Page 17 - Trapped in a Diamond

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7
Seven Signs That You Are Losing Yourself in a Relationship
screaming. Most times, my mother came into the room and sat on the
bed, touching my arm to assure me that everything was okay and that
it just was a dream. I must have awakened her with my screams, and
she had run into the room. Or, maybe she stayed in my room for many
nights, just making sure that I was all right. She knew the possible dam-
age the kidnapping event could do to me, and she was sorry that she had
not protected me before the event and after with my father.
After that first seemingly endless beating, nothing remained the same.
I now lived in fear. I was terrified of my father. I felt unloved, ashamed,
and damaged. At the time, I couldn’t understand my feelings; I knew
only that somehow I had disappointed my parents. My father stopped
showing me off to his friends. There were no more trips to the cafe for
ice cream. My voice, which had once rejoiced in song, was silenced.
I remember hearing my parents come home late at night, hoping they
would stop by my room to tuck me in or kiss me goodnight. It never
happened. Kisses were reserved for birthdays and for midnight on New
Year’s Eve. I have only one memory of falling asleep in my mother’s
arms, when I was five or six. It was a wintery night, and I felt her warmth
on the front of my body as the fireplace warmed my back. I held this
memory close to my heart, longing for another moment like that one,
but it never came.
A few years after the kidnapping, we moved to the big city: Rome.
My brother and I received beatings from my mother when she felt we
weren’t following her instructions properly. As I see it now, she must
have been very frustrated. Inherently, she was a strong and independent
woman, bound by marriage to my controlling father. She was a feminist
living with a misogynist. Perhaps she, too, was living in fear.