A Broken Vase

I have two younger brothers. B is five years younger and C is 10 years younger. In some ways, I was more of a parent than my mother was, especially to C. I always tried to protect them from her wrath.

Case and point… She had a favorite vase that sat on a one of those lamps that have a table attached. The vase was given to her by her grandmother when she was a little girl. It was a robins egg blue glass bud vase. I remember so clearly that she had a single white rose in it.

So, I was 11 at the time. I was baby sitting both B and C on a Friday night while my parents went out on a date. C was still learning how to walk. He was toddling around the living room and walked right into the lamp/table. The vase went crashing down onto the wood floor and broke into a million pieces.

C started crying. I guess the noise scared him. He really didn’t know what would happen if she found out what he had done. Not that it was his fault or anything. I should have been keeping a better eye on him and not have let him get so close to the table.

I got everything cleaned up and the boys put to bed. Then I sat there in the living room reading a book. I knew better than to go to bed. I knew there would need to be an explanation given when she got home.

She must have have had a sixth sense or something. She walked right to that table as she came in the house. She went absolutely nuts when she saw the vase was missing. She started screaming. I begged her to not yell because my brothers were sleeping. I didn’t want them to wake up and see her like that.

She wanted to know what had happened. I told her I was cleaning up and I tripped. She she kept right on screaming at me. Telling me what a stupid idiot I was. And how clumsy I was. And how she had wasted all that money on 7 years of tap and ballet lesson. And how I was good for nothing.

She went to the kitchen and grabbed the wooden spoon. She marched me into my bedroom and tipped me naked. She made me get on the bad and lay on my stomach. She started beating me with the spoon. When she tired of that, she turned the spoon around and hit me with the handle.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t flinch. That would only have angered her more. I just lay there and took my punishment. And then she left. And it was all finished for another night.

It’s taken me the better part of a day to finish this. I managed to lose myself in the memory for the better part of an hour. Or at least I think it was. I could have been longer than. It’s pretty rare that I dissociate so badly. But today was rough.

I’m having a hard time sorting out what I’m feeling, emotionally. I was really feeling the physical pain earlier today. That’s not so bad right now. I think about what I would feel if I saw someone unrelated to me doing that to one of my students. And I come up with angry and sad. But I don’t think I feel that about myself. I’m not sure if I’m even feeling anything.

I’m really tired now. I have a hunch I’ll be going to bed early.

8 thoughts on “A Broken Vase

  1. borderlinecrazy says:

    That happens to me: I have a memory but it’s like it happened to someone else (at the same time I can smell/hear/feel events from it, so I guess that’s weird), so I hardly ever get mad about it. If, however, I hear about something like that happening to someone else, I feel sick and enraged. Whazzup with that? Anyway…your memory resonates. I sooooo know that “waiting for the storm” feeling. Yuck.

  2. There’s something especially costly about unacknowledged sacrifice for someone else. You took the fall for your brother, to protect him, and he never knew so of course he couldn’t thank you for it. No one knew, so no one could praise you for what you did. You couldn’t speak up for yourself. You suffered for doing good.

    Now perhaps you can rest in that a little — comfort yourself for the suffering, recover a bit from the sacrifice.

  3. borderlinecrazy… I do sometimes get the feeling like it’s happening to me but it’s someone else. But today was plain old dissociation. I was so out of it I have no idea what was going on. It’s so frustrating when that happens.

    Marcy… I never really considered it a sacrifice. I just wanted to protect them. All this sort of makes sense in the context of me preferring to hurt myself than see someone else hurt. Ugh. I’m really tired. I’m still quite anxious and considering taking an Ativan.


  4. kprsjohn says:

    memories like those are very draining, which is probably why you are tired now. To say what you did was admirable would be a gross understatement, we hope the brother appreciated in some manner what you did for him.

    peace and blessings


  5. I force myself to remain cognizant through all my “negatives”. I guess that reinforces the survivor quality I’ve desperately tried to make a daily routine.

    I’m in the process of learning that my past won’t go away as long as I keep rehashing it. I have to play Dr. Phil with myself and ask other than the psychic scars, that are permanent , why do I keep bringing all of these steamer trunks along with me every where I go…new towns, new jobs and sadly, new relationships. I’d pay an emotional Bell Boy big bucks if he could just come get these bags and find a nice overhead bin in the the depths of hell where they belong.

    I’m a work in progress–like everyone else.

    You’re blog is good. It serves a purpose. There are a lot of people out there who are walking wounded and need to know they don’t bleed alone.

    Thank you.
    Laurie Kendrick

  6. searching4me says:

    My dad had a “special” belt. It hung on the hook next to the bathroom door. He used it often. I can still feel it. I can still smell the leather. I still remember the anger in his eyes.

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I know the pain. I just wanted to offer you a gentle hug…and know that I think of you.

  7. I too agree that your blog serves a purpose. I can’t remember anything from my childhood due to trauma. It’s just *gone*…

    My older sister helps me fill in the gaps a bit with her memories but mine? Nope… Sometimes I might get this teeny flash of something but that’s about it.

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