Today I handed the kid over to him..
Reminiscing about my childhood is what brought it all on. She was so happy and so was I.
Couldnt believe that a perfectly satisfied state of mind existed in a world full of fond memories despite the struggles and deprivation ( could bring on something utterly opposite of the memories, ruining, tarnishing)..I told her how we had been happy just following/obeying our parents and how we never questioned them and never demanded anything when we were at a marketplace ( nowadays malls) The kid was so engrossed ( I wondered why) as she egged me on and on to continue, 'ma, I wanna hear some more about your childhood'.
A rapt audience in her brought it on and with it also the awareness that the kid isnt as obedient a child as I was, so in my bid to test the waters on firm parenting I told her to go keep something in the kitchen. She refused point blank.
Just like that. No amount of cajoling or firmness from me could change it. I could sense his increasing irritation and my dwindling determination so said 'ok , over to you hubby'..
Just like that..
I had forgotten..protecting her so many years from him, his love for control..and how he loved, hell still loves dictatorship..
I dont call him 'Hitler reborn' for nothing.
He asked her twice whether she would take the stuff inside and when she refused, he -just like that- gave her some 8-10 slaps. I was shocked totally, watched in utter disbelief as it happened as if in slow motion.
What a wonderful mood we were in. This was the antithesis of what I was telling about my childhood - which was not one bit abusive. We never heard even a 'bloody' in our house and that was the only time we feared our dad - not because he would threaten to beat us or raise his voice - he never did any of those things - good ole dad - but because his lecture would follow which just consisted of some 5-6 lines.
It wasnt even the lecture that scared us either, it was the total dejection with which he hung his head and spoke about how he could not imagine his kids using swear words, it wasnt the way he thought he was bringing us up. We felt so terribly ashamed of ourselves that the swear words were well forgotten till we started college and that too the milder ones. hell I still use 'heck' all the times.
He beat her, then slapped her a few more times because she had the gall to look him in the eye when he asked her if she would repeat it. 'Looking at me are you?'
Then he dragged the crying kid to a corner for her time out.
He loves 'time outs'. He loves the yelling and then the timeouts. It always gives him more thrill, or should I say 'double the fun'.
In between slaps she looked at me. I cringed for had I not brought this on her. It wasnt an appeal in her eyes, it hit me like a scream.
Then he realized that now she is sitting quitely in time out so he said 'what about practice huh, take out your books if you dont want a hiding again.'
She looked at him - tiny, on the floor - and he threateningly looming large over her said 'what are you staring at me again', and she quickly lowered her eyes.
So she brought over the books and started writing. With her back turned resolutely towards me. She after that one look had not looked at me again. I realized that I was crying the entire time, as I am again right now while typing this. I nudged her with my toe. She didnt turn. I kept doing it, then I leaned forward and looked at her, she didnt turn towards me.
My God her expression was what..blank..there was no expression there and she just wasnt looking at me.
Crying I pulled her. She resisted. She was so angry at me. Then I finally had her in my lap - we both were sitting on the floor - I turned her face gently towards me and saw the first hint of an expression when she saw my tears. Then her sooty from crying face broke into a smile because I was crying. How sweet and innocent even the kids revenge is.
Then we were both crying, howling, our faces twisting, contorting, while I marvelled at the sameness of it.
Copious amounts of tears flowing like the Ganges, And yet not a single sound..