I have never told this story, ever. I have never been asked either why I left home. The story I want to tell you changed my life forever. Leonard Cohen said, “We all live lives that are tethered to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, so in a certain sense everyone is born in chains. There are moments of liberation and moments of captivity. Life seems to move between those two polarities.”
I was age 13 1/2 years old and it was a day no different from any other, tense like walking on egg shells. My father went around the house singing “Every Little Breeze Seems to Whisper Louise”. He was jolly and jovial but I always new this meant the storm was on it’s way. I think he thought he had us fooled. Not me. I had been down this road too many times. This day my brother wasn’t around but it wouldn’t have made any difference the cute little boy (18 months older than me) was really just the devils child.
We lived in a 3 teared house . My mother, father and I stood at the top of the stairs on the second level. He started to scream at my mother calling her a f….bitch, slut and useless person. Then he would go on singing. I watched my mother shiver in fear as we waited and waited. He loved this game, he had perfected it over the years. Someone came to the door looking for my brother and he smiled and talked like it was a wonderful day then came back upstairs. My mother did something, I don’t know what that angered him but then he was looking for something, some excuse. She started to cry and raced down the stairs to the first level and he went chasing after her. I yelled out at him “leave my mother alone”. He hit the bottom stair and turned. I immediately new – run like fucking hell. I spun around and within a seconds he was up those stairs after me. I was a competition swimmer & tennis player, I was in good shape and fast. Just a little faster than him.
I ran outside and hid on this September 19th day, 4:30 in the afternoon in Ontario Canada. I remember it so well. I heard him scream at me to come back, but I didn’t.
I new how this would likely play out and decided to stay outside. I slept in the garden all nigh and shivered in fear and cold. No one came to get me or look for me. During that night I made a decision no child should ever have to make. I realized that night my mother would never ever be able to defend me. I also new I could no longer defend her. I was no longer a child this night. I knew there was only one thing I could do – leave. The seed had been planted.
In the morning just before breakfast I came into the house to be greeted with a big, “good morning Louise” by my father. “You had better go get dressed for school and have your breakfast”.
Now I waited and waited and waited. I new this was his favorite part of his game. Wait until my guard was down, wait for me to relax so I wouldn’t see it coming. I waited and waited and waited day after day, for weeks.
It was a Saturday morning I had slept in. He was an early riser and loved to sing in the morning so loud we had a hard time sleeping. Then he came crashing into my room ripped off the bed covering and my clothes and beat the hell out of me.
Monday morning, after he had left for work, I walked down the stairs with my little suit case and said to my mother I was leaving. All she said was, “Louise, if you leave now you know you can never come back.”
Over the many many years to follow I became aware that he was calling my friends and telling them he didn’t know what was wrong with me and he was so worried about me. I never said anything but over time I cut myself off from everyone. I would stay out of his life for years and years and then for reasons I don’t really know I would go back to him (wherever he was and after my parents divorced and he accumulated a harem of women) until I would start to unravel again and disappear again. To then hear he was called all my friends again………so I cut myself off from them.
Leaving my parents home led me onto the street and a new life……….