Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No Privacy

I was an only child.  (In a manner of speaking)  I grew up in a lonely world of extreme poverty, with parents who bickered constantly and screamed at each other frequently.  My nerves were frayed and tattered from infancy due to the stress of my parents’ relationship.  I longed for escape and loved going to other people’s houses to visit, without my parents, where things seemed more normal.

When I was four, we moved into a house that my father was just beginning to build from scratch.  It was in a rural area far from anyone we knew.  In the beginning it was just two rooms and had no running water or bathroom facilities.  Privacy for bodily functions or bathing was not possible.  After a time it became four rooms but it was six years before we had a functional bathroom.

My mother would go grocery shopping on Saturday mornings sometimes and leave me home to sleep in. Sometimes when I would wake up and go to the door of my room, I could see across the way into my parents bedroom.  My dad would be unclothed and touching himself with the door open so I would be sure to see.

These things had been going on for as long as I could remember and in the beginning I was too young to have a vocabulary capable of explaining what was happening.  I was confused and not sure what it all was about.  There was only a vague sense of something not being right and some underlying guilt that maybe I was doing something wrong, but I didn't know what.