At the Heart of Good and Evil

As he lay on top of me, his leathery wrinkled hands swept under my legs to get me into position. He stayed there on top of me for what seemed like an eternity. Then he looked into my 12 year old eyes and said “Now see, doesn’t that just get you shook up inside?” . What could I say, I was twelve and in my grandpas truck in a remote place away from his house. He had just assumed the position of raping his daughters daughter. He didn’t do it, but he assumed the position. Fully clothed and confused I felt dirty and didn’t know why he was showing me this move.

He said he was preparing me for what would come. For what the boys would try to do to me. Only it was a ruse, a deception. It was what he was doing to me under the guise of a grandpa showing his grand daughter “the ropes”. I was afraid of what just happened. More than that I couldn’t figure out why I would need to know this. I was twelve. I liked boys but had never even had my first kiss. I had always wanted to spend time with grandpa like the older kids. He had no time for the younger kids, well, younger than twelve anyway.

That was a visit that is burned in my memory. It started as strangely as it finished. He picked me up at our home by the train tracks. The train literally went through our back yard. It shook the house like an earthquake every time it passed. So it was just grandpa and me for a  few hours in the car as we drove to his house in the remote area of San Andreas. He kept telling me that no matter what anyone tells you, all men have the same size penis. He talked about penis for what seemed like the whole drive. It probably wasn’t that long but to a twelve year old girl it might as well have been.

I had wanted to go to grandpas house to ride horses and hike and fish. That’s what any kid wants, right? Well we did all of that but he also wanted other things. In the morning he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me touching my tiny breasts as much as he could, making it seem accidental. He smelled like horses, cigarettes and old man. He was no longer married to my moms mom. He was on his third wife. She paid no attention to me or what was happening.

Waiting until she left to go to the market he would say “lets wrestle”. What? This old man wanted to wrestle with his granddaughter. It didn’t make any sense at the time. It seemed like nothing made sense so far. He kept trying to grab me and pin me down. Having wrestled with my brothers I could hold my own and ironically I was afraid of hurting him. As it turned out I did just that. The old mans skin was much thinner than expected and he began to bleed. So he stopped because how would he explain wrestling with his twelve year old granddaughter to his wife.

I was beyond confused. Did he love me like he loved his daughter or did he hate me enough to abuse me. I think it was both. Had it not been for me getting my period on that visit, I fear much worse would have happened. As I learned later in life it had happened to others before me. My memory of grandpa is, he was always dressed in black. Black cowboy hat, black cowboy boots and shiny silver buckle. His face was weathered and wrinkled and his eyes the bluest of blue were always glazed over. He always showed up in the middle of the night and usually drunk.

The memory of him laying on top of me, pressing his old body into mine will not be the only memory I choose to keep. Although as it turns out, he was a pedofile, I cant help but remembering him letting me drive that old truck and shooting the shotgun. We went hunting for jack rabbits, fishing for bass and horseback riding for a day. Those are the memories that will help me balance the old man in to what I wanted him to be for me.

He didn’t know how much I just wanted him to be my grandpa. The odd finish to this visit was he never drove me home. He put me in a car with a stranger. It was his daughters (from another marriage) boyfriend who happened to be going that way. That is where my search ended. I knew there would never be a grandpa to love me for the grand daughter I was. Did I ever tell anyone? No, because I am the one who begged to go. In a child’s mind that is how it gets processed.  The karma played itself out and he passed away from prostate cancer. Imagine that.

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