The crescent moon kissed sultry air over a dark Palouse sky, the loud roar of equipment could be heard throughout the neighborhood. A wave of frustration and a feeling that once again I had no control over my own life crashed around me. It was a school night and approaching 10 p.m. in our quiet residential area. This was the place we called home, keeping up our yard, making improvements, striving to be good members of this rural community.
I boldly called to him repeatedly but could not be heard over the chugging of a large digging apparatus that scooped up earth and rocks, depositing them into a truck. Tears stung my eyes as I stood near the stairs that lead to the vacant lot, calling until he finally looked my way. He nodded and waved turning back to the operator of the machinery making gestures that indicated the job was still not complete. My words had turned into clay, stone and dust, tumbling effortlessly into a predictable void.
He claimed that I was too concerned about other people, caring more about their boundaries and rights than his own. Years were spent weighing the benefit of utterances against the reality that what I said would most certainly be defied and vehemently opposed, placing me front and center to watch as his plan unfolded. When I told the children to stay next to me and out of the street, he insisted that they walk away on their own and go as they pleased. If I told them something was dangerous, he encouraged them to complete their action. A tug of war ensued and I stepped in boldly only when the children’s safety was a concern.
Our lives had come full circle from a stifling and oppressive existence to a guarded freedom and now within one month back to a total lack of autonomy. The sting of his hand on my back only days before still reverberated through our home and served as a reminder of the consequences for insubordination. A wave of anger washed over my body and forced me to raise my volume, calling his name until I had his full attention. For years I cowered as he reprimanded me for speaking out or communicating my opinion but now it could no longer be quieted with mere threats.
I looked at him and heard my voice bellow down the hill, STOP, IT IS TOO LATE STOP!