it was in a normal working class town, on a normal working class street in the midwest, that holt orphan #4708 grew up as an adopted korean girl in an all caucasion family in an all white town and began her life as thousands of adoptees before her and thousands after her would.
they seemed like the typical family of the day - a bread winning father, a stay-at-home mother, outwardly conservative, liberal minded but apparently upstanding church-going citizens, who were raising three well kept, well mannered children. they seemed like the model of stability.
they wanted to be good christians and do something charitable and were enchanted with images of adorable little asian children they'd seen in magazines. they thought that, if they sacrificed a little, they could fit one more child in, give it food and clothing and shelter. the idea of saving one of these waifs from a horrible life pleased them a lot. they didn't know anyone else who'd done that. they would be the first in their church, the first in their community. this idea tickled them, fascinated them, and captured them until it was something they absolutely had to follow through with.
enter the child. she arrives five days before christmas to great fanfare and celebration. much too much celebration in the eyes of the child's three new siblings. the mother dresses the child like a doll, is suddenly social, showing her new charge off to church, friends, and neighbors. spends lots of time making her clothing and training her to fit in with the family. that training, it turns out, was to be seen but not heard. to never complain, to always be grateful, and to keep oneself busy.
and thus, her happy life in america commenced. it was easy to keep her quiet - she was terrified to say or doanything to upset anyone. it was easy to take care of her - the television kept her attention focused. and soon, now that the novelty had worn thin, her mom fell back into the habit of shutting herself in at home and doing the bare minimum required to keep up the pretense of being a good parent. at the end of a long unfulfilling day of mundane household tasks, chain smoking and devouring romance novels, the mother gladly handed off all parenting duties to the man of the house.
the man of the house was not a man's man by any stretch of the imagination. yet he'd managed to transform his wimpy demeanor into something resembling cool by being a jazz musician and school music teacher. he was the kind of guy who wept openly and considered himself a renaissance man.
yet something was not quite right in that household. the eldest daughter ran away, was in trouble with the law, did drugs, and got pregnant. the eldest son was wound tighter than a drum, extremely reserved and seething with contempt for everyone, especially the new toddler. the youngest son seemed pretty normal and idolized his dad to a possibly disturbing degree. the parents never interacted except behind closed doors. there were no displays of affection in the family. there were no displays of anger in the family. there were simply no displays of any type. there was very little conversation or dialog, despite the father's attempts. there was very little interaction between anyone. it was orderly and sterile.
it was in this repressed environment that the little girl daily counted down the hours, keeping herself busy in total isolation. the people who moved around her were all gray and miserable - there were no hugs, no kisses, no playing - the only bright spot of her day was the homecoming of her dad, who seemed to have a little color left to him. and he doted on her. he took her to cultural events and played her music and sang to her and gave her rides and took an interest in everything she did. he bathed her and tucked her into bed and cared for her and she felt loved.
but this feeling only lasted a brief time. because the music he brought to her life took on a perverted dissonance and became a screeching cacophony crashing down upon her, filling up the empty spaces with painful noise. it became her prison.
the shower was a game where he was the car wash and she was the car, cleaning all her nooks and crannies. and then the shower became a first anatomy lesson. she didn't know that an erection was not the normal state of a man's penis. she knew she felt anxiety and disgust when he made her touch it. she suspected other little girls did not have to do this to their fathers. she did not see this on tv when she was learning about normal american families. he told her not to mention it to mommy, as this might hurt her feelings. because mommy was abnormally delicate - her feelings got hurt too easily. it would be her fault if mommy's feelings got hurt.
the bed time stories dispensed with book reading. the anatomy lessons continued there. without shower water. with saliva. he never hurt her. he would kiss her all over and tell her how much he loved her. she felt like vomiting. she felt like she was betraying her mother against her will. she knew mommys and daddys were supposed to love each other. not daddys and daughters. she laid there wishing her brother would burst through the door and rescue her. she wondered why nobody else wanted to tell her bed time stories, why they were all happy to let him be the only one to enter her room at night. she wished she didn't have her own bedroom. he told her not to say anything to anybody about their secret. he told her mommy was unstable and if anyone found out, mommy would find out, and it would destroy her.
the little girl became more reserved. she stopped laughing out loud. she stopped talking to anyone. she was afraid the secret might slip out and she would destroy another human being. she would destroy many human beings. she was responsible for all those lives. she was about four years old when this started.
