Saturday, May 18, 2013

The House Next Door

Dear Friends, 

Please use caution when reading this post, it covers very sensitive subject matter and it is NOT appropriate for children. Thank you!

The House Next Door

Choking dust hangs heavy in the air with every step she takes toward the house next door.  The sun so bright it blinds.  The humidity oppressive. She reaches the front door and stops, staring blankly.  In a normal world, stepping into the cool shelter of a house on a scorching hot day would be a welcome relief, but her world is anything but normal.  Stepping into the house next door is like stepping into hell itself.  She is five years old.

Images hang heavy in her little mind of a dimly lit family room with curtains drawn to hide the horror.  The sleeper sofa bed open, sheets disheveled.  T.V blaring a soap opera, totally inappropriate for a child to be watching.  Then again nothing in the house next door is appropriate.  Not the death veil of cigarette smoke, not the filthy floors, and certainly not The Man sitting in the corner playing a "tickle game" with another little girl. 

A painting of Jesus hangs on the shadowy walls.  Jesus is knocking on a door.  His eyes are kind and welcoming.  In stark contrast, to the "lady" of the house next door.  She looks at the little girl, her eyes full of scorn.  The woman's accusing stare makes the child feel ashamed, but she doesn't seem to know why.  This is her babysitter. 

Her mother is working all night. She has to stay at the house next door. She certainly can not stay alone and she is too young to watch over her younger sister.  The Babysitter behaves differently when the little girl's mommy is around.  She is kind and clean.  She brings the girls cakes on their birthdays.  She lets the girls and their mom pick fresh fruits and vegetables from her garden, but at night the little girl has nightmares about The Babysitter chasing her out of the garden accusing her of stealing. 

The Man from the house next door is a smoker of Pall Mall cigarettes.  His breath smells of snuff and chewing tobacco.  Shirtless and sweaty he spends most of his days watching television and yelling at his wife, The Babysitter. He is fat and she is obese.  They eat fat back and their house reeks of old grease. She insists that the little girl help her put curlers in her hair.  Her scalp is spongy and her hair is oily. 

At night, the sofa bed is waiting for the little girl to snuggle in, but she is is ushered to the bedroom that The Man and The Babysitter share.  There are separate beds.  The little girl wants to sleep with her sister, but The Babysitter will not allow it.  She says that they will keep each other awake.  Every night, she scowls at the child and tells her to get in the other bed.  The Man is in that bed.  The little girl is five years old.  She does not know what is happening to her every night at the house next door.  

As time goes on, she does not understand what is happening to her in the daytime either. What she does understand is that she had better keep her mouth shut.  The Man has convinced her that if she says anything to anyone, he will do horrible things to her, her sister and her mom.  She is terrified because he lives at the house next door  And so, she plays along with the farce.  She begins to to get used to her surroundings.  After all, she is now six and she has been in survival mode long enough now that she has adapted somehow. The Babysitter is cruel, harsh and jealous of the little girl. While The Man is kind and defends the child.  She depends on him to protect her.  It is a warped, disgusting game of manipulation they have created in the house next door.   The little girl is caught in a web spun by a molester and his mistress. 

The year the little girl is to turn seven, an epiphany happens one quiet weekend afternoon.  The little girl's sister says something that catches their mother's attention.  The little girl's sister knows something that a little girl her age should not know.  And suddenly the little girl finds her voice and then there is light.  All the ugly wickedness comes rushing out from the darkness and into the light. Enough to drown someone if they aren't holding on for dear life.  

That poor mom!  You see, she was taken advantage of by the false kindness of a pretender during a very fragile and vulnerable time in her life. She rode many waves in the days and years to come.  Waves of grief, anger, guilt, fear and regret.

 And the little girl?  Well, let's just say she is still a work in progress, but she no longer lives in hell.  In fact, she has found much healing and restoration for her soul in her strong faith in Christ. 

That little girl is now a grown woman. She remembers that out of place painting from the house next door.  The one with the kind eyed Jesus, knocking at the door.  He has knocked at her heart's door and she has let Him in.  The Great Comforter has soothed her and given her the strength to say, "It is well with my soul."




  1. Melissa ....I just read this and wept....I am so Thankful we have Christ in our you with all my heart...Mom

    1. Through Christ all things are possible.
      Love you !