"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why Doesn't She Just Leave?, Part Two; or, Multiple Views of the Same Problem





I didn't make it in time to intercept my son.
I needed to go back to the game of cat-and-mouse-sky-isn't-blue. Being the mouse, I was already at a disadvantage: being beaten black-and-blue (when I see someone bruised, even today, I can guage the timeline of their injury by the color of the bruising: it takes a decided sequence of color progression---greenish-yellow means you're almost home free), I was even more so. Unable to lift my arms even a little, unable to perform even the simplest of tasks (no cracked skull or socket, but the ribs: well, they weren't as lucky), in order to stay close to my son, to stay ready for the time we could literally escape, I had to return in the care of X.
And so it was X who would brush my hair; it was X who would feed me and the baby. It was X who dressed and undressed me; who laid me down, but not to sleep.
Why doesn't she leave?
Because sometimes she understands that she must maintain frozen: fixed in position, down in the trenches. It's a war of attrition.
And so they wait: holding patterns.
Children are worth the wait.
She knows this is the only thought that makes sense; and to have a thought that makes sense seems a secret luxury.
He knows this; he knows she is thinking this.
She knows she may only get one chance.
As does he.

11 comments:

bee said...

hope he's in jail. else he's surely doing this to someone else. people like these need to be put away.

hugs to you, my friend.

neroli said...

Dear Bee, as always, I am grateful for and blessed by your kindness, my friend. Thank you.

I'm not certain where he is.
The legal proceedings that did eventually come due to a different incident yielded a conviction that resulted in probation---no jail time.

Diane O'Connor said...

Wow... I'm speechless. It's amazing that having gone through this horrible time hasn't shattered your sweet soul.

I have lots of neckties said...

Right now I disagree even more with your assertion that words are not a strong suit of yours. These photos, as bad as they are, pale in comparison to your narrative. The picture you've painted with your words is devastatingly powerful and terrifying, which I'm sure is precisely what it was like to live through.

neroli said...

Dear Diane, I am grateful for the sweetness that you bring to the world. Thank you.

Dear Neckties, as I hold your assessment and opinions in high esteem, I feel most grateful for your words. Thank you, dear friend.
It's a hard thing to describe, this.
I'm trying because I think it's important to think about why violence can continue, day-in, day out...

captain corky said...

I told my wife about you tonight. I'm so sorry you went through all of this. And you happen to be one of the smartest and most caring bloggers I read.

neroli said...

Thanks, Captain---I know Allyson only from your posts: but I like her a lot. She's got a great laugh. It made me laugh too, when I heard her on one of your videos.
And as for your kind words?
Well, as my brother and I used to say when we were kids: it takes one to know one.
(or, if you prefer, like Pee-Wee and Francis: I know you are, but what am I?!?)
*grinning*

min said...

I'm gled you're still living...despite the fact that you now have to live with the memory of it.

neroli said...

Dear Min, thank you---and I'm glad that I've gotten to the point where I can be comfortable communicating with others. If not for this blogging business, I'd not have had the chance to meet and learn from good people like yourself.

As for living with the memories, I'm learning how to use them for good. More on that in a later post!

Pelicano said...

You seem so different from this person now. Shocking, yes indeed. The lapse in time makes it easier for me to digest these images, yet I know myself how clear these memories can be recalled. "I fell down..." is what I used to say. It's really only been these last few years that I've talked about my own beatings. Just sharing these things with other people is so strengthening; it takes away some of the power it once had. I have much admiration for you Neroli!

neroli said...

Pel, dear, you must know my affection and admiration for you is great.
You must also know how very much I appreciate your presence here, digging in this dirt.

You want to make mudpies? Oh, sorry---mud laddoos (muddoos :-)?!?
We can celebrate your birthday all over!
*smiling*