DADDY by Kristin Garth

Kristin Garth, Short Stories

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                Inbox – iCloud  3:23 am

 

Fine let’s talk this way

 

To:  mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

Maybe this way you won’t hang up on me again or worry about my roommate knowing my sordid secret.  She’s not even here to peek over my shoulder at what I’m typing – actually would never do that – the nicest person I know in the state of Utah.  I’d never tell her what he did, but even if I did, she would never spread it around.  She wears a ruby ring her father got her to remind her of the value of a virtuous woman.  He’d probably make her change rooms.

 

I’m not going to press charges, okay?  Does that make you happy.  Nobody would believe me anyway, and it’s just going to cause a lot of trouble.  I just want to come home.  Please let me come home.  I’ll finish my degree at UWF.  It’s not going to work out here.  I’m begging you to understand.

 

Patty

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                         Inbox – iCloud 6:01 pm

 

Please don’t be mad

 

To: mgiddis@aol.com

 

Stayed up all night thinking after I wrote your letter.  To be honest with you, I haven’t been sleeping much since it happened.  Was already ashamed of myself and prepared to tell you I won’t be asking to come home again, before I read your letter — after, yes, even more so. 

 

It’s not like I want to talk about it either.  Things have happened though – more things beyond my control.  My friend Tia, the one person who knows everything – who saw me right after the camping trip, injured and not in my right mind, Daddy, you have to understand that – she’s told the Bishop.  It wasn’t her fault.  The Bishop saw me leave church early today.  They were singing “I Am A Child of God,” and I felt sick to my stomach and ran outside.  Tia says the Bishop cornered her after sacrament and said, “Did Patty do something she shouldn’t have done?”  I mean what could she said to that, Daddy?  She told him, “No, somebody did something to her.”

 

Bishop Perry came to the dorms.  I didn’t want to tell him anything.  Tia was there, holding my hand.  He said to me, “If you don’t tell me, Patty, what this young man did to you, he will do it to someone else.”

 

I mean, what was I supposed to say that?

 

I told him everything Marc did – all of it, as best I could.  Didn’t want to tell his name.  Like you said, we do not want trouble.

 

My bishop’s a shrink, Daddy – that’s his job.  I know how you feel about those – and how you said the church felt about them, but Mormonism is a lot different in Florida than it is in Utah.  I don’t know what to say.  It was never my idea to come here in the first place. 

 

He listened to every detail of it – all the stuff that you don’t want to me to speak about, that I was asleep when it started, how hard he choked me and the bruises but his soft words in my ear.   He said this kind of person chooses the smallest and weakest victims.  And then he said, “If he’s married, Patty, that means he’s going to have a child someday, and he will molest this child unless you do something right now.”

 

I mean, Daddy, I know he’s married.  He talked about it in the van on the way to the camping trip and that he just had a baby. 

 

I told him the name, and he wrote it down on his yellow legal pad.

 

I’m sorry, Daddy. 

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                    Inbox – iCloud 11:03 am

 

I am the worst daughter

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

 

Daddy,

 

Michelle called last night.  She said you’re sick.  I’m the worst daughter.  Haven’t asked about you in days.  Just me me me and it it it.  All I think about is myself.

 

Are you feeling better today?  I would call, Daddy, but I’m so afraid to say the wrong thing and have you hang up on me again. I think it’s better we communicate like this where I can finish my thoughts and you don’t have to worry about anyone listening and judging me or maligning my character with talk about “it.” 

 

I’m better.  I really am.

 

Bishop Perry came by to see me.  Joella told him I hadn’t been eating or sleeping, and so he’s sending me to the counseling center.  Please don’t be angry.  I know how you feel about that.  I even told, “My father doesn’t want me speaking to any counselors or anyone – especially about ‘it.’”  But, Daddy, Bishop Perry said, “Well, Patty, your Heavenly Father does.”  And he told me to tell you that.

 

Then the wildest thing happened, Bishop Perry told me I had to come with him and have lunch.  I tried to tell him my not eating had nothing to do with “it,” but he didn’t believe me even when I explained how Joy ordered all the female soloists’ costumes a size too small on purpose, so I have to lose five pounds by next week or someone who fits into the costume dances the part.  Bishop Perry said he didn’t care about any of that, and he took Joella and I to Cosmo’s and ordered bacon cheeseburgers and malts, without even asking.  It was the best meal I had all year.

