as soon as I sat down in my chair on the
patio it started to rain again
I had to wear a light vest and as I lit a late
afternoon cigar I listened to
what seemed to be a host of kettle drums
sitting on the metal roof that would fade
in and out
then it slowed down to the sound of big
drops running off the roof to the worn
grass below that looked like a giant sheet
on a player piano rolling down
now that reminded me of the Steinway
that sat in our living room and
my piano teacher who quit
sometimes kids can’t be forced to be who
their parents wanted to be or want them to be
this can set the stage for a life of failure upon
failure upon failure
to this day I can sing some say as sweetly as
Nancy Wilson but I can’t play a thing
or read music yet there has been a choir or
two here and there
and that nervous but fine solo on Danny Boy
but my folks spent a lifetime discouraging me
from doing anything that I wanted to do
so acting and singing among other things
simply faded away like most of my dreams
much like the rain falling off the roof to
At some point I stopped
listening to music. For me it was someone else’s joy.
Someone else’s story.
Not mine. Abuse of any kind stops the music
of your life.
My LP records sit on a
shelf. I thumb through them from time to time.
I can’t play my music
CDs either. I don’t want to revisit a life of abuse.
Songs stir memories
I rather not have. But I long for the sweet and
joyful interlude that
was written only for me.
[Author’s note: FYI, there is an exception. I have a group of CDs known as my car music, e.g., The Manhattans, Huey Lewis, The Commodores, to name a few, that I listen to on and off. But they stay in the car.]
In my mind, that place where fantasy
and I meet, I watched wave after wave crash on the shore. I saw heartache
after heartache wash away the lines
in the sand. You can’t cross a line if it isn’t there, can you?
I looked up at the dunes. I saw a big
woman waving to me. “Come on!” she waved with one hand while the other
kept a large floppy sun hat on her
head. On the beach the sand was hot in the midday sun and the water was
cold but there was always wind on
the dunes. Her light sundress blew against her side and back.
I started to walk up the steep path
from the beach to the dunes. I lost sight of her where the path zigzagged
as I neared the place where she stood.
When I got to the top, it became clear that the woman was me.
As I laughed and sighed, I looked at
the beach. I saw a little boy playing alone in the sand. He looked up.
There was something about him that
said he always plays alone. As I waved, “Come on!” I knew that the
skinny tanned little boy was me.
It was early in the afternoon.
We closed the bedroom door and did what we said we’d do.
My wife asked me to tell her
about what happened to me when I was a child.
I have seldom spoken about
the unspeakable, undoable, unthinkable, unbelievable.
All true. We walked through
the secret places of my childhood sexual abuse.
When I was eight years old,
I lost a lifetime but I didn’t learn about it until I was fifty.
You listened and loved me with
each word I spoke. You love me for all that we will share and do.
What I know, all that I hoped for,
longed to do, and deeply desired would never be the same as we
take a new road together that
rose out of the fire and ashes of the unspeakable.
there is life on both
sides of the window is another lie
the little boy didn’t
believe it because no one saw what he
saw through the window
he saw fear and pain
on both sides of the window
no one could hear
him or see him on his side of the window
I can’t be having the thoughts I’m having.
The thoughts of past abuse never go completely away. I understand that.
Those thoughts spawn other thoughts.
And before I know it, I’m back in a place I don’t want to be.
Pain and pleasure converge once again
and I’m in touch with the confusion of the eight-year-old that was me.
It is Satan’s fuel fanning the fires of past
abuse freezing my thoughts for today. Fiery arrows aimed at the heart to destroy
whatever is true. The breath of an angel is
all it takes to quench this Hell fire and bring me back into God’s grace and truth.
Light and darkness can never occupy the
same space. All it takes is a candle of faith to dispel the darkness.