the proud adoptive parents continued to show her off to the world like a precious souvenir, but the novelty had worn off. they took the little girl to gatherings of other international adoptees and the little girl would watch in horror as the adoptive parents bragged and got into pissing matches about how gifted their children were, or what adorable things they would do, or how assimilated they were. they tried to get her interested in cultural matters about her birth country, but she could see they didn't really care if it was important to her or not - it was more an embellishment they wanted to appropriate for their souvenir. the other adoptees seemed to be in various states of being opportunistic and spoiled, or confused, or like her, sad and disgusted and not wanting any part of the circus.
she got taunted at school for looking different. and it would literally follow her on her walk home from school. from the moment she woke 'til the moment she closed her eyes, every human she saw was caucasion. she felt caucasion. but she was constantly told by others that she was different. she looked in the mirror and was shocked to not see a caucasion face staring back at her. this was her waking life. at night were the continuing visits by her father. she dreamed of airplanes arriving in america and she tried to turn the airplane around. it never did. she was trapped.
one time the mother went away for a week to care for her sick mother. the father made the daughter sleep in his bed every night, in her mother's spot. talking with the neighbors, he told them how the daughter was now the lady of the house, and that she was even his little bed partner. the little girl stared at the neighbors, eyes imploring them to save her. they didn't. the father gloated. there was no one the little girl could tell. he could tell the truth of her abuse and captivity publicly, and no one was going to do a thing. she was trapped.
as the years rolled on and bedtime stories could not be passed off as an excuse for visits, the father paid visits on weekends after late night gigs. a music gig was a guaranteed visit, and the girl would steel herself knowing what was to come. she would lay in her bed and anticipate the door opening, the smell of alcohol, the legs standing by her bed. despite knowing what was to happen, she still pretended to sleep, hoping some charity would enter his heart and he wouldn't disturb her. it never did. in his minds eye he was waking her with pleasure, because they were lovers, even though she never returned anything but lay there stiff as a board.
she grew to loathe and hate him. she gave him shit at every possible private opportunity. she became a small lolita, analyzing him for any weakness, finding control where she could, blackmailing him for things she wanted. she felt evil and diabolical for doing this, but it felt better than being totally helpless. she had no real friends, could confide in no one. she was totally isolated. she became promiscuous. lacking the tools to form relationships and knowing nothing but sex, it was the only means by which she felt company or intimacy. it became the turn of the screw in the face of her father. he could get away with it, but he would pay for his sins somehow. she reminded him whenever she could, that her love was stolen, and that he was a criminal. she could give it away to anyone. preferred to give it away to anyone but him.
she asked a friend to live with them and told her parents she was leaving. they dragged her to their minister. the very same minister who had molested her on a church outing. he told them they should take her to family counseling and they shouldn't allow a minor to make the rules. they all went, but it soon devolved into couples counseling she was forced to be party to. of course the incest was never brought up. lies flew thick. the powder keg that was their family was about to explode. all the other children had grown and left, and it was just the three of them coming home to a building silent tension so thick and suffocating something very bad was sure to happen.
the counselor moved away, and after the last session the family came home in a more aggravated state than normal. the father sat at the head of the table, burst into tears, and told the mother of his crimes. the mothers jaw dropped. she asked the father if he'd molested any of the other (biological) children and he said no. he said he'd tried with the oldest daughter, but she had said, "no."
the daughter's blood ran cold. it drained out of her and was replaced by a rage so terrible it frightened her. for twelve years she had gone through daily hell to keep this secret to protect this repressed, unstable woman. day after day, year after year, isolating herself from the world, the knowledge and tension ripping her apart, in an effort to prevent shattering multiple lives, and in one moment this man, this coward, this criminal, had come clean and done away all that effort just to make himself feel better, and damn the consequences.
she scanned the room for knives - all in a drawer too far away. she remembered the hunting rifles - too far away. she wanted to bash his head in. all she could think about was how to make this man die. she desperately looked for any heavy object she could throw. this futility of her efforts, all those wasted years, the utter profound loneliness, the emotional deprivation, the lack of love and the twisting of love, the humiliation of all she had suffered for naught, all of the pent up injustice coiled up for a tragic ending she couldn't control. and to add insult to injury, all his biological daughter had to do was say no. die. die. die. was all she could think. all she could think.
and then her mother got up. she quietly said, "you bastard." turned and walked into her room. father and daughter sat in silence. the father left the house. left alone again, the daughter went to her room and fell on the floor a shell of a person. a dried up husk. she was sixteen.
the mother never mentioned it again. the confession was erased. they went on with the charade of their lives and the daughter left at the first opportunity.