Rozalia, a girl from a divorced family & how she looked at the world. (Under construction)
|Bright light was shining above me. I could see scarlet behind my closed eyelids. "It's another day." I thought to myself. "A brand new day with the same old cycle." It was a cycle to wake up every morning with the bedroom lights left on through the night. It was a cycle to cry in my sleep. It was a cycle to pray I would not wake up the next day right before I sleep. I was too much a coward to commit suicide. I was an empty shell since that night.
2 years ago...
I was weeping in silence hugging my favorite pillow as I was dragged out of my house at 8pm. "Your dad don't deserve you. You deserve to stay with your mother. You guys are better off without a man like him in your life." My aunt, Maria, said. My mother was next to her in the elevator carrying my younger brother who is barely 4 years old. I just stood there, tears running down my face, hugging my favorite pillow as the elevator descends.
We were rushed into the car that was waiting for us at the car park. My mother stuffed our house key into the letter box, all the while cursing and swearing at my dad before joining us in the car. While my uncle and aunt were loading our belongings she told me "we'll start a new life. Without your dad. He deserves this. It'll be just us three." The car engine was roaring as I stared out the window to my house for the last time.
The next few days were a blur. I don't remember much. I remembered being dressed, fed and sent to school everyday. I don't feel anything. My mother established this pattern. I went to school, met my classmates, played and laughed yet I was detached from this world. My world crashed. I have nothing left. The dead look in my mother's eyes every morning just emphasized that more. I remembered my father, shouting at my aunt and uncle at the door. He wants to come in. He wants to see us. But alas, my aunt won the battle. After an hour of screaming, they called the police down. My father was being escorted away in handcuffs. That was when a thought crossed my mind. "Is it wrong for a father to want to see his child?". For the first time in a year, I felt something. I felt anger.
I was angry at everything. I was angry at everyone. Most of all I was angry with myself. How can I not be? I could have stood for my dad. I could have prevented the separation. I took on the burden of blaming myself when no one was to blame for my parents mistake. Those were the thoughts of a 8 year old girl. While my mother kept the ongoing divorce silent, I was poking around in the library to find ways to escape that reality.
When I turned 9, the day I have been waiting for finally arrived. I was taken to family court to select my legal custodial parent. A 9 year old girl had to pick one of her parent to be staying with. With the incident of my father burning at the back of my mind, I picked my dad without a second thought.
Living with my father was not easy but he made it all worth it. The sacrifice of warm comfort with my mother to the barely surviving with my father. The dark times was made bearable with the joys and laughter we had. We went cycling almost everyday. We went fishing when we could. Even days in playing chess.
My father introduced me to someone that he met. I didn't realize then how important this woman would be to me. For my growth into this woman currently writing this book. She was everything I wanted and needed in a mother. She was warm, loving, caring and most importantly, filled with life. She made those days filled with even more joy. She rubbed my hair dry almost after every shower. However, not all happy times are made to last. Even fairy tales have an ending. All it took was a hit.
I thought it was a fluke. It was my fault. I did not reach home on time. I took the hit like I had it coming. The pain was blinding but I took it silently. From that one time, it became more frequent. It even got as ridiculous as "Your daughter slept with her grandmother rather than with me." I keep on taking the hit. Crying in silence. It became a regular thing. Everything that I do, as long as she was able to find a small fault, it will be brought up to my dad who will just listen to her and hit me. From rulers, upgraded to the belt, went up to canes and finally, fists. I started crying myself to sleep when I started getting hit by the cane.
For a girl petite as me, belts and rulers hurt a whole lot. The cane, was a totally different level. I could not write after getting caned on the palm but yet to add on to the punishments, I had to write 100 times different sentences. When the handwriting turned unintelligible, I had to rewrite the whole thing. This was my first hard lesson, to swallow the pain and carry on with the work like nothing has happened. I will never deny. It was hard. Worst than hard.
Going to school became my sanctuary. The time when I had peace and quiet. My extra-curriculum group became my family. I joined the Girl Guides as that was one of the most active groups we had in my primary school. I was always out for events or community service. It opened my eyes and make me feel thankful. Though compared to my friends, I don't have much but at the very least, I saw people in worst positions than me. I was blessed.
When I hit 11 year old, my stepmother started prepping me for my Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). I remember the horrible schedule she prepared for me. Though I will not deny it taught me to manage my time better but the torture behind it for a 11 year old girl was horrendous. The mathematics examinations was one that my stepmother emphasized on. I had to do one examination paper every single day.
Once, my sanctuary privilege was taken away from me. I was made to do another set of the examination paper because I was not able to complete the paper on time. I had to skip school just to complete the examination paper that was set by my stepmother. That was when I learnt not to take things for granted. Anything can be taken away from you at any moment. When I completed the paper, I was asked if I still wished to go to school. It was 4 in the afternoon. School ends at 6.30 in the evening. I was enraged that my sanctuary was taken away from me. Though it would be weird going to school late, at the very least I was able to escape from the hell hole for a good 3 hours. I was grateful for it. I got dressed and went to school anyway.
The moment I reached school, I went to my teacher in-charge and I told her about the situation I faced. She was empathetic. She held my hands and comforted me. She offered to talk to my parents regarding this. She was an angel sent to me at the point of time. However, I told her not to involve my father in this. My father was still very unstable from the divorce and he was dedicating his time and attention to my stepmother. I had no place in this new life of his.
A few months down the road, my father mentioned that my childhood home is to be sold away. We'll be shifting to a new place. I was both upset and excited. Upset I had to be leaving my childhood memories behind. I am excited because a new adventure is about to unfold. I am always looking forward to new paths and adventures. Be it alone, with friends or my father. It never mattered. I get to learn new things, see new things. It places a smile on my face even now when I think back. My things were packed into boxes. It started getting shifted out bit by bit by my father. I didn't think much of it until I was left with only a back pack. I asked my father where will we be staying from now on. He couldn't give me an answer immediately. I knew something was wrong. Something was about to go very badly wrong. "We cannot live together in one house for now. You'll be with your cousins. They will take care of you."
That sentence was enough to crush what was left of my soul. All I could think was I shouldn’t be living anymore. Even my own father could not stand being with me. Not even to take care of me. I caused the divorce to happen. My own family was wrecked because I was not a good enough daughter to take care of my family. I was not able to keep my family together. I was taking all the blame though it was never mine to carry. I gave up on living life to the fullest. I ended up just passing by life.