I am NOT crazy!
It all makes fucking sense now!
Relief washes over me as the pieces of the deranged puzzle that has been my life click into place.
OF FUCKING COURSE he was a sexual predator. Narcissist to the nth degree, sociopath, no friends, raised alone on an isolated estate by old parents, sent to boarding school run by nuns . . . yeah, what happened there? . . . left to his own devices at fifteen in a giant Paris apartment . . . nineteen in May of 1968 with barricades and cobblestones flying and explosive ideas of sexual freedom . . . serial adulterer, early twenties when my sister and I were born . . . a self-made youth with no moral compass, deeply ingrained misogyny hiding a profound inability to connect . . .
Teenage dreams of my father making love to me.
Dreams of every single man of authority in my life—teacher, coach, boss—fucking me.
The pain . . . ah yes, the back pain!
Patrick barging into my bedroom when I am sixteen and getting dressed. Staring at my breasts. “You have very beautifully shaped breasts.” Pause. “Your mother also did.”
Nausea on the beach in Normandy when we are a few feet behind my fourteen-year-old sister. He leans to me, crooked smile, one eye half closed: “She has all the right things in all the right places, hey?”
But also: jealousy. And I say in my fluty twelve-year-old voice, “And me . . .?”
“You?” he shrugs. “You are just a child. You have no shape. What kind of disturbed man would ever want that?”
Right—he is so adamant about that.
Back to the nausea.
Morning at breakfast talking about my middle school girlfriend, mousy little girl he has dreamed about in a white skirt that the wind lifts as she bends to get into the car. And why the fuck would he tell ME that? I don’t even like the girl that much.
Evening news, sitting at the kitchen table: “A forty-year-old woman is suing her father for sexually molesting her when she was three years old . . .”
I am thirteen. I barely understand what that means but I hear Patrick. He is towering next to me, his voice seething with indignation. “This woman is totally crazy! That is just nonsense.” Yes, I think, if my dad says so then yes, she is crazy.
He adds, “No one remembers what happens before five years old!”
And in my head I promise myself: I will never be this crazy forty-year-old woman.
No one remembers what happens before five years old.
I am the crazy forty-year-old woman.
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