The Dark I Know Well

Life was like a downward, spiral staircase that never seemed to end. One could go down them for an infinity and never reach the bottom—every once in a while someone will slip and go sliding downward but never reach the last step. The endless rabbit whole of life was the way Clarissa St. James saw hers. At the top of the stairs her life seemed great and on track to becoming a successful individual in society. One trip sent her down the endlessness that continued until death. Each step showed a memory that was vivid and explicit to the individual.

"You don't have to be afraid of your past." Dr. Plas, a well-known psychiatrist, soothed as Clarissa sat in the plush leather couch in her office. She had been seeing her for months and was slowly progressing.

"How can I not?" Clarissa stated looking out the doctor's office window that overviewed the city. The past was dark for Clarissa and her life was reminder of what she had lost. "I live each moment in constant fear of what I might do or what might happen to me." She tried to explain to her psychiatrist, but it seemed like she was hitting her head up against a brick wall.

"I know it is hard Clarissa, but facing your demons can help." Dr. Plas answered in a soothing voice that could have rocked Clarissa to sleep. "Tell me what memories you get when you walk down the first step."

"The first step is always the same." Clarissa stated taking her mind down the rabbit hole. The first step was always the hardest because for so long she had shut it out. "I am seven years old and I live in a small three bedroom house with my mom, dad, and brother. My innocence is the beauty and death of me. It is only time before I realize that my father isn't a hero and my mother isn't a savior." She starts down the path that leads her down the descending staircase.

"Daddy? Where's mommy?" A child's voice haunts Clarissa as she thinks back to the first time. It was just a short time after mom had come in to tell me it was time for bed, and I was putting away my toys. As I was getting to take one to bed with me

"Shut up wrench!" The drunken male voice yells quietly but harshly and I shrink away my father. He doesn't care about my efforts as he corners me in my own bedroom and I start to cry.

"Just stay calm, I only want to love you." My father tries to sooth my cries as he runs a hand through my short blonde hair. Grabbing me and I can still remember the small yellow and blue flowers that my body crushed. My pillow smelled of Downy that mom used to wash all of our clothes in. The soft warm bed beneath is usually like a cloud, but tonight it is hard as a rock. Tonight the painted stars on my ceiling don't shine. Counting sheep won't lure me to sleep and mommy won't be there to hold me when I have a nightmare. Tonight my world changes and I am no longer an innocent child. Putting me on my bed he continues his rubbing his hand down my chest, stomach, and backside. His hands are rough from years of working in construction building houses. I whimper as he continues, but he just shushes me. When I felt his rough hand come up beneath shirt I shook in fright.

"Daddy, w-w-wh-a-a-t are you doing?" I ask in a panicked stricken voice, but the answer I received was an evil one. I could see my stuffed animal, Leo, staring in shame at us from my toy box. I screamed when I felt my insides burning and was answered with resounding slap. Tear sprung from my eyes and wails from my throat.

"You filthy pig!" He teethed and shoved me off the bed. I landed with a hard thud on the floor and cried out in pain. My screams were of no avail, my pain was just a curse, and my body was just a toy. No he did not rape me but that would only come with time.

"Yes, the first step is always the same." Clarissa repeated coming back from her flashback to the empathic psychiatrist in front of her.

"How did you deal with that?" Dr. Plas asked already knowing the answer. She knew all of Clarissa's history and her past sins.

"I chose the same life." Clarissa replied with glossed over eyes as her mind continued her downward quest. Flashbacks of her childhood went through her mind and then her high school experience. Clarissa's high school experience was normal to her peers, but was a nightmare at home. When she was finally old enough to leave she went to live her aunt, but her dad would demand for her to come back home and she would. The suffering she bore was more than she could take.

Junior year was more than I could handle and only one person understood me predicament, Brian. My childhood best friend had seen me through all of my sufferings, but he could not heal my wounds. He had offered to marry me after graduation so that I was not legally bound to my parents in any way. There was a sweet innocence to our relationship that I lacked in the rest of life. He was the only normalcy in my life and I owed him everything. However, I was not reflecting on Brian because I wasn't going to go through with it. Quite the opposite, actually.

The knife looked like a silver angel just waiting for me to end the hell I lived in. It was calling to me like a magnetic field and I licked my lips in hunger. There was no god, there was no heaven, and surely there was no hell. Making the grades to get into college to escape my home life was not worth it anymore, nothing was. I took the knife and ran it down my wrists, there was no way to mess up this time, but I was wrong. Someone wanted me to live and my death wish did not come. I loved the feel of the cold metal against my flesh and the pain the surged through body. It hurt, but it was only a fraction to what I felt on a daily basis.

"Clarissa?" Dr. Plas again startled Clarissa out of her thoughts and she gave an apologetic smile. "I know that this brings back bad memories for you but you must allow me relive them with you." The hardest thing for Clarissa was letting her guard down while recounting her life.

"But I have lost so much," Clarissa looked down at her hands in shame. Once upon a time she had played the role of a wife and mother, but that was only her day job. At night she became a mistress of the darkness and was a slave to the sin she knew too well. Hope was a distant light in a black tunnel that never came to end and the bottom of a staircase she would never reach.

"I know." Was all Dr. Plas stated knowing that Clarissa had lived a double life of an upper class wife and a red light prostitute. "There is hope."

"You keep saying that, but I don't believe it." She stated while getting up to leave, because to her the conversation was over. Luckily, Dr. Plas and she had an open relationship, and when she was finished talking it was ok she would come back the next day.

As Clarissa walked home she noticed the church she passed every day and wondered if there really could be hope. She had tried everything from Yoga to drugs to get rid of the darkness that coursed through her veins. Maybe she had been looking in all the wrong directions for hope and peace. The one thing she never sought to do was go to God for answers, because in her mind he didn't/couldn't exist. Now, as she stood looking up at the small building she thought maybe she was wrong.