When I was 13 years old my parents separated and went different ways, my sister was given an apartment and she got a job. My dad went to his lover’s home, my mom went to her parents home, and I was sent to live with Mrs. Holcomb.
Mrs Holcomb was a divorcee with two daughters of her own, one was adult and the other was in my class. My mom paid Mrs. Holcomb to be my caretaker while they went through their issues. It was not a happy place. Things were not good at that time. I had been, for lack of a better word, abandoned.
I was in high school at the time. I was in my Sophomore year. Many good things were part of my life back then, until my dad lost his conscious awareness about having a family and followed his hormones instead. He wrecked it all. I was in drama club, had gotten standing ovations, I was in choir, a lead singer, I won second place in the state of Illinois speech competition for comedy. It was going well, until the other woman came into the picture and then, living in a small rural town of farmers, the news spread like lightening and my sister confronted my dad about his affair.
Everything changed, all that was good, was taken from me, because of hormones, or whore-moans, kind of depends on how you look at it.
Anyway, while staying with Mrs Holcomb, I slept on the couch. It went alright for a while, and then out of the blue she started to change. She would wake me up in the wee hours and push me with comments, “I can draw too”, she would say, and doodle on a piece of paper. “I am an artist too”. This went on for several nights.
Her home was only one block from the high school, so I would walk home for lunch. One day I came home and she was in the living room with family of hers (parents) and she was fishing. She had no pole, no line, nothing, but she sat in her chair and cast out her line and reeled in her imaginary fish. I found this odd, I told her daughter I was in school with, and she progressively got worse.
In school she began to wear bright red lipstick along with this neon pink polyester pant suit, which did not flatter her wide and plump frame. Then, she began to stalk me in school. Now mind you I have been telling this to my parents, but their response is to stick it out. Then one day in science lab, she starts pawing the classroom window calling my name.
I finally asked her daughter, B, my classmate if I could please sleep on the floor of her bedroom because her mom was freaking me out. She allowed it. I took my sleeping bag and slept on the floor beneath the window and next to her bed. I lay there, working at resting, when I noticed the door opened and light came in. My view of the doorway was blocked by the dresser standing there, so I could not see what was coming in. I just laid there and wondered.
Then, I felt the hands coming up my body and I looked down towards my feet, and there she was, bugged eyed, drooling spittle, and climbing up my body. I froze from fear. I had no clue what was going on, or why. When she reached my throat and began to choke me to death I reacted and slammed my arm against B’s bed, this woke her up. She then ran downstairs to get her older sister, and the two of them pulled their mother off of me. I don’t recall much after that, other than being in shock. But the next day the white coats came and took her to a padded cell someplace to recover.
I’m writing this with as much distance as I can, because I live with ptsd. I’ve had a life that Rod Serling would have loved to make t.v. shows from. Anyway, I tried to be normal, after that, but with her gone, and the daughters the only influence in the house, soon I learned how to smoke weed, party, and bake brownies. Needless to say, that part of my life was pretty clouded.
But I do recall calling my mom, and telling her the event in frantic voice, fear, and tears, and being told “I have my own problems”. I resigned myself to what I had. Nothing but party central. So I took it seriously.
For years, I mean YEARS, I could not understand why this happened. I could find no resolution. Then the assignment came. So I meditated on the event. I went to the Bible, I went to Buddah, I went to God, I went to every thing I could find to resolve the memory.
Finally I recalled the story of Jacob struggling with the Angel, coming out damaged, but being given the name Israel. Jacob had a limp (a wound) from the event, but it only made him draw closer to God. So I took that to the next level, and considered the event to be a wrestling match between myself and some demon, some dark angel with a mission to put my light out.
Still it bothered me, why her? Why Mrs Holcomb, who was just a librarian with a family, someone really very normal and very boring. Why her? Why was she used? What did I do to deserve this?
More meditation, and the recalling of the phrase “like a moth to a flame”. I resolved it with that phrase, she had no control over what was controlling her to do such a thing to me. I don’t know if it was a spirit of jealousy, or a demon with a plan, or what it was, but it was obvious that she did what she did, without real conscious awareness that would normally cause a person to pause their thought and change plans.
Since I drew the picture, which hangs on my wall, I’ve not had one nightmare about her anymore. I suffer with many nightmares from my past and take a specific medication to stop them. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to take the med, because when I have good dreams they rock, full of color and beauty, full of power and hope. Anyway, for a kid it was devastating, particularly for a shy kid of 13, with thick eyeglasses and not very popular. It was one of many traumatizing events.
Some would think, big deal, or you’re lying. But for me it was terrible. I remember drawing a picture of Jesus and mailing it to my dad, hoping that they would take my situation seriously instead of blow me off.
They finally came around at the end of the school year, they got back together and we moved to Idaho to run away from the scandal(s). It didn’t help, running away, but it did bring me to Idaho, where I love it.
So there it is. Art can heal. The drawing brought the truth and reality and put it into a picture in a frame, where I can objectively look at it and hope the best for Mrs. H, and her daughters. And, I can move on after carrying that nightmare reality for too long.
Understand if you follow my blog, you’re going to hear of stories, especially related to works of art that express pain and memories that were terrible. Much of which I wouldn’t even dare to put into picture, but sometimes you end up doing so, even if you don’t want to.
I am about to embark on a new therapy for ptsd. I do hope the haunting past doesn’t raise it’s gruesome head again, but it might. I may have to put it in form as I have before.
BUT, I want to create beauty instead. That is my goal. Find beauty, find joy, find happiness, and stay there, in the light. Sometimes I think I was destined to carry this burden of darkness, like Job, just suck it up and accept that you are on death row kid, even if you get a reprieve later.
We’ll see. I got an A on the work, fyi.
Now, to get through a holiday with as little suffering as possible…and move on to the next work. I can do this. I can stand in the light.