SNAP: Stories for Living

2009 Stories | 2008 Stories | 2007 Stories 2010 Stories | Contest Details

2008 Story #2 – I Am Free

I’ve just spent a night mostly not sleeping, after a cortisone shot for sinus pain….

From nearly comatose with exhaustion, the drugs induced a frenzied energy. I was cleaning EVERYTHING. I finally fell lightly asleep about 1 AM.  

Just minutes later, I woke; wide awake but innately calm. I was remembering a little more of one of those snapshot moments of recovered memory. One of the good ones.  

School had just let out that 1967 summer morning. The phone rang. Then more calls. My mother was distraught. Our piano teacher had been transferred to Minnesota Why? What could be done? Nothing, she was told. My parents were awash with grief.  This revered teacher had been “wronged,” transferred suddenly. What would we do without her tutelage?  

After lunch, I sometimes went to Chicago’s Mather High School pool, often with my sister, Karen and classmates. Dream and memory merged. Waiting in line for Mather’s pool to open, I suddenly realized what that transfer meant. It meant I was FREE.  

Someone had transferred my molester away. I wouldn’t spend each lesson desperately trying to distract her from molesting me with complicated questions about that week’s music. So there’d be no time left to molest me. Sometimes I even succeeded. Many weeks I didn’t. 

Some angel had suddenly given me a reprieve from the weekly prison of molestation during piano lessons. I never saw it coming. I thought the molestation would continue… forever.  

At this realization, I realized I was holding my breath. Then I cried, making some excuse those around me. Then I laughed hysterically. I remember warm tears made warmer by the June sun. I remember I was facing north. I could pinpoint that spot on the sidewalk today, where I realized I was free.  

Since then, I’ve read, heard and seen movies about prisoners suddenly released from Nazi Death Camps. Not sure what to do at unexpected freedom. They’d always hoped for freedom. And now they were.  

Now I was. 

A few chapters and forty years intervened. I wasn’t REALLY free yet. That molester convinced a friend and my parents to visit her new assignment, giving her one more chance at me. She convinced our parents to allow us to stay with her overnight at a church’s “Mother House,” molesting us there.

For me, it WAS the last time. The pictures haunt me; that molester roasting marshmallows at our campground. Posing with us in front of the Mother House.

I eventually repressed all memory of her molestation until 2002. When I remembered, I felt compelled to journey to find some legal justice. , , November 11, and realized I AM finally free. 

Thanks to all who helped me get this far; listening, holding me, coming to therapy with me, representing me, writing about me. BELIEVING ME.

But it’s not about just me. It’s about being able to speak up safely and preventing this from happening to other children. That journey continues.

Note: this story is from 2008. View other 2008 stories and 2008 voting results. View current stories.