road from us. I think Mom made Darcie take me with her, but I was grateful because I wanted to do something. Swimming sounded like a great idea to me!
As we began walking up the partially paved road, Darcie seemed excited to be going to her friend’s house. She wasn’t all that thrilled that I was tagging along; she didn’t like me so much. I wasn’t sure why, but she didn’t. Sometimes she’d hit me and just be mean to me and Crystal would make her quit. She was four years older than me and I can remember Mom telling how she tried to pull me off the couch the day I came home from the hospital. Mom saved me that day. But, I wasn’t one to hold grudges and I was very happy to be going with her.
Boy, it was really hot when we finally arrived at Carol’s. I really was thirsty and wanted a drink, but everyone was already swimming. I’d just have to get a drink out of the creek while I was swimming. Of course, I never let anyone see me doing it—I’d be in trouble. It was okay if you swallowed it by accident—so; I couldn’t see why it wasn’t okay to drink it on purpose. The creek wasn’t too far from the road. There was a cornfield between the road and the creek where Carol lived. Their house sat on the other side of the creek, so they had one of those neat swinging bridges to walk across to get to their house. We had gotten into trouble over one of those bridges. A bunch of us went to the middle of one of them and starting the bridge swinging—it was fun! Then, the owner starting screaming at us and called all of our parents and we were all in trouble over it.
We weren’t too far from the creek when Darcie yelled at Carol—“hey, you already swimming?” Carol yelled back and motioned for us to come over and jump in. I took off running and jumped it—ah, it felt so good! Darcie and I didn’t know any of the other girls that Carol had invited. I think that maybe they were friends who lived in town, or relatives. We had a good time swimming with everyone and it was getting late in the afternoon. Darcie seemed awful quiet for some reason. Carol had been talking about it getting late, and that she was really getting hungry. Nothing made me hungrier than swimming. Carol’s said earlier her Mom was making ham salad sandwiches, potato chips and Pepsi for us! And, she was having cake and ice cream for dessert! I was really excited and really hungry.
As everyone was getting out of the water and gathering up their towels, Carol was telling Darcie good-bye. I was a little confused—thinking we were going to eat with the other girls too. Darcie looked at me and said, “come on Dottie, we gotta’ get home now—Mom will be wondering where we are.” As we started down the road, Darcie was walking really fast and I was trying my best to keep up with her, but I didn’t have any shoes on. It usually didn’t hurt to walk on the road with no shoes, but the state road had dropped really big gravel that hurt bad when you stepped on one the wrong way. They sort of looked like chunks of cement with tiny holes all over them. The black pavement was sort of tarry because it was so hot and it burnt your feet to step on it. I was trying hard not to get tar on my feet—Mom would kill me if I came in with tar on me. I said, “Geez Darcie, can you slow down a little bit, the rocks are hurting my feet?” She didn’t answer me. I finally caught up to her and looked up at her and she snapped at me and said, “Why didn’t you wear your shoes stupid?” She was clearly mad, and I figured at me because I wasn’t walking fast enough. I said, “What’s wrong Darcie, I’m walking as fast as I can.” Her words were stinging to my ears and brought tears to my eyes. She said, “That dirty bitch—can you believe that she snubbed us that way? She didn’t want us to go eat sandwiches and have pop and ice cream with them—I guess we’re not good enough. And, I’m so hungry.” Then in a really smart-aleck voice she continued, “Those bitches are going to go eat ham sandwiches and potato chips and Pepsi and we don’t even have a damn slice of bread in our house.” I wished we hadn’t come at all. I’ll never come up here again. I should go back and knock the shit outta’ her. And, she’s supposed to be my best friend. Some friend she is!” And then, she started crying! Darcie never cried. Even when she was in big trouble with Dad—she’d stand and yell back at him. Crystal and I thought for sure he’d kill her.
But, right now I felt so sorry for Darcie. She was so pathetic and I wanted so bad to make it better for her, but didn’t know how. I said, “Maybe Crystal will play a game with us, or something when we get home. And, I’ll do your part of the house work tonight—okay?” I tried to sound excited—but she just simply replied, “Yeh, okay.” Darcie spent the rest of the day locked away in her room.