I'm 4. I'm in the bathroom talking to the creatures who live in the walls. He shouts who are you talking to. I tell him the rabbits. He tells me to hurry up and get the fuck out.
I’m 6. My kindergarten friend exclaims ‘I can’t wait for the weekend so I can stay home!’ I look at him quizzically. I don’t like being at home. I much prefer school days.
I’m 7. I can’t read. I’m the only one in my class who can’t read. He screams at me to read the fucking book. I stare hard at the letters and make my eyes move. It looks like I’m reading.
I’m 8 and I go to the playground with him and Leah. Mommy isn’t allowed to come. When she leaves the house she gets in trouble. She doesn’t leave the house.
I’m 9 and I jump in the puddles on the way home from school. My sneakers are all wet. He whips me. I bleed.
I’m 12 and my friend asks to come over to my house. I tell her my house is weird. I can come over to her house instead. He asks me where I’m going. Am I going over to my whore friend’s house?
I’m 13. We don’t have internet or TV at home. We listen to the Christian radio station. I read. I spend 7 to 8 hours of the day reading. I average a book a day.
I’m 15 and I need to use the internet to do my homework. I walk to the library. My classmate jokes that I probably don’t even have electricity at my house. I laugh and agree.
I’m 17 and my classmates are talking about the Spice Girls. Which one is your favorite, Michele? I’ve never heard of them. I say nothing.
I’m 21 and I’m home for three days. I’m standing at the sink shaking as he screams at Daniel. You’re so stupid, why are you so stupid? I glare at him. He tells me to stay out of the way or get the fuck out. I call my friend to pick me up and I leave.
I’m 22. It’s March, 2015. I receive an email from mom. She tells me things are bad. She tells me she made a friend who will help. She tells me she’s going to leave him by May.