Chasing clouds

Trigger warning – references to child sexual abuse

This is out of context unless the blog has been read in a chronological order.

Guinevere, 3-4 years old:

I’m spinning in circles on the graveled yard. Head thrown back, searching the sky: only whisps of clouds. Too thin, transparent! God couldn’t sit on one of those – He’d fall through. 

I once confided in Grandmother one of my greatest sorrows: that I have no father. People say I do, but he never comes to see me. Sunday school taught me God is everyone’s father and He especially looks out for orphans. Could God take pity on me, even though I’m not a real orphan? Everyone knows God lives in Heaven so there I went in search of Him. Grandmother found me crying because I was unable to see Him.

”If you can’t see God in his sky, it is only because He is hiding behind a cloud”, she told me. It was a secret, of course. I mustn’t tell anyone she’s told me this, or that she’s taught me how to pray to God for survival.

Since then, I’ve been chasing clouds. I know praying is strictly forbidden and anyone who does so will get killed. God is dangerous and only fools bend their knees to Him. 

”If He is dangerous, maybe He is more dangerous than Grandfather. Maybe He could protect me”. I know this conclusion is prohibited as well. But I can’t help myself: I don’t want Grandfather to kill me. I don’t want to be murdered by the person I hate the most. It seems God isn’t at home today. I rush onwards, out on the lawn I sink to my knees. I’ll die now. I cry so hard I pee myself.

I think it started one day when Eric was baby-sitting me and his younger siblings. This calling him ”Daddy”, even though he’s not my dad and I shouldn’t call him so. He’d been assigned the role of Dad, despite protesting he needed to study. Camilla and Victoria, his sisters, were Mom and Older Sister. Lucio, the little brother, was Angry Dog and I – of course – had to be Baby. Angry Dog believes Baby to be another dog and wants to bite her. I’m scared Lucio will do so for real, he’s snarling viciously and I have red toothmarks on my arm from the last time we fought.

”Bad dog! BAAAD DOG!” Mom and Older Sister point their fingers at Angry dog, but he won’t heed them. I’m screaming in real terror now. Eric has to carry me around the room so Angry Dog can’t reach me. If he tires and puts me down, Angry Dog leaps at me.

”Daddy! DADDYY!” I shriek. Eric lifts me up on the middle of the kitchen table and sits down on its edge. Below us his little brother is jumping up and down, growling ferociously. 

”Daddy!” I exclaim and burrow my head in Eric’s chest, hugging him so hard he almost cannot breathe.

”Good Lord”, he sighs. 

It is then it dawns on me. Eric would make a great father. I wish he was my Daddy! I tell him so.

”I can’t be your Daddy”, he says. ”I’m way too young!” 

I still want him to be. He could live with me and take care of me. So I follow him everywhere. If he says he doesn’t want me along when he’s sneaking out to see his friends, I cry until my heart bursts. If he’s studying he wants peace and quiet. But I don’t mind upsetting him as long as I get his attention. I can pester him a lot and he’ll act as if I’m not there; he lies down in the sofa and frowns at a book. So I flop down on top of him and sing little songs to myself. Sooner or later he starts laughing or exclaims something like:

”Stop picking your nose! That’s disgusting!”

I’m on the lawn because I ran outside, I ran out because I bit Grandfather and I bit him because I just can’t obey him. I’m expecting Grandfather to come along and end me any moment now, but to my surprise Eric appears. Crying my eyes out, snot and tears bursting in all directions, it takes some time for me to explain.

”He said…he’d had enough of me and!” Hiccups, tears, snot. ”I don’t have a father and I don’t know his hair colour!” 

”What does the hair colour matter?” Eric asks.

”Grandfather asked what hair colour daddy has. I gave the wrong…wrong answer…and he said daddy doesn’t care about me because he sees me so little I don’t know his hair colour. Now he’ll kill me because daddy doesn’t care!” 

Eric hugs me without hesitation even though I’m snotty and peed myself. 

”I can’t be your father”, he says. ”But if they kill you, they’ll have to kill me too. If we die, we die together. I will fight to protect you!”

I cling to his words even as I look up at him, his every feature lightened by the sun. I imagined he could be my father and now I see the obvious: he is only a child.


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