as a young child

i had no fear of heights

i liked to climb

in the woods behind our house

i’d look for perfect “climbing”trees

ones with knots and branches

for hand holds and sure footing

a tree made a great hiding spot during hide and seek

because noone was looking up



the house we lived in for a while

before the bank foreclosed

was a “Jim Walter’s Home

one of those houses you get for a bargain

because its not complete…you are supposed to finish it yourselves

it was one of those things my dad just never got around to actually doing

so we had sheet-rock walls and bare rafters the entire time we lived there

i discovered early on

if you climbed into the top of my bedroom closet

you could easily get up on the rafters

i would carefully, quietly walk beam to beam

it felt safe and peaceful

up there above everyone


there was this one piece of plywood

that the original construction crew had left behind

it was big enough for me to sit and play

sometimes when i was in trouble

(i was in trouble a lot)

i would go up there to hide

i was sure no one else could find me

much less get up there

so one time when i was in major trouble

after my tongue lashing

when my dad went to get something

to do the non verbal part of my punishement

i ran to my closet and up i went

i curled up on the plywood and cried myself to sleep

i was startled awake by being picked up by one ankle and dangled upside down

above the straight drop to the floor ten feet below

my dad was yelling as intensely as i was crying

he kept swinging me and threatened to drop me if i didn’t stop crying

i knew enough not to take his threats as empty promises

it took biting through my lip but i stopped crying

the metallic taste of blood calmed me somehow

i escaped with a beating instead of a fall

but the fear remained

~Melanie Blackwell


Filed under Poetry, Stories

30 responses to “Acrophobia

  1. bgbowers

    Brutal. This piece would be truly wonderful if you fleshed it out into a piece of flash fiction. I love the honesty and raw emotion. xox

  2. Awww Melanie this breaks my heart (hugs). That is a truly terrifying experience

  3. Soughik

    I wish I had been there to protect you under the apron of my love……..,how can I love you now to absorb all the memories of your oceanic pain? Only if I knew how…., perhaps it is the weight of your own silent tears expressed through your words that has the power to heal encounters of the dark kind. Perhaps the best help I can provide is to remind you that now you have the power to replace those memories with images of your own choosing rather than live a life of captivity in the hands of those memories. Reach deep inside and tear down the veil of dark memories to allow your own sun, light the way for all the children who are waiting for you to brighten their moments. Yes, there are millions waiting for you to awaken their senses to the power within even though they are still children. Awakening knows no age as barrier to truth. Empower those children with the knowledge of the light within. Lead them to march with you with the torches lit by the power of their internal light. The world is your stage, and your words have the power to uproot tyranny.. and yes, I will join you in your walk holding your arms up with the staff of victory over evil. In the face of truth, darkness has no
    chance to dominate the world. Expose the lie. It is all in the power of the life we choose to create. It is all up to every single one of us to empower the child within. Know the worth of your life. It spells responsibility to enlighten the world through the means you have been gifted to do. You are the gift of light, you are Love!

    • The entirety of my childhood was in a word bad. Yes it did shape me but it does not define me. I write about it as a way to express some of the whys as to who I am and as a form of release. While it was not a happy time in my life I wouldn’t change things… because if I had not been in those circumstances i would not have left home when i did and i would not have made the subsequent decisions and made the friends that I have now.

      Thank you for your (as always too kind) lovely, caring comment. Just know that I am ok. I write about it not because I’m still in that moment but because i have not forgotten and it did happen and maybe, just maybe I can help raise awareness to the horrors that continue in other children’s lives daily.

  4. This was heartbraking,I admire your strenght to put it bare out like this.

  5. Sweet Friend, my heart breaks that you had to endure such things. I praise God that you survived and are here with us today….so many do not survive, if not physically then mentally. You are a gift to us, and your honesty is beautiful. Keeping you in my prayers.

  6. I picture your father dangling by his ankle, being swung back and forth by a lovely, huge, strong man from the top of a skyscraper. And then, after your father bites through his lips to stop screaming, I see the lovely, strong man opening his hands and watching your father fall…all the way down. The food at the party afterward would be delicious and poems would be read in praise of your wonderfulness, talent and beauty. A fun time would be had by all and the sun, moon and stars would join in the celebration and rejoice. XXOO

  7. what terrible circumstance for a child to endure

  8. It is heartbreaking to read your words. It is easy to visualize what you went through because you write so well, but very difficult to accept that others treat children this way. It is an issue very close to my heart as I work with children every day. There are so many out there who don’t have a voice. Your expression of your past is part of the awareness. I am so sorry for the pain you endured. You have been blessed with a gift to write and hopefully this has helped in your journey of healing. ((hugs))

  9. laurie27wsmith

    I found solace under the small dining room table with the tablecloth pulled down so no one could see me.

  10. Joy

    It’s amazing you can take such a terrible memory and turn into a piece of poetry. Well written. I hope the writing was cathartic. You’re brave to share.

  11. this makes me so glad my dad left, i think even tho my mom and would not have believed it then fate was protecting us form things going sour ntho it would never have gotten to this. i hope someday your dad make peace with you if there are unresolved things, it sounds as if this is not the only incident? i’ll send you big fat smoochy hugs cuz no one should ever be afraid of a parent or something they may do. oxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    • I’m glad he left then too! And I’ll take big hugs smootchy or not any day of the week 😉

      Not the only incident by far…actually one of the lesser ones. There will be no making peace but it really is for the best. He is no longer part of my life 🙂

  12. you started your story with life in an unfinished house, and now you can live a new story in a finished house with an unfinished life. One is the foundation for the other. These things that sadly happen can happily give you the vision to be the person you know others should have been.
    A moving post you did, nicely written and poetically powerful.

  13. So sad – but so well written. To live in a house with fear makes it an unfinished home. Gentle hugs.

    Warm wishes ~ Wendy

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