Father, Daughter, Son
Secrets have a way of tearing families in two.
MARK - BEFORE
You shake your leg up. Down. Up. Down. Up and down and up and down. It’s a constant motion. It’s what keeps you alert. You never know what’s coming. But the movement keeps your mind awake from falling asleep.
Your tired eyes feel like closing. They always do. You wonder when they will close for the last time. Today? Tomorrow? Thirty years? You don’t know. And you never will.
But maybe it will be tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow you will finally give up and find the will to release. Maybe tomorrow you will stand on the edge of a bridge and drop. Maybe you will take the whole bottle of Dad’s pain pills and hope they work. Or maybe they’ll find you floating face down in a lake.
You need to work hard to keep these thoughts from becoming actions. The only thing that really keeps you here is Jade. But he will ruin her eventually. You know it will happen, and you know there’s nothing you can do. There is no stopping it. She’s still young in your eyes, but not in your fathers. To her, she is a woman and she is his toy.
You would strangle him with your bare hands if you could. But it will only make it worse. You would get just sent to jail and Jade would end up in the foster system. You won’t do that to her.
He won’t do it yet. He’s done it to other women who are twenty at the youngest. He won’t do it to her. And she’ll be out of here by the time she's eighteen.
This will all work out. You just have to take a few more beatings.
JADE'S DIARY - AFTER
God I’ll never forget the first time. Or the next twelve times. I’ll never forget the feeling of him inside of me. Or the noises he made, noises of pleasure. Or his words. The one he breathed into my ear as reassurance.
“Don’t worry, Mark will never find out”
“We’ll go nice and slow.”
“Doesn’t this make you feel like a woman?”
No. It made me feel disgusting. Worthless. Dirty. It made me feel like I was the one who had made this choice.
What was it Dad? Was it something I did? Something I said? Was it the way I dressed? What made you think, or feel, that that was what you needed to do?
The first time I was surprised. The next times I knew, but I still couldn’t run. Because I knew you’d always catch up.
We were home alone, just me and you. Mark was working late. I had just finished showering, and I was in my room changing. I had put on my bra when you opened the door. It had a lock, but that day I hadn’t turned. Maybe if I had you wouldn’t have come in. Maybe none of this would have happened.
But it did. You came in. I gasped and tried to cover myself. Your hand reached for the door behind your back, and I could hear the click of the lock. It’s crazy how I knew in that moment that you weren’t just peeking in to say hi.
You walked over to me and I backed up, because I was still hoping you would just leave.
But you didn’t you came closer until you were right in front of me. You put one hand on my hips, and that’s when my breaths started coming faster. My pulse quickened. Yet I couldn’t move. I couldn’t react.
Then your other hand found its way up to my bra strap. You lifted it up, letting your finger brush along my skin.
Your hand trailed down until it was at my breast. Then you touched it. And that sent something through me. Something that made me move and hit you across the face as hard as I could.
But you dodged easily. You licked your lips and pushed me onto the bed, and then you were on top of me. Before I knew it, your pants were down and you were ready to go.
“Please! Dad what are you doing?” I was crying now, because I knew exactly what was going to happen.
But you put the condom on anyways. And then your hands were everywhere. Touching me here and touching me there. I thought maybe you would leave it at that: touching, when your hands stopped at my underwear.
“Dad!” It was a strangled cry.
Your breath was hot against my stomach as you pulled them off. “Shh baby. Nice and slow, I promise. I’m not going to hurt you.”
But you did. It wasn’t “nice and slow.” It was hard and fast. You had my arms pinned above my head with one hand and braced yourself with the other. And you thrust into me so many times I felt pain everywhere. I gasped and you grunted, almost as if me reeling in pain turned you on more. I could feel you sliding into me, invading everything, all while still mumbling how it was going to be okay.
I tried to make myself go numb that first time. But I couldn’t. I tried to make myself go deaf to the sounds that escaped my mouth and yours. But I couldn’t. I tried to close my eyes so that I didn’t have to see your face, hungry for more.
After a while, I felt like a toy. Like your sex doll. I felt like I was watching from somewhere else, above maybe. Because I could see this poor girls eyes. Empty. And a man on top of her, unaware of the pain she feels. Or maybe he is aware. Maybe that makes him keep going.
I don’t know how much time passed the first time. I don’t know how long it went on. But eventually you pulled yourself out and slid your clothes back on. You pulled on your shirt and pants like it was nothing. Like nothing has happened. Like it hadn’t just changed my life.
I laid there, catatonic, as you brushed back my hair and whispered in my ear, “I’ll be back tomorrow. Then we can have more fun.”
You opened the door and walked out. And I stayed on my bed naked. Eventually I walked out and showered again. I scrubbed hard, crying because of the pain and because of you. I scrubbed until my skin was red and raw. But nothing took you away. You were still there, lingering under the surface.
In the mirror I saw the marks on my hands and shoulders from where you held me. I would eventually learn to wear long sleeves to cover the marks.
Most times you would say things like “it’ll be okay.” Not that it ever was.
But sometimes you would be angry. And then you would push me up against the wall. Or maybe get me while I was watching TV. You would call me a whore and a little slut. You would yell things like “you like that, don’t you? Huh?”
And those times when you were done, you’d kiss me roughly and say, “You’re mine. I own you and your body. And that’s why your brother can never find out.”
The sad thing was that I believed it after I while. I didn’t even try to stop you. I thought you owned me. I thought you decided what I did. So I didn’t tell Mark. I didn’t tell anyone.
I can still see you in the recess of my mind. The hungry look on your face. It will never go away. It's seared into my memory. I couldn't tell Mark even if I wanted to.
MARK - AFTER
I rub my jaw back and forth as I walk into the house. It's still sore from two days ago. I'm scared I fractured it or something.
I'm home early today. I normally help to stock the shelves, but today they didn't need as many people at the store. Better for me. More time at home to make sure Father stays far, far away from Jade.
I walk down the hallway to my room. But. Wait.
There's noises coming from Jade's bedroom. No. No. No! I tell myself it's nothing. Maybe father just decided to bring one of his women inside Jade's room instead of a hotel room or his room.
I always wish I could help those women. Most of the times they want it, but other times they don't. But I'm already beat enough without interrupting his "fun." God. He's a monster.
So I shake the thought of it being Jade in there away. It isn't. It can't be.
A few minutes later I hear Jade's bedroom door open.I have to see...
I have to make sure it's not her.
As I exit the hallway, I see Father walking out of the room. He turns at the sound of my footsteps and his mouth curls into a nasty smirk.
"You want some time too?" I recognize this. His words are slurred and his eyes unfocused. He's drunk.
I scoff and take a step forward. "I'd never."
"And I thought your sister would never be such a little whore, but here we are."
His words make my breathing harden as I move forward again. "What the hell does that mean?"
He laughs in my face, and lazily points at Jade's half open bedroom door.
And that's when I notice Jade curled into a little ball, with only undergarments it.
No. That bastard touched her! He touched my little sister.
I'm pure rage. Before I can even realize, I've thrown my father up against the wall.
I hit him over and over, but it doesn't take long before he starts to hit back. He hits hard, and I know I w"ill be battered and bruised tomorrow. But right now I feel no pain. Just anger.
Anger for what he has done.
Anger at myself for not being able to stop him.
Anger at Jade for not telling me.
And so I keep hitting, until my fists are cracked open and bleeding. Until blood runs down my nose.
Until Father is as close to dead as it gets.