I have been told that anticipation is generally a good thing. Waiting for a gift, waiting for a day. A holiday round the corner, a cup of cocoa at the end of the day- it’s all very uplifting to think about. Except that I tend to associate those butterflies in my stomach with an entirely different set of things.
Like waiting for results, and the inevitable blow up that would follow every single report card. Like exams, because no matter how well I wrote it, I could never walk away feeling anything but defeat, because I knew the said report card disaster would inevitably follow. In my house, getting anything below 90% was unacceptable, and open to being a punishable offense. That was anticipation.
Anticipation was waiting for dad to get home, when he called before his flight home and said, “you wait till you see what I’m going to do you. It’s time you learnt your lesson.” And I would had no idea what the ‘lesson’ was going to be this time, and me and mom would spend half a day watching the clock and going to pieces imagining what he was going to do this time. And sometimes when he came, his mood would have cooled down on his own, but we would be reduced to nervous wrecks already.
Anticipation was the times when he would backhand me out of nowhere. There would always be this silence. Funnily enough the face dad makes while hitting me is absolutely imprinted in my mind, lips curled and jaw clenched. Sometimes when he laughs I can’t help but think how he looks so much the same when his beast mode is on.
Anticipation is the time I had to go the dentist with half a swollen face and pretend that I’d fallen onto my face and that had loosened my tooth. Surprisingly enough, the well placed blow had actually knocked my impacted molar loose, something I didn’t even know about. It was practically an extraction, albeit without anesthesia, lol.
Anticipation was waiting for him in my room the day he locked me in and went out to but another belt because the one he had actually broke, and his other belt had metal studs in it. Anticipation was staying hungry for two days, trying to figure out how to eat again, because my dog hadn’t finished the sandwich twelve year old me had given her. And when I got back from school, the sandwich my dog had taken a bite out of was sitting on the dining table, so that I would finish it and ‘learn’ my lesson about wasting food. I did, eventually. The lesson about how much of a monster he is. I think that’s one lesson I’ve been learning all my life.
Anticipation is that. That and flinching every time dad walks by too close. It’s about putting shoes away and wincing because you know exactly what they feel like bashed against your face. Anticipation is having nothing to look forward to, except the same bomb diffusal squad- like tension.
Life would suck if that was all I had to look forward to. But I don’t. I have a brand new day ahead of me every day that I wake up. I have people to love and people to be loved by. Most of all, I have myself- and I like that anticipation. I’m going to be a very happy person one day, and that’s all the butterflies of the right sort.