The White Space

I very distinctly remember my first memory. I was in a white space and I believe I was crawling around so I suspect I was still a baby at the time. I don't remember any walls or ceilings or really anything else in that space but myself. Just white space. Thinking about it now makes me think that, yes, there was a time in my life when I knew innocence. The memory lasted only a few moments and in it I knew no pain, no fear. It's possible that I didn't even have an opinion about where I was or what I was doing at the time. I want to say that there was no such thing as happiness but I don't want to mislead anyone into thinking that it was misery. It was the exact opposite. There were no emotions. What I remember feeling was perfect serenity. I was. And for once in my life, that was good enough.

The next thing I remember is riding my bike in the grass of our yard and being thrown up into the air. I think I was five years old and one of my parents - I believe it was my father - was tossing me in the air and catching me. And again tossing me in the air and catching me. It was a game.

Back then we lived in California. My father was in the Navy and we were currently based in Long Beach. I didn't see him very much. But I don't think I was particularly fond of him. He was stern and harder on me than my mother. My sister loved him, though. And so it was that I was closer to our mother and she was closer to our father. I remember one or two classes of school and then being walked home by my aunt every day. She lived with us as a nanny for me and my sister.

My mother did a lot of things to pass to the time like spending atrocious amounts of my father's money. She would get very lonely, I believe. And eventually she took on a lover for when my father was away. I'm sure a lot of people would be quick to judge my mother but I also think that it was probably hard for her being alone for months at a time. On top of that, she was born in the Philippines so she was in a new country all by herself for long periods of time. And though I do not condone cheating and though I know what she did was wrong, I like to cut her some slack because I believe that she sincerely loved my father; but it is not easy to commit to loneliness.

I believe it was my father finding out about her lover that was the straw that broke the camel's back. And I'm sure the incredible collection of bills and debts that my mother had wracked up didn't help. I remember the fight. It was violent. My mom would slap him. He would slap her. Furniture was getting toppled all over the place. And at one point my mother pulled a knife on my father. I don't think she would've done anything with it. But anger has a tendency of making us live in the very heated moment. My father disarmed her and they went back to hitting each other. Now, I believe it was my aunt that called the police. And remember, this was on a Navy base. I remember the military breaking into our house to diffuse the situation. They were both detained. But my mother ended up getting arrested and going to jail. And because I was young and didn't understand and I loved my mother, I ran into the house and yelled at my father. I believe I cried myself to sleep in the couch of our living room.

The next thing I remember is driving with my mother and her new boyfriend from California to Connecticut. He had bailed her out. And my parents were officially separated. My mother and her boyfriend seemed so happy as they were driving my sister and I away from the home we knew. My sister was such a mess. And she hated my mother's new boyfriend for separating her from her father. But we were both just quiet, unable to understand what was happening. And when our road trip was finished, we found ourselves in a smelly, roach-infested, one bedroom apartment where my sister and I shared a makeshift dining room slash bed room and bed.

It was so bizarre to go from having a warm and loving house to having bugs crawling on you throughout the night. I remember I would have this nightmare over and over again. I was outside and I believe people had hung laundry up on lines all around us. And all of a sudden my mother was gone. And I would run all over trying to find her. But there was so much laundry hung up all over the place. It was easy to get lost in it and turned around. And I could feel her moving further and further away. What I knew and feared was that while I was looking for her, she wasn't looking for me.

I woke up one morning sobbing. And my crying woke her and her boyfriend up. My mother called me out into the living room and asked me what was wrong. I couldn't speak because I was still caught in the moment of my crying. But mom was angry at me for waking her boyfriend. So she started to whip my ankles with a belt buckle over and over again, while asking me what was wrong.

That was the first time I missed being in the white space.

sameyre sameyre
1 Response Jan 11, 2013

I wish I could remember a white space like that.
I'm really sorry for what you had to go through. It must have been so hard at such a young age.