August is a weird month…the economy slumps…(according to models it is the worst issue of a magazine to be on the cover…lol)…it is the transition month from summer to realizing the fall will start soon…school, weather changes…and it is the month when my mother tried to kill me. It was a few weeks before Labor Day and before I was going to start my first year at university.
I was sixteen then. Sitting here now at 34…I still remember that hot, beautiful August night…it was a perfect summer day with a more perfect evening. I was hanging out at the outdoor mall with my high school friends. It was that summer…the cliche one in many American movies…the summer with your high school friends before you go your separate ways into the future.
I remember some details so clearly from that night…and some are so fuzzy…I remember the bench we sat on and talking with a nice summer drink in our hands. I remember us talking about how great the evening air felt. Defining it as perfection. We never spoke about the upcoming event…moving on…it was such a still night…it seemed that if we did we would ruin it if we jinxed ourselves.
I remember coming home starving…and encountered my mother sitting at the breakfast table starting to harp on me about what I was doing out so late…I looked at her and said ‘It is only 9 o’clock’…that’s not late. Her remark back was something like…you have nothing to do all day…and you decide to go out at night. I ignored her comment. They were all the same. My ignoring her made it worse…I wanted to leave the room but I was hungry. And as usual she wasn’t going to let me have any left over dinner. So I went to the fridge and got some bread out to make some toast. I was standing at the toaster waiting for it…(secretly hoping it would be the fastest toast ever)…I remember my Dad coming up from the basement where the TV is and going to the sink to put dishes away.
The toast popped up. I grabbed it and started to butter it. My mother got louder and said to me ‘You just want to be and act like all those Western girls.’ I was upset. I answered back this time. ‘Because I want to hang out with my friends that makes me Western?’. She responded more enraged, ‘Where I am from (India) we didn’t go out so late at night with our friends!’. I was furious…I answered back nastily, ‘Then why don’t you just go back to where you came from!’. I saw the look. The look like I am going to beat the hell out of you.
I ran out of the kitchen and headed straight for the stairs hearing her footsteps behind me. Most of the time I was able to make it…I would be able to close my bedroom door and lock it. This time I was not fast enough. She grabbed my neck and I fell back on the bed. Her hands around my neck squeezing. The details are so fuzzy…I remember being in shock…usually I got hit or things thrown at me…but this time she was really trying to kill me. My Dad who saw the events in the kitchen followed us up to the room and stopped her.
She walked out of the room saying to my Dad…I want nothing more to do with her. She didn’t speak to me for weeks…not until the day I moved to university.
Now at 34…my thoughts about that night have been filtered down to a few things…physical abuse does not exist without the emotional abuse – my bruises healed because they became part of my emotional scarring; if you are lucky to survive it – it may trigger your escape…or it may not…you could end up dead; every time I move and am apartment hunting I notice if the bedroom door has a lock or not.