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The Dirt "Brick" Road

 

I can't tell you the exact date, I know it was during the school year and it was warm out.  I grew up on a farm in a very small town in Oklahoma; we had one gas station, a stop sign, and Dornan's a small store for staple household items.  Civilization - as in grocery stores, doctors, hospitals, etc. were about a 2-hour drive away.  I went to a small school, my class was one of the largest, and we had 24 students.  You get the idea, not exaggerating when I say, "I grew up in a small town."  

 

On the farm, we had rabbits, cows, ducks, chickens, goats, cows, pigs, I had a horse, and of course cats and dogs.  On the outside it was a very wholesome upbringing, my mom was a stay at home mom, my dad had a good job, I had two brothers - I was the middle child.  We were raised with yes ma'am and no ma'am values.  Spankings in school and mouth soaped out for lying or cursing.  Apple pie on Sunday's after church.  I always say the more perfect it looks on the outside, the darker the secrets on the inside - the cynical person in me who I can't seem to shake. 

 

Our dark secret was the physical, verbal, and mental abuse between my parents.  We grew up in a church where divorce seemed to be an equal sin to murder.  You could hear the whispers behind your back, but no one would step forward to help - almost no one.  

I remember the last fight, almost like yesterday;  it started out as it usually did - a dispute over a trivial matter which quickly escalated into a loud verbal exchange, fast forwarding to a physical altercation.  As I often did, I hid in my room hoping for it to end quickly so we could go back to pretending that all was normal and okay.  This one didn't seem to stop - it appeared just to keep going.  And I decided to come out of my room and break up the fight.  Little 6th grader me, I went out yelling and screaming for them to stop, jumping in the middle like a referee to break it up.  I remember getting hit on the head with a kitchen chair - I know it was an accident - besides the spanking with the belt we kids were not the target of physical abuse.  

 

This was the first time I had intervened my parent's altercations.  It "ended" with my mom telling my older brother to drive to the neighbors and call the police.  Later a police car came and took my dad away.  There was actually a sense of calm that occurred over the house.   I remember it didn't last long; there was a telephone ring, a brief conversation and then my mom scrambling around the house.  My mom was taking black garbage bags frantically filling them with items.  The sky was dark by this time, but it was the same day.  The phone call was someone letting my mom know my dad was going to be released soon - that same day.

 

After my mom completed the "packing," we started out to the neighbors on foot - keep in mind the neighbors for us was 6 miles down the dirt road.  The four of us set out down the road, everytime we saw car lights we would hide in the ditch until they passed.  I have no idea how long it took to travel down the road eventually to the neighbor's house.  It was all a blur -  I was so young.  We finally reached our destination, for two days I stayed with friends until a police car came and took all of us to a domestic violence shelter in civilization.  

Even though "moving" to the domestic violence shelter packed in our black garbage bags was scary and there was so much unknown it was also a significant relief.  There would be no more fighting {I thought - at least no more physical fighting} not everyone should stay married.  My parents did not need to be married.  One pivotal moment in my youth that created a life pathway that I am still navigating to this day.  

 

Protected by His Grace, 

 

Nicole 

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