 

I really miss your voice Dad and I hope you’re going to be okay.

 

Patty

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                         InboxiCloud  11:09 pm

 

I know we just got off the phone ….

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

Thank you for calling me tonight.  I know you say you’re getting better but I do wish you’d go to a doctor.  I’m doing it again, and I promised I wouldn’t. 

 

Is “break a leg” an appropriate thing to say to debaters too?  If so, say it to Michelle. 

 

I’m nervous about tomorrow.  I wish I had her strength.  Thank you for being understanding.  I know it’s not how you’d like me to handle my problems.  I wish I was strong enough to do it your way.

 

Patty

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                         Inbox-iCloud 3:23 pm

 

Counseling

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

I went to counseling today.  Cried for about an hour and a half straight.  My counselor does not look like a shrink at all —  or anyone else at this school.  He was wearing black jeans and a leather jacket and had a motorcycle helmet on his desk. His name is Dr. Graves.

 

Asked me so many questions, just getting to know me.  All about the camping trip, all the conversations I had with Marc on the way there, in the van.  Asked me, Daddy, why I didn’t press charges.  I told him everything you said.  He says if I was three months younger, he would have had to file a complaint himself.  But I’m 18, so don’t worry, he can’t do anything.

 

He wanted to know everything I knew about Marc – a lot I didn’t know.  I only knew him one night.  He’s 30 and has a wife, poli sci major.  Marc knows a lot more about me – even where my dorm is apparently.  I’m so stupid like that, Daddy.  I answered all those kinds of questions in the back of van surrounded by those older girls who knew him and acted like he was a saint.  Dr. Graves said Marc knew what he was doing, and it was not my fault, but I don’t know – I just feel like something bad is going to happen, again, for sure.  I can’t shake it.  I know you don’t want to hear that.

 

Dr. Graves asked if I had a boyfriend.  Told him about Roger and how he wants me to transfer to UT Austin to be with him, but how you said I need to be an independent woman.  He asked if Roger was Mormon, and I laughed. He asked me how you felt about that?  I told the truth, Daddy, that you hate it. 

 

I asked Dr. Graves about what Bishop Perry said about Marc having to go to counseling himself.  Dr. Graves said that he certainly hadn’t come in yet.  I was surprised he would just tell me that – I mean isn’t there doctor/patient confidentiality — but he did.  It’s what I like about Dr. Graves, I feel like for the first time he’s really on my side completely. 

 

I even asked him, “Well, I mean, couldn’t he be seeing another counselor?” Dr. Graves just said, “I mean, I’ll find out for sure, but men like him are usually sent to me.”

 

The time went so fast in there, and then he said he wanted me to give me a prescription for some sleeping pills.  Asked me if I was depressed, and I broke down crying and couldn’t stop.  He scribbled on a prescription pad.  Told me to take one tonight and go to bed early.  That I needed it – I was too pretty to do this to myself.  That was such a nice thing to say.

 

I have practice for the show tonight, but then I’m going home and going straight to bed.  I know you don’t believe in this stuff – counseling, medication, but Daddy I can’t tell you how nice it is to know I’ll be able to sleep.

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                       Inbox – iCloud 7:13 am

 

Sorry I missed your called last night.

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

Sorry I missed your call last night.  Dr. Graves was right.  I slept through the night.  Joella couldn’t even wake me.  Got your message this morning and tried to call, but you’d already left for work.   Feel like my head is full of cotton, but Dr. Graves says it’s to be expected and will wear off in a couple of hours. 

 

Thank you for thinking about me.  I’m actually okay.

 

Patty

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                       Inbox-iCloud 11:12 am

 

Opening night!

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

Tried on my costume two days ago, and it actually fit!  If I don’t eat anything today, I may actually look thin up there.  Even Joy couldn’t find anything negative to say.  Wish you were here. 

 

Patty

 

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                       Inbox-iCloud 11:03 pm

 

 

I don’t even know what to say.

 

To: Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Daddy,

 

Dr. Graves and I got into an awful fight today.  I ran out of his office.  He keeps saying Marc raped me, and I keep saying that isn’t true, that what Marc did was not exactly that because Daddy I know that you said it wasn’t – that I wasn’t ruined.  Dr. Graves says it was rape.  He is angry with me that we won’t press charges – that I won’t make a formal complaint with the school, something on paper – he says paper trails are important when dealing with institutions.  I said I’m not dealing with anyone, and he said I’m being shortsighted and shouldn’t make any decisions yet. 

