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October 15 2009
[ Non-fiction : Biography/ ]

Stephanie Herrera

`She kept washing. Her feeling of impurity remained no matter how much she scrubbed. She felt disgusted, corrupted and ill. Any sense of cleanliness disappeared; it had been left in her room. She washed for hours until her skin turned an ash white. She scrubbed with different soaps yet she still felt dirty. She wept while in the tub, turning the hot water on further, almost burning her caramel skin. The more it stung the more she cried. Decided that no pain was worse than what she had endured. Her trust in everyone had completely faded; a colossal hatred grew inside her aching heart. Her body seemed to react according to all the pain she felt, eyes swollen shut, a stream of tears and snot rolling down her face. Her frail body hurt as much as she did inside, ankles swollen from running. Bruises all over her body from fighting back; her hair falling out like leaves off an autumn tree. She kept washing; she kept hoping that by washing, she could wash the look on his face, perverted and impure. She’d wash away her struggle, his force, her pleads. She’d clear away her memories, and obliterate his abuse.
The water in the tub already beginning to rise: her screams growing louder, the water scorching like a summer day in august. Yet her sense of impurity did not fade. Her reddened body remained in the tub unable to move and though it hurt nothing could compare to the suffering she had been going through for the past two years. And as the water rose like a tide she sunk her body further inside of the water until she began to drown. Face and body submerged in the water she closed her burning eyes and held her breath. She began to count slowly inside her head hoping that before she’d reach fifteen she’d be dead.
One, two, three…she counted…four, five, six…she cried…seven, eight, nine and she began to slip into an alternate world, a dream land, a distant nightmare. Ten, eleven, twelve…flash backs came towards her like darts to a target. It seemed as if even while dead her father would still haunt her. Memories swarmed around her like bees, of the times he’d beaten her until blood splattered from her frail body. Of moments in which while asleep; he’d come inside her room, awaken her only so she can see him, standing before her, drenched in sweat smelling of liquor and rotten urine. He’d then proceed to curse at her with a sailors tongue, calling her everything from a slut to an ungrateful whore. He’d sit on the corner of the bed. By then her sobs grew and he looked at her with such hatred it seemed he might expose what he truly was a devil. He would then proceed to drag her towards him by her feet and she would do everything from screaming to kicking and biting. Nothing seemed to work. He would force her to undress before him then tell her to sit still and that if she moved he would beat her so bad “hell would seem like a better option than life.” And even though her mind and body begged her to move, she never moved, not one inch. And he would then proceed with raping her until he was tired. Then he left her in her room, her reddened body collapsed on the bed, tears streaming down her face, her voice faded from her yells, each time her heart growing blacker.
Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, still not dead quite like she had hoped she flipped into another flash back, her eleventh birthday before everything began. She reminisced on her birthday cake her friends and on how angelic her mom looked that day. She hurt as she remembered her mothers’ bags packed the fear in her eyes.
“Alyssa, I have to go. I can’t stay here. I’m sorry to leave you on your eleventh birthday but if I don’t leave he will kill me.” She sobbed even further as she continued to speak, “I can’t do this anymore, he wont hurt you Alyssa…he loves you. More than he could ever possibly love me.”
“But mommy, mommy, please don’t go. Don’t leave me with him please…mommy no!” she cried.
“I love you Alyssa, take care of yourself munchkin.” she left her daughter stranded and alone. It seemed to her that after her mom abandoned her father, hell had arisen in her household. It felt like bombs we exploding all around her, her war had just begun.
Sixteen…seventeen…eighteen, still not as dead as she hoped eyes closed, water running, body numb, she began to have a vision of her future. A vision in which she saw the abuse further. She saw herself hairless, frail and she appeared to be scarecrow thin. She saw the rapes become more frequent; she felt the pain the heartache of being a silent victim. She didn’t want to be silent, not anymore. She just wanted to die. Death seemed like the best option. She reminisced on her calls to her mother, her attempts to confess and realized her own mother had stood by and let this go on. What type of mother allows her child to stay with middle aged alcoholic man.? What type of love does this man have for a little girl? Father or no father Alyssa realized she had nobody. She was as alone as the leftovers in the back of the fridge. Frostbitten and tasteless.
