The dollhouse? He broke the fucking dollhouse too?
In my early 20’s, I naively thought someone had to hit you to constitute abuse. I didn’t know that breaking all of your shit was its own form of abuse. And that’s what Bill did. He broke all of my shit. In an old, haunted house that we lived in. (Well…survived in.)
He had already smashed a television, a coffee table, chairs, windows…any object in arm’s reach. He had given me a dollhouse for Christmas. I added pieces to it, creating a make-believe happy home where there was none. Now just like our miserable relationship, it too was in pieces.
As I cleaned up the mess he made, the ghosts watched me. Sometimes the presence of a ghost or two can be comforting, except in that house. Even though I despised Bill at this point, I was always slightly relieved when he would return. Ominous ghostly presence versus abusive boyfriend? Hmmm…sometimes life offers you shitty choices.
To this day, I dream of that place. I’m locked in and can’t get out. The house is breathing and groaning as if it’s coming to life. I run down the stairs to escape, but the steps never end. The walls move slowly inward in an attempt to touch me. I usually wake up startled, sometimes screaming.
Perhaps it’s a form of PTSD from that piss-poor relationship. Or perhaps that house still remembers me and reaches out to me from time to time.
One night sleeping next to Bill, I woke up out of a sound sleep. I slept on my arm and was shaking out the pins and needles, hazy but awake. Then I felt something move toward my bedside. A distinctly dark and cold presence. It stood above me for a moment then seemed to bend down, near my face. I turned my head away from it, in weak defense.
“Beth!” it whispered aggressively, inches from my face.
I let out an ear-piercing scream. Bill woke up and immediately began yelling.
“What the fuck?!!”
“Someone is in this room! Turn on the light!” I pleaded.
He did, and of course (just like the movies), no one was there. I stayed awake the rest of the night. After a brush with the supernatural, sleep didn’t seem remotely possible.
The next day, I felt like a zombie. I tried to tell my best friend Krissie what happened. The voice, not quite male, not quite female. That harsh and sudden whisper.
“You have to get out, Beth. That house, that relationship,” she warned. “Your mind is playing tricks on you.”
Sleeping was difficult for the next few months. I’d wake in the middle of the night, instantly terrified. When would it return? Did it want to hurt me? Why couldn't it go after Bill?
The relationship with Bill sickened. Fights escalated, police involved. When he wasn’t home, I packed my boxes and bags and hid them in my closet. My escape was forming though I had no clue where to go.
During my last week there, I remained as Zen-like as possible, just biding my time. A fight erupted nonetheless.
Slam. Boom. Things began flying. What was there left to break, you fucking idiot?
“I know all about the shit you have in your closet. You think I'm stupid?”
He headed down the steps to the bedroom. His intention: destroy the contents of my closet that including a newly purchased stereo and my mom’s jewelry box.
I grabbed a large knife from the kitchen and followed him downstairs to the bedroom.
“Touch that closet door and I’ll kill you.” I hissed, possessed.
I raised the knife over my head to reinforce the point. Then he laughed at me. This was not the thing to do. I charged him, screaming banshee style. He grabbed a large pillow to protect himself. I stabbed at it repeatedly.
He peeked over the pillow at one point. The look on his face will stay with me until my final day. He was terrified, white as a ghost. Good, good! For once, I had become the terror of the house. Even the ghosts ran for cover.
The police carted us off. Since I had called about him in the past, I was permitted to place a restraining order on him. He moved out and I was left in the house alone. My bags were packed and out in the open. I was ready to go. I had so little left to take with me. It had all been broken. But I was taking me with me. Thankfully.
During one of the last nights there, I woke up to go the bathroom. When I returned, I hurried under the covers. But before I could fall asleep, that dark presence was by my side once again. The voice wasn’t as distinct as the first time.
It whispered hurriedly to me:
I didn’t scream this time. I didn’t lie awake frightened all night. This entity knew I was scared, I believe. It said something as quickly as possible that would convey some form of friendliness. Hi. A ghost said hi to me!
In a few days, I said goodbye to that house and one of the stormiest and sickest phases of my life…though I don’t know if that house has ever completely let me go.