It is not just bruises that child abuse leaves behind, bruises are the things that heal the fastest.
He is there, when I turn off the light, when I close my eyes. When I lay down after a normal day. He is upstairs when my foot touches the bottom step and I stare, daring myself to go up. He is behind me. He is waiting. He is the shadow I cannot run from.
Every night he haunts my sleep. Yet he is no longer real. He is not physical, not just those years as a child he stole, but all the ones that followed.
In the darkness I lay down. I close my eyes and sigh and let the day go like everyone else. Seconds later my eyes open, I stare into the dark. I try and make the shadows nothing. I know he is not real any more, but I am waiting. I do not move. Do not blink. My breath is caught. I am 35, not 5 he cannot beat me anymore, but he does.
I am afraid to sleep. What if tonight he becomes real once more?
I see his face. Like a flash before my eyes. He is grinning. Smiling, yet I still don’t know his name.
Just the shadow of a bad man from long ago.
Read Dear Teddy.