My first day off was full of work trying to catch up with chores. And of course the conversation with my brother. I decided on my second day off I would laze around. I did have a lunch date with an elderly man who I met a several years ago through one of my work places. I don’t mind visiting with this dude, he is really nice and he has many fascinating stories to tell.
I walked into the restaurant and looked around for the dude. My eyes found him but they also found someone else. Someone from my past. Sitting with the dude. I stood there for a moment, took a breath and walked to the table.
When I was a young teen we lived in a very small, out-of-the-way community. There were about eight or ten families living in this area. A lot of bad things happened here, not just to me and my sibs but just about to everyone else – children that is (not knowing how it was for the adults). We were all in abusive situations. And this community was quite involved in our abuse and I’m sure the other children. I don’t think any of the abuse was planned. We just happened to live in a sick community. And, of course we weren’t kept safe.
This guy who was sitting with the dude was part of this community. He was just a child as was I at the time and our families were good friends. I won’t get into details of what happened in this community because it would turn into a novel. I will just say there was every type of abuse.
I sat down and wouldn’t you know it a second day conversation of what I experienced as a child. We started off conversation talking about my mom and what was going on and then we started talking about my brother. We talked about how he is a private person and likes his alone time. We sort of talked about why this was which led to conversation about what we experienced in this community.
“It was bad” “real bad” he said. “Yes it was” I replied, taken aback that the conversation turned to this. He talked about how well both we and our sibs turned out in spite of how it was for us. “Yes I guess you’re right” I replied. “Yup, we survived that mess” “we’re survivors!”, he said with enthusiasm. “We are survivors” I replied I’m sure with a little less enthusiasm.
He left shortly after this to leave me, the dude and another friend to our lunch. I must confess though, my mind was mostly on the conversation I just had. I was like ‘did this really happen’? And how random was that?
They weren’t too many details in the conversation involved buts that’s fine by me. I couldn’t handle it at this time anyway. I, who never ever talks about this stuff to anyone else, besides the therapist, talked to two different people on two consecutive days about the badness of what happened to us.
I guess most of us were survivors of that time, maybe some in more dysfunctional ways than others. But than again who can be the judge of that. Not me.
And some were casualties who over time did not survive…