 

Nothing has been the same since the show.  I know I said I wouldn’t bring it up again, but I’m sure that I saw Marc there – in the second row.  Dr. Graves says something bad is going to happen to me while the university covers this up again.  He said it’s happened before, and this time he’s not going to be a pawn in a sick game, and neither should I. 

 

I don’t know what to do about Dr. Graves.  Sometimes he is so patient and nice.  Other times he is so demanding of me to do things his way, to talk about my body and very personal things.  To follow his advice and make a paper trail.   He says this is an evil place, and he knows more than anybody – though I should be starting to see it at this point.   He came to my show and sent gardenias to me backstage.  I told him about the bushes we had at home, and he remembered.

 

 

Why does he want to change me so much?  What is wrong with me?  It’s lunchtime and my head still feels stuffed with cotton.  Maybe that’s why this is all so confusing.  I don’t think I’m going to see him anymore.  Do you think that is okay?

 

Patty

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                              Inbox – iCloud 12:02 pm

 

Marc just called here

 

To: Mgiddis@aol.com

 

Marc just called here.  Just now.  Joella answered the phone.  Didn’t know who he was, but she woke me and said she had a bad feeling inside.  It was him, Daddy.  He said, “I want you to know that I know what we did was wrong.”  I didn’t do anything, Daddy, except go to sleep in a sleeping bag and wake up being choked and hurt by this man.  He told me that he very much wanted to see me, that he knew I lived in Meredith Hall, but we didn’t have to meet there; we could go to dinner and talk.  I could hardly speak I was shaking so much.  All I could say was “Never call me again.”  Joella had to take the phone away from me and hang it up.  What am I going to do Daddy?  How did he get my phone number?” 

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                         Inbox- iCloud 2:24 am

 

I did what you said.

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

I went to the Bishop and told him what happened.  Told him about the show and how I was sure Marc was there, too.  And now he has my phone number?  I asked him what was going on?  What are they going to do?

 

The bishop told me he gave Marc my phone number — that Marc is very sorry and that the Bishop only wanted to help me, that he and Marc’s bishop thought it was  a good idea.  He said Marc had come in and admitted everything to his bishop, said he was overcome and could not control himself, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make amends.  They think he is a good man who made a mistake.

 

I had the dream again about his arms, the one choking me while the other – I can’t talk to you about this, Daddy.  I’m thinking about going to go back to Dr. Graves.  I need a refill of this medication — only way I’m going to sleep.  I’ll go crazy stay awake another night.

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                        Inbox- iCloud 3:04 pm

 

I didn’t go.

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

 

I did what you said and tried to pray but it just doesn’t work for me like it works for you.  Roger called me last night and said I need to get out of this place, that nothing is ever going to get better while I’m here.  I know you said, Dad, but when he said it just then, it sounded exactly right. 

 

School isn’t going well.  I’m failing French.  I don’t go to a lot of my classes because when I finally fall asleep I can’t make myself wake up.  I don’t know how staying here could ever work out.

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                       Inbox-iCloud 12:12 am

 

You would never believe who was just here.

 

To:  Mgiddis@aol.com

 

 

I know you wouldn’t like it, but it was Dr. Graves.  He’s allowed to be in the girl’s dorms because he’s a doctor, so please don’t be too upset.  I didn’t tell you that he has been calling me.  Joella gave me a couple of his messages since I stopped going to counseling.  He just said he was terribly worried and saw I renewed my prescription though I hadn’t been coming in. 

 

Got kind of nervous when he said that as a doctor he has full access to all my medical history with the university clinic and that Elavil is a powerful medication to be on without any kind of guidance.  I guess it makes sense.  It was still a surprise he came but I guess it just shows he cares.

 

We talked for a long time, and he told me he was sorry if he had pushed me too hard in his office the other day.  I told him that it was very important to me that I was still a virgin – I know it’s important to you.  And I was because Marc had not done that with me.  Dr. Graves agreed.

 

We went for a walk and then sat on a bench under the stars.  It was the most beautiful experience I’ve had in Utah.  I told him so many things – much more than I was able to in that bright office.  He is much more of a friend than a counselor.  I’m allowed to have friends, Daddy.  I need one very much.

