One and Two: Two Short Pieces on Conflict

Shared by Taylor Talks

20/20

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She remembers. 

She remembers me doing the right thing. 

She remembers me calling 911 as I saw my brother slammed, bloody, against the ground as she held back my screaming sister. 

But. 

She doesn't remember saying that If I picked up that phone I would tear the family apart—I wouldn’t have a family. She doesn’t remember telling me I was dead to her, that I would regret it. 

I remember though. 

I remember the paralyzing fear. 

I remember the cold plastic of the phone in my hand and the way the buttons seemed to push back at me almost as hard as I was pushing them. I remember this look in her eye, like she meant what she had said. 

I remember. 

She brings it up now as an example of her good parenting skills; the way I do the right thing in a bad situation. 

Perception is a funny thing. 

 

 

Mother’s love

It’s always there. 

I remember it. 

“I love you,” 

Is the illusion of comfort. 

I find it meaningless now. 

She needs something, she slips it in. A casual “I love you” always paired with a request. 

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Phone call

Text: 

“Hey. Call me, there's something we need to talk about” 

11/18/15 

Phone call

Text: 

“This is really important! Call me.” 

[is it about Sarah? is she ok? I know she’s making me think it’s about Sarah so I’ll call… I know there’s more.] 

Hi 

[what do you want] 

“Are you ok? you sound sick”

[Small talk] 

I’m fine. 

[Get to the point] 

Crying

“I’m so sorry” 

[There it is] 

“I’m so sorry for responding the way I did when you called the police all those years ago. I’ve been seeing a therapist and she made me realize that I was behaving as a battered wife, doing whatever it took to protect my life, because I knew it was wrong.” 

Silence

“And I’m sorry I lied to the police. If I hadn’t lied he would have gone to jail and we wouldn’t be in this situation now. None of this would have happened.” 

I stay silent and she repeats her apologies. Waiting. Probing. For the first time it doesn't work. I no longer seek her love. I no longer believe in it. I’m no longer attached to her. How sad. 

“I want for you to see a therapist” 

[how does that benefit you] 

“You know I wish my mother would have wanted this. I wished for so long that she would be willing to sit down and hear how all the things she did affected me. I wish she would have wanted to understand” 

Maybe you should start there 

“Well, no, I don’t want that anymore.” 

Then you understand how I feel. 

Crying

“Please Taylor, you can pick anyone you want. you can pick someone on your side. I want you to pick someone on your side, or just… someone you trust… please Taylor… I’m so sorry.” 

She talks about reacting like a battered wife, well I feel like I’m treated like one. In my world she is the abusive husband, and I’m the stupid girl who believed she would change. Who empathized. Over and over. Who got hurt. Over and over. 

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You talk about being the battered wife. Do you realize you’ve done so much more to me than that night? Do you realize how many times you have physically gotten in my face and screamed at me? said horrible, nasty irrevocable things; ‘I’m ruining Sarah's childhood, look what I'M causing, maybe you should kill yourself so I can raise Sarah the right way—wouldn't that be better for everyone, you getting what you want?’ Just from 30 seconds of you yelling at me. You tear me down in every way possible, destroying what you know I care about. 

“Yeah and that's why it's so important to talk about it. I’m sorry. We need to build up our trust again” 

No. I have no interest in letting you in again. Every time I’ve ever trusted you, you’ve hurt me. I was the battered wife. You would do whatever you could to hurt me, and then an hour or a day later you would act like it didn't happen. Eventually I couldn’t. And you would just hug me, cry, tell me you loved me and that you were sorry. You promised never to do it again. You wanted to talk about it, you bargained, you manipulated until I would trust you again. That fucked me up. That really fucked me up. I thought that's what people that loved you would do. I genuinely thought the people that loved me the most would be the ones to hurt me the most, and the good ones would make it better afterward. That is so fucked up. I can’t let that back into my life, Mom, I’m sorry. I can’t. I have to go now, and you have to respect that. 

“Okay that’s fine but just wait, there's something else we need to talk about” 

We can talk about it later, I told you I need to go now. 

“But it’s Sarah” 

What’s going on with Sarah? 

“We’re losing her” 

“She’s being forced into public school, she won't test well, Taylor. She has no one to talk to about this, her best friend is making new friends in high school and she only has me. She’s so depressed.” 

[She knows what I care about, and she’ll use it to try and get what she wants. She can be so convincing, but then I remember this is the same person who has seen tears rolling down my face, and not let up. She hurt me over and over and over. Why would that change now? Why would I give her the opportunity to hurt me again? I can’t trust her, ever, no matter how much I want to. I hope therapy helps her. I hope she figures out what love is. I hope she is able to grow and learn and be a good parent, a good person. But I can’t be around for it. I just can’t. That's sad, but that's reality.] 

Okay, let me know when she’s home and I’ll call her. Sarah knows I’m always there for her, so let me know when she’s home and I’ll talk to her. I need to go now. 

I’ll always be there. 

And she knows it. 

I love her. 

A warm comfort. 

At least I know love. 

She needs something and I will be there. A casual “I love you” to let her know she’s not alone. How powerful.

 
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