When my mom and D first started dating, he seemed very nice. He would come visit and they would watch TV shows on the couch. Mom would make me special snacks. Sometimes we even played in the living room, all three of us together. (I must have been about 5 years old.) We drew pictures, played with play dough, and even raised tad poles- though they froze when we left them outside all winter.
After a while, though, things started to change. Mom and D would spend all their time in the bedroom or on the porch, leaving me to take care of my baby sister, or else taking her into the bedroom with them while she slept. I knocked at the door one day, searching for my crayons, I think. D sent me to take a nap. I don't know why, but in that moment I felt afraid and I rushed straight to my bed. I was laying in bed, staring out the window when-
BAM! My door crashed open! (Or maybe he swung it quickly and the noise was my own fear.) With a sneer on his face I'd never seen before, D talked to me as if I were a little baby. "Nap time is for sleeping. If your eyes are open the next time I come in this room, I'm going to knock your ass into next week!" He held his arm up, as if to show me that he could, and slapped his hands together. His eyes were wild.
"Now close your eyes and don't open them again until I come to get you." His voice was low, even scarier than the yelling. I don't know how long he stood there in the doorway, watching me obediently keep my eyes shut tight. The next time I dared to peep out, he was gone. I cried, and I must have fallen asleep.
And so, it all began.