Joanne Bechtel


Eye In The Sky


One Christmas not long ago I bought myself a small 14 Karat gold necklace with a locket attached. I wanted to place my sadness from my childhood into my locket because I could no longer carry the pain.

During my lifetime I could never account how many raw acts of hate I personally received from my father. It could have been a hateful look, a nasty opinion, he had hundreds of those or a violent act toward me.

He was a wild beast when he put his hands on me. He liked to use an object to inflict pain. It was usually a thick leather belt.

This beast was wild with hate one afternoon, energized and excited to beat me; blow after blowing it came down on me hard and intentionally. The belt hurt and he kept at it with all his might.

Suddenly, he stopped, he looked at me, his first-born daughter, and said, “This isn’t enough for you.” I lay across the fireplace in our basement. I’m a hundred pounds as a teenager. He goes out to his garage, and he is trying to open the door to the basement but the 2 x 4 board he has in his grip is getting stuck. Oh, Jesus, can I run? I’m not allowed right? I’m submissive, I comply with the monster that is my father. Every hit he made sure not to miss my neck, upper back, lower back, my legs, ankles, again and again, he must control and break me, yes break me. My body goes limp with fear, pain, confusion and shame.

Silence covered our entire home. My mother and sister listened upstairs in fear.

The next day I’m back at our dinner table at 4:30 eating dinner with the evil, demented, insane monster.

I was living in his house and it could literally happen again.

Joanne Bechtel's photography has appeared on the cover of Frederick's Child Magazine, Typehouse Literary Magazine Issues 22 and 25, and Hedge Apple 2022.
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