My Feet

Photography by Christine Reeves

Bullying occurring in a relationship kills any romance that once was alive. My feet have walked in safety, I walked in love before, and I know what it’s like to feel the grass under my feet, or the water flowing between my toes. I even felt the sand tickle them. But there is something about anger that turns my feet cold. Cold enough that when Cory’s will confines me into submission. I become a hollow tree. His wrath against me wounds me, creating injuries in my body, like holes in the bark. The tree’s sapwood is exposed; the air gets in there, and fungi and bacteria form; that is how a tree becomes hallow. The effects of abuse corrode my inside until there is nothing left. My spirit knows a more lavish escape, what freedom there is to scan an open field that looks big enough to engulf me. I long to feel safe again.  All I want to do is run through the meadow until I can’t run any longer and throw myself down on my back and become part of the sky.

“You bitch”. Corey said. I walked away, no sense in engaging with words like that. My parents never spoke to each other or me that way. I felt as though I’m choking on my heart. I went outside, the forest looked ideal for times like this. I found a special hideaway place, where peace and gentleness were emitted from the large tree. I brushed myself off from sitting too long in the dirt and looked at our pond, such a beautiful place—I wonder why he gets so angry.

Our pond is enormous. It reminds me of the Cottage; when I was six years old, my mother got out the suitcase and pulled out my favourite pink bathing suit with the cool silky buttons on the front. Whenever I saw my bathing suit, I knew it was time to go swimming in the lake. I couldn’t put my bathing suit on fast enough. I overheard my sister and cousins laughing and screaming running down the bank to the lake. I ran so fast to catch up to them that you could see the sand fly from my feet.

“Supper’s going to be ready soon. Will you be eating at the table?” I asked with an undertone of resentment. He looked up from his game, stared at the table, “Oh, look at what we have here, all set up nice,” he got up, washed his hands and ate. I had so much to share with him, a story from work, what Dakota the dog did in the field while he rounded up the sheep, how I met his Aunt Deidra while I got the mail. We had a lovely walk talking about how much they made from selling another three horses. “The goats had no water when I got home; wanna tell me how come?” “I meant to tell you I can’t fit the two hoses together, one of them is broken or missing a piece,” I said. He got up, “come with me.” I followed him out back where the hoses were; he picked them up and forcefully put them together, then turned the water on and filled the basin. “Tell me you can’t be that stupid.” I looked at the hoses, “I guess I just didn’t have the strength to get them to attach. I thought they didn’t fit together.” I pleaded. He chuckled, and went back inside to the table.

I didn’t say anything what was there to say? He got up put the dishes in the sink and reminded me to take out the garbage, if I could handle that and went back to his game— Alone again, I did the dishes, and took out the garbage on my way out for an evening walk.

The frogs were louder than usual. All singing in unison, I could hardly hear the crickets’ chirping. I feel the rocks under my shoes. The stars brilliantly bright tonight, one swooped across the sky, I stopped at the edge of the pond, A moose stood staring at me. Beautiful creature. I walked back into the house. He was still playing his game.  “Are you coming to bed soon?” I asked gently. “No, you go ahead, I’ll be there when I’m good and ready.” I wanted to tell him about the moose, and the shooting star, the sound of the frogs in an orchestra, and the crickets that couldn’t compete but what are words when they echo back at me? I drew a bath and poured bath salts with rose petals in the tub.  I dreamed of when we bathed together, his huge feet in the air amongst the bubbles and my feet embracing his. Those intimate moments were stolen by drugs and games.

There is an agony in the marriage. Pain that ice a pond in summer. And the sudden sting that jolts me where my feet freeze. I remember when I was a child, I was walking with my mother and my sister from a full day at the lake. A bicyclist was barrelling towards us, my sister ran away into the pasture and my mother jumped to the side— and me? My feet wouldn’t budge. They were frozen and I couldn’t move. I got run over by the bike, a tire mark scraped me from my leg to my forehead. My mom picked me up from the ground and carried me to the house. It was a long way up the hill, I am loved.

“You did it again Trudy, you put the toilet paper the wrong way, you stupid or somethin?” He yelled from the bathroom. The toilet paper roll, how could I forget. He continued to bellow at me and slammed the door. I felt like crawling into the mattress hoping he wouldn’t hurt me. I woke up to his feet touching mine. I felt punched.

Our feet take us on many adventures. I didn’t know my feet would take me through a wedding and be deceived in my steps realizing the groom’s addiction turned against me and eventually beat me. I blame the addiction and not my ex-husband because addiction is a sickness that kills the heart of its victim. It’s better to tread carefully and lovingly through life. Eventually, I had no choice but to leave with the clothes on my back and our baby in my arms. My feet carried us to safety.

Published by Okanagan Valley View

Mother, SFO, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, Invincible Housing, SSVP, Employee for Interior Health

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