Nineteen…twenty, no pulse, no heartbeat.
After breaking the bathroom door, Alyssa’s father found her in a tub filled with overflowing hot water. His immediate thought, “I have to get her dressed. She can’t die, they’re going to blame this one me.” He immediately picked her soaking wet body, up outside the tub. While drying her off and dressing her he could not help but admire her body. He wanted her so much. To him she was the only woman he was infatuated with her. Her mere smell enticed him it drove him to a frenzy of some sort. He was determined to find a way they could be together. His first instinct after dressing her was to call 911 and tell them she had attempted suicide but he was afraid they would find out about his feelings and the things he had done to her. Erasing all fear he decided to call an ambulance to come to get his daughter. But before they came he whispered in her ear that he wouldn’t let her go, he would always be by her side.
“Let’s get her on some IV fluid” yelled one EMT. “Her pulse rate keeps decreasing, and she’s having convulsions” yelled another. “Someone call a doctor,” yelled a nurse. As the emergency technicians proceeded to shock Alyssa back to life, the look on the doctor’s face showed no hope. As he skimmed the thirteen year olds body he tried to hold back the tears. He pondered, What type of abuse has this poor child endured to try such a thing? Such a shame so young she has so much left to live. “Her pulse rate doctor its reviving. She wants to live doctor. Its stabilizing…” she opened her eyes to see bright lights and fair faced people swarming around her the light was so bright she thought she had made it to heaven. “Am I dead…is this heaven? …”
“No, Alyssa you’re at Mount Sinai hospital. We would like to ask you some questions. My name is Doctor Suarez.” He sighed. The relief was visible in his eyes, and he had saved a young girl from her own demise. “Before I allow the psychiatrist to see you, your father would like to say a couple of things to you. He’s been up all night by your bedside.”
Alyssa’s eyes showed tremendous fear. Her heart pounded with the ferocity of a lion. It felt like a stampede was going on inside her.
“No, I don’t want to see him! “ Alyssa moved further up the bed. “No! Get him away from me! Help! Help me someone please! You should have just let me die. Now he’s going to kill me…”
“Alyssa your father is not going to kill you he just wants to speak to you. Be a good girl and talk to him.”
“You don’t understand. He is the reason I tried to kill myself. He rapes me on a daily basis…” Alyssa broke into sobs. Alyssa then attempted to run but before she even got to the door a big security guard grabbed her and placed her on a bed. A rosy-cheeked nurse then placed a sedative inside her IV. Immediately Alyssa started to get weak and sleepy. She fell into a deep sleep, letting the dreams carry her, back into a time in which she had no worries. She dreamed about her favorite day, the day her daddy had bought her, her puppy. She remembered it was a hot day in July when she was playing on the lawn. Her dad had just come in from work and he said he had a surprise.
“Close your eyes sweat pea got your surprise right here. Put your hand on it. See what it does.” Her little heart beating outside of her chest.
“Oh my god daddy, it’s a puppy thank you. I love you daddy.”
A brown and white dog in her hands she was ecstatic. Her smile said it all she was amazed it had big brown eyes and pink paws. Tears rolled down her eyes and she ran and gave her father a hug. But too soon to appreciate such a great dream she was awoken to her fathers face and she screamed. She immediately isolated herself on one corner of the bed and began rocking back and forth. As he swarmed towards her his hands draped over her neck, choking her air supply. She tried to speak but unable to she began to hyperventilate trying hard to press the button to summon the nurse. She squirmed trying to loosen his hold and finally grabbed the button and summoned the nurse. When the nurse entered the room her father immediately attempted to pet her hair as if he had not just been choking her. She screamed loudly and told the nurse to move her father because she no longer wanted to see him. Alyssa wondered how much pain she would have to keep enduring, and why god was allowing her father to hurt her so. After being placed on another sedative Alyssa still could not sleep. The idea that he would try to kill her once again was enough to keep her wide awake. Alyssa immediately rose when she heard a voice by the door; afraid it was her father; she tried to barricade the door with her own body. She placed an ear up towards the door, hearing the voice much clearer then before. It was doctor Suarez and the rosy cheeked nurse…
“She said her father rapes her, but I can’t believe he would do such a thing, he seems genuinely worried about her well being.”
