Afterward, he made hot chocolate.
It was winter. Just before Christmas. My father was off work for the holiday. He was a teacher, so he had more time off than my mother. He was home while she was at work, taking “care” of me and my brother. There was a lot of snow on the ground. We were excited about the snow. About Christmas. About not being at school. Magic was in the air. Magic…and evil.
He had been sexually abusing me for years, but I was so young, I didn’t understand. I couldn’t comprehend. I turned reality into unreality. I cloaked what was happening to me in fantasy. But this year, the year of snow on the ground and magic, I was older. Nine or ten years old. I couldn’t make it all go away. I couldn’t deceive myself any longer. I had run out of fantasies. I was all out of ways to pretend.
That Christmas, I had my first real memory of being sexually abused. It was my first memory not hidden behind and beneath unreality. My first clear and unfiltered recollection I remember him telling me to take off my wet clothes. I remember him placing his hands on my breasts and between my legs. Then he French kissed me. Fondled my nipples with greedy hands. He told me he was going to make me warm on a cold winter day. With his body heat. But instead, he froze me to my bone. Through my heart.
Afterward, he told me to get dressed. And he made hot chocolate.
I had to pretend nothing had happened. I had to pretend everything was the way it was before. In that other world. That fake world. I had to walk out of my bedroom where he had touched me in ways no father ever should touch their daughter. And I had to drink the hot chocolate. Act normal.
My father taught me everything there was to know about sex. Ugly sex. Nasty sex. Sick sex. Pornography. Incest. Make you puke your guts out when you’re a little girl of 5 or 7 or 10 or 12 sex. He was my teacher. He taught me horrible, horrible, horrible things. Things that changed me forever. Things that stole my innocence and my childhood.
He was a teacher, at a school in the city next to the town where I grew up. He was a police judge in that little town. Respected member of the community. Somehow, he convinced himself that teenage boys squealing tires and speeding on country roads was an offense deserving of jail time whereas sexually abusing his daughter – me – wasn’t.
What happened in the bedroom and bathroom stayed in the bedroom or bathroom. It was a secret. Shh..don’t tell. Ever.
He made it clear…the consequences of telling were dire. It would be my fault. My fault.
Hot chocolate was supposed to make everything okay. It was supposed to right all of the wrongs. All the things in me that were damaged or destroyed. Or at least hide them. Hide what he did. It was supposed to restore normalcy.
I hate snow.
And fathers who force their daughters to have oral sex. Fathers who make their daughters strip for them. Who use them like a worthless sexual toy then toss them away because they’re damaged.
And I hate fathers who rape their daughters.
And I hate hot chocolate. The hot chocolate a father makes on cold snowy day, forcing the daughter he has just sexually abused to swallow unpalatable secrets along with the sugary sweet drink they place before her while acting like they didn’t just rip her heart out, smash her and utterly destroy her soul.
The sugar is meant to hide the truth. The chocolate is supposed to coat the lies. The outwardly nurturing act of adding marshmallows cloaks the horrendous acts of abuse. None of it goes down smoothly. Or easily.
In fact, it causes me to gag.