Finding Refuge

After my parents divorced, we moved into an apartment. It was an old run-down duplex. It was white with blue trim and the paint was faded and peeling. At six I really didn’t care. It was a home.

In the Spring, I went out to explore my new neighborhood. I walked around the apartment through the tall weeds to the back yard. I walked up the back concrete steps and sat with my feet dangling off the back. I grabbed the pipe railing and swung out, let go and landed firmly behind the steps. There, on the back of the steps was a small door, with remnants of blue paint on it. I stuck my fingers in the edges and pulled it open. There under the steps was a nice sized little world filled with debris and junk. My mind started thinking and I got excited at my idea. Most kids my age would look at this as a great fort. I had more important plans for it.

I had thought back to the several times since we had moved into the apartment, that I had been awakened in the middle of the night by my mother, frantically telling us we have to get dressed because we have to get out of the house. My sister and I no longer asked why because we already knew. My father, or someone he knew, would call to say he was on his way over to kill us. We would spend hours parked down the street in the car to see if he showed up. He never did. Calling the police wasn’t an option because they were his friends and it did absolutely no good. Sometimes we would go to a relative or friends house. I remember the look of pity on their faces.

Yes, I thought, this would make a great place to hide when Dad comes to kill us. He would never find us here. I spent the afternoon cleaning out all the old junk down to the cold dirt floor.  I cleaned out all the spider webs so my sister wouldn’t be afraid. I took the hook from the outside of the door and attached it to the inside. I crawled in and latched the hook. It was dark, musty, and quiet. I pushed on the door with all my might. Yep, we would be safe in here when my Dad came to kill us.

Nobody knew of this hiding spot. Not my Mother or my Sister. When my Dad picked me up for our weekend visit with him, I didn’t say a thing. I felt like I had some power over him and over myself. Our lives weren’t in his hands. They were in mine.

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