 

I agreed to go back to counseling.  He says we don’t have to do it in the office.  We can do it in different places like this.  He walked me home and gave me my medication himself with a big glass of water and tucked me into bed.  It was the safest I’ve felt in a long time. 

 

Joella is being weird about it.  Says it was creepy, but it was the best night I’ve had since I came to this school.  I felt like I was home again.

 

After he left, I got up to write you this letter before this pill knocks me out.  I just wanted you to know things are looking up.  Maybe I can make it here after all.

 

Patty

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                       Inbox – iCloud 11:12 am

 

I’m sorry that you cannot be happy for me when I’m making such progress.

 

To: Mgiddis@aol.com

 

It really makes me sad inside to know it’s only when I’m in the depths of depression that you and I can be close. I will not turn Alan (Dr. Graves) away because he cares about me.  It is nice to have that here.  It’s nice to have that.

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                         Inbox – iCloud 12:51 pm

 

Alan is saving my life.

 

To: Mgiddis@aol.com

 

I’m writing to you because the end of the semester is coming, and what I’ve been trying to tell you is that I’m failing, not only French but my dance classes as well.  There’s nothing to worry about that.  The important thing, as Alan says, is I am using this time to get well.  He’s saving my life.  I don’t have to tell you that before he came along, I couldn’t even eat or sleep much less live a real life – with any kind of pleasure. 

 

I know all you’re worried about is the grades, and it just shows how messed up your priorities — your whole worldview is – like everyone here.   I did what Alan said finally and made a complaint, and he’s helped me find a lawyer.  Not a criminal one — nothing is going to be in the newspapers or anything like that.  He’s going to – I’m going to sue the university for their oversight and cover-up of my assault. He knows a lot of insider information about how this happened here before – they have lied to the FBI and Alan has proof.  They school is going to have to settle out of court to keep him quiet.  Alan says they are going to have to let me withdraw out of my classes due to the psychological trauma they have created. 

 

He’s helped them cover it up before because they blackmailed him and threatened him about some of his practices – which of course, are beyond their puritanical understanding. We’re not afraid of them now though – either of us.  Alan believes, something good is going to come from this – for both of us and for a lot of other people, too. 

 

Alan has been ready to leave this place for a long time.  He’s doing a lot of groundbreaking work with repressed memories, reenacting childhood traumas to desensitize people and help them move on.  I have literally been reborn – you think that is some kooky psychological speak or insane, but it’s a literal truth.  He tied me naked into blankets, covering my face, for hours until I was strong enough to be reborn.  How I cried and screamed even – but then I fought my way out and into his arms and I am his now. 

 

He is my daddy — done things to protect me you never would.  I won’t be coming home over the break.  I’m very small now and cannot travel alone. 

 

 

 

 

PATTY GIDDIS                                                                                       Inbox – iCloud 2:24 pm

 

Do not bother Joella with your phone calls at the dorm anymore.

 

Time:  3:24

 

You are harassing other people now, and you need to stop.  I don’t live at the dorms anymore.  How could I live inside an institution I’m suing? That makes no sense.  It’s all for the best.  I never would have come here except it was your fantasy school.  I’m not Mormon or a good girl or a virgin anymore.  It’s not a place for me. 

 

Alan and I have spent endless hours talking about my childhood.  He knows what you’ve done to me – the other me, when I was yours to break, before I was reborn and in gentle hands.  None of your threats about pressing charges against Alan have any validity.  He doesn’t need a license anymore.  He’s not a practicing psychologist.  He’s creating his own spiritual retreat where he will not be constrained in his methodologies and he can help lots of people like me.  We have freedom of religion in this country, as you well know.

 

You, however, should think twice about threatening me when there is no criminal statute of limitations on sex abuse of children under the age of 16  – much less the age of five.  I used to be the kind of girl who wouldn’t press charges but I’m afraid if you persist you will understand how true it is that I am reborn. 

 

This is the last email you’ll receive from me.  This is the email address of a dead girl.  Alan doesn’t want me to open it anymore and be exposed to your poison ever again.  You sent a ghost to this place of a girl you killed, and Alan resurrected something else.  Leave us alone.  It’s naptime now.  I must go.

 

Penelope Graves

 

 


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