… all that was going on in me that day I stood up to Bruce
I look down at Bruce lying unconscious on the floor. Stacy and Clark are crying, confused and scared. At first, I hear nothing. As if I’ve gone deaf. Then slowly the sounds begin to match the scene before me. Bruce is still out cold and I start to worry.
“Is he dead?” I say to myself. “I wonder what happened?”
Of course he wasn’t dead. He wasn’t even hurt all that much. As far as I know anyway, I’ve never talked to him about it. I don’t remember talking with Bruce about much of anything now. Before that day I stood up to him, all I remember is the abuse…
After that day, Bruce became very small to me, and eventually he disappeared from my conscious consideration. He began shrinking shortly after Stacy had broken my glasses with the sofa pillow. I was so pissed she had done that.
Stacy and I fought a lot but I was still the good boy and of course I didn’t go round hitting girls. Or at least… not very hard. And if I was to hit my sister (good boy me would never think of hitting any other girl, even if she called me a pig) I’d hit her on the fleshy part of her shoulder. Even if I was really mad. And I was really mad that day.
“Damn it!! She broke my glasses!!”
So I hit her. I hit her hard. Harder than I should have. Harder than I’d wanted to. Stacy started crying in a way that made it clear that I’d hit her too hard but before that got through to me, Bruce got up and started punching me.
“What’d you do that for?” I think he’d said.
I’m not sure if he said anything else because it was at this time that I stopped hearing anything. Everything went into slow-motion and all I can remember is putting my hands up to block Bruce’s punches. Bruce was punching me and I was blocking most of them but not all. The punches that hit, didn’t hurt though. It was a little like that scene from The Matrix when Neo is effortlessly blocking that flurry of punches from Agent Smith with one hand.
Bruce’s shrinking child-like alien body was no longer of consequence to my big, sleek, athletic and toned alien body.
And then I punched him.
One punch and he was down. He was down and he was out, but he wasn’t out for long.
A much smaller Bruce then got up, punched me a few times (to no effect and almost no resistance from me) and we all went back to watching TV.
I can’t remember what we watched. Luckily, Stacy wasn’t hurt too bad either and Clark stopped crying as soon as she did. And the best luck was that neither of our parents would ever know it had even happened. Dad had yet to get home and I think Mom was outside in the garden or something.
As I wrote at the beginning of this particular story…
What happened that day. The day I finally did stand up to Bruce, might seem like nothing much to some. Like any other day. Like just a typical scene from a typical middle class, midwestern family. Even to some who were directly involved.
All my siblings were there. All were involved. I doubt any of them even remember it at all though. And none of them could know how significant it was for me.
And it was significant for me. Bruce the abuser was shrinking and would eventually disappear and although the abuse would always be there, I would eventually learn how to find ways to heal what it did to me. That would take a long time and in many ways it’s on-going, but most significant about that day, that day I stood up to Bruce, was how I’d finally started to really see myself.
I had now seen myself and I saw myself doing something I would need to do more of as I began to grow from the good boy into a good man.
There are more stories for talking about that.