From the fat to the fire?

The warm bath water felt so good to my tired body. Over the past three days, I had flown 10,000 miles, mostly in a middle seat, with a brief stop in London to say hello and goodbye to my long lost brother.

Our get-together had not gone very well as I became ill in the middle of it, a combination of jet-lag and fatigue, but mostly because I was suffering from the after effects of a brush with anorexia. Not that anyone realized it.

Thinking back, I realize I must have been a pretty tough teenager.

The unfortunate thing about being tough is that everyone assumes you will remain that way. When my mother paid a short visit on her way to England from their latest enterprise in Barbados, she wrote to my dad that “Carolyn gets teased a lot, but she gives as good as she gets”.

Didn’t that make me laugh, when I found out years later!

Of course, I couldn’t tell her that my uncle was a mentally disturbed alcoholic. After all, my parents knew him and had sent me to live with him.

Bearing in mind previous “complaints”, I realized nothing good would happen if I complained about my new “situation”. My aunt, who I quickly fell in love with, would have been heart broken. My parents perplexed. (God forbid). My uncle would have denied it or twisted the truth. It would have been a huge mess and it would have been all my fault.

Mostly, I didn’t want my aunt to be hurt, but really, I knew there was a very good chance no-one would believe me. Most likely I would have been painted as a little “Lolita” and once the accusation has been made… You can’t un-ring a bell. I had been falsely accused in Vietnam of something insignificant and I would never forget how that felt. There was no way I was going to risk such a serious counter-accusation. Besides, where else was I going to live?

But that was all to come.

I sat there in the bath feeling such relief that I was at the end of my journey. I had a permanent home. I knew there would be many adjustments ahead, but I was used to having my lift inverted, so I could deal with all that. Then I heard scratching at the door and my uncle’s voice: “can I wash your back?”

I froze. He was kidding, of course. “No thank you!” I replied cheerfully. For the next couple of days he sulked.

So then I had to work out what he was sulking about. As it turned out, he sulked a lot. If he took something you said the wrong way, if you looked at him the wrong way, if you got home late (more than 10 minutes), if I stayed too long in my room…the list was endless. Living in that house was like treading on egg-shells.

And he had not been kidding.

10 thoughts on “From the fat to the fire?

  1. When I was sixteen family friends were having dinner at our house. This man worked part-time for my dad and I had known him all my life. For some insane reason he pulled me into his lap while we were sitting at the dining room table. His erection poked at me. I squirmed to get away but he had me in a vice grip in front of my parents, his daughter and his wife (who was furious). Low. Impulse. Control. Gesu!

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  2. Why do they think it’s alright to do these things? What did your parents do? Did they even realize just how inappropriate it got? No one wants to make a fuss in front of a wife and daughter. I suppose that is what he assumed. Ah. It makes me sick!

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    1. I had been affectionate with him since I was a very young child. Not inappropriately just sweet. This came as a total surprise. I hated his wife and although his attention made me uncomfortable, I was happy to be making her mad! My parents didn’t think anything of it.

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    1. He never did anything like that again. Not so much as an inappropriate look. I don’t know what I would have done if he had. My mother was a first class bitch. I never told her anything. She had no inner resources to deal with anything. And she hated me. He worked for my dad so forget telling daddy. I was very lucky, just a brush with danger.

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    1. Thank you Carolyn. I’ve made peace with Gloria. My life was so much easier than yours in many ways. I cannot imagine how it would have been to fend for myself at eleven. And in places where you couldn’t speak the language!

      Do you listen to podcasts? This one made my hair stand on end. Eight episodes, Root of Evil. I realize how very lucky I was to have been born into my family.

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  3. I would agree that you were a pretty tough teenager and not only that, it seems you were a pretty tough child as far back as you have recounted to your followers. At this point, you have 13 more years of more dysfunctional family living. Oh, my!

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  4. I wouldn’t want to go through it again, but I have had so much more than a lot of people and I have never gone hungry or without shelter, never really been threatened by war and certainly never tortured the way so many refugees have been. How could one possibly complain?!

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