Automatic Memory

I remember being in a back house, or perhaps it was a backroom at my then babysitter’s house. 

(It was 1985 and a civil war was palpitating outside my door. Aptly named, “the silent war,” which I wrote about here.)

It was hot. 

It was always hot.

Had he picked me up from school?

I wasn’t sure.

He must have.

His wife was in the kitchen, killing a chicken. I could hear its screams. They resembled the screams in my head. He was teaching me how to kiss. He told me it would feel good. I stayed quiet. He promised my parents knew. He promised that they were ok with this. 

I could still hear the dying squeals of the chicken that was soon to be our dinner. I felt like a ripe grape. Easily squeezed. Juices everywhere. I wanted to be a dessert. To be eaten, and forgotten. 

He stuck his tongue in like he was trying to feel the lining of my guts. 

I whimpered.

I cried.

He wiped away my tears and told me to undress and follow him to the shower.

I did.

What else was I supposed to do? My parents knew, I told myself.

They said its was ok.

They were far away in some other town.

Night was far away.

I don’t remember undressing, I just remember being in the shower. Still crying. Tears blanketed by cold water.

His cock was in front of me. I was the perfect height for it. He was tall and lanky.

Sickly.

Chicken feathers swayed in the hot air. Remnants of that poor chicken. The tile, worn and slippery beneath my feet. 

I opened my mouth and he slipped himself inside it. 

It hurt.

My mouth was too small. 

But he forced it in and I kept crying.

He moaned and then I black out.

The next memory is us on the bed.

The bed he shared with his wife.

Still wet from the shower, my hair dampening the bed.

I could smell the chicken soup simmering. 

It smelled delicious and brought a comforting feeling. 

The smells of a kitchen always soothe me.

The promise of bubbling nourishment sounded good. 

His hands on my wetness. 

It feels good.

I moan.

He smiles. 

I cry again.

How are my parents ok with this,” I think inside my small brain.

“How?”

A song plays in my head.

A song that makes me cry. 

I can’t stop crying.

I can barely see through my eye slits.

I fall asleep.

He leaves me there.

Naked and wet.

I wake up.

I eat.

He smiles at me.

A reminder of everything.

I force out a smile and thank them for the food.

There’s a knock at the door.

My parents.

“Did she behave?” they ask.

“She’s a good girl.” he says, patting me on the head.

I’m exhausted.

A migraine is surfacing.

I need my Mormon missionaries to make me pure again.

To anoint me with their oils.

Mark 6:13

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Come to me.

Come to me…

I write these memories in a child’s voice because that’s the only way I can express it. 

The memories are young, infantile. 

Dry. 

I reference Mormonism at the end, like a salve. Which clearly indicates the amount of brainwashing that had already taken place. 

Send the young virgins to war-stricken countries. Have them learn the language, and swoon the inhabitants with their gold hair and fast tongues. 

Make them believe that God, that Jesus is the answer. The only answer.

That things aren’t as bad as they feel.

That this life is just a practice run.

Eternal life awaits.

My father was an alcoholic and dying by the time the Mormons found us. 

He is forever grateful. 

He is forever in debt.

Other children in church were being sexually assaulted.

I knew because we touched each other knowingly.

We were play-acting.

Reminiscing.

Church was an escape.

Church was theatre.

Church was a means to forget.

Church was a pastime.

Just pay your tithing.

Be a full-tithe paying member and enter the Temple.

The Holiest of Holy places.

Everyone needs some reassurance that they’ll live forever.

Everyone.

Especially the ignorant.

The broken.

The poor.

The sick.

The abused.

The lonely.

I played games with God.

He retaliated by playing games back.

We played hide and seek.

I never found him.

I never let the church imbibe.

I left as soon as I was able.

Fetishized those innocent missionaries, since they were my saviors.

My balm.

My Angels.

A reminder of the innocence I never got.

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