“I know doctor, but why would anyone lie about something so serious. I don’t know her so young and has so much to live for why try to hurt herself so.”
“How could someone that seems so loving, rape there very own daughter? Where is her mother? Why isn’t she by her daughter’s side?”
“I don’t know doctor. Maybe we should try to find out where she is.”
As the doctor turned the door knob Alyssa quickly rose up off her feet, ran into her bed and placed the covers over herself acting as though she was sleep. The doctor verified she was “sleeping” and that her heart beat was in order. He then proceeded to leave her room.
“My mom...” Alyssa thought, “They’re going to find her. Hope she saves me. She all I have left.” Alyssa cracked a small smile, and closed her eyes finally drifting off to sleep.
Days and weeks had gone by, Alyssa still remained in observation. Her father had been coming to see her everyday since she’d been in the hospital. Alyssa showed no emotion around him she acted cold towards him, always acting asleep when he came or just remaining silent. She couldn’t bear the thought that her father was treating her like a teenager in love. How could he show such sentiment toward her? His actions made her feel displeased she couldn’t comprehend how her father loved her. His love made her feel contaminated and fouled. He would bring her flowers and teddy bears. Alyssa grew disgusted with his actions. She just wanted it all to be over. She was sick of it. She wanted her mom, her teddy bear. She just wanted him to go away. His mere aroma sickened her. The smell of his aftershave and cologne wreaked a stench so horrible it seemed as if her nostril hairs were being ripped out. His actions towards her seemed in vain. He began to get frustrated and his good father role was beginning to fail, until the point at which he just gave up. He came in one day decided that if Alyssa didn’t forgive him he would hurt her. Wasn’t it enough for her that society would never allow him to “legally” love her? Hadn’t it been enough for her? Couldn’t she see that her actions towards him were ripping him apart?
He finally gave up, “Alyssa, please forgive me baby, I never meant to hurt you sweet pea.”
Alyssa showed no emotion. She didn’t even blink.
He finally got upset. He grabbed at her feet, Alyssa couldn’t move. He pulled her down towards him screaming at the top of his lungs, “Alyssa don’t you understand if you wont be mine then you wont live to be anyone’s.”
Alyssa still showed no movement.
Her father pet her hair gently and tried to touch her arm, immediately Goosebumps arose all over body, her fear and her disgust were apparent.
He pulled her by her hair.” I can kill you Alyssa. sweat pea I can hurt you severely and then kill myself and in my kind of heaven no one can tell us we cant be together…don’t you see we belong together, forever.” Tears rolled down Alyssa’s cheeks. “Baby don’t cry. Its ok daddy’s here it will only hurt for a second.” He laid her on the floor his body over hers like some sort of cover. He wrapped his hands around her neck he began to choke her air supply. Alyssa couldn’t breath nor speak nor move. She was paralyzed yet tears still rolled down her cheeks. As the air from her body was sucked out with the force of vacuum sucking dirty from off a carpet, Alyssa began to slip into a dead state. She walked towards the light eyes open like something out of a movie. Her last vision was that of her father yelling at her telling her, they would see each other soon and that of her mother walking in the room yelling at the top of her lungs for him to get off of her.
Alyssa passed out before she could see the cops taking away her father. She didn’t get to see the struggle her mother made to get her to live, nor did she notice that for a couple of minutes she had been dead like she always wanted. When Alyssa finally awoke from what seemed to be a nightmare, reality sunk in. she was at her mothers house in Tampa bay. She immediately rose from her bed and began to panic.
“Where is he, mom where is dad?”
“He is in jail sweet heart he wont ever hurt you…its ok baby.”
“I have to get in the tub, I have to wash it all away, I have to get it off, I want it all off...no man will ever want me he tainted me..”
Alyssa ran to the bathroom, her mother grabbed her “Its ok Alyssa, your not tainted, Alyssa you were always clean, he was the dirty one, and he won’t hurt you anymore. Trust me you are untainted. No one can leave an evil mark on you no one. Nor him nor any other man.”
alyssa collapsed on the floor and began to cry.

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