July Fire in Barbed Wire {6}

I apologize to all the regulars for making you hold off for months now. This is something I’m working on, hopefully, my installments will become more consistent. If you’d like to catch up or refresh your recollection you can find my complete anthology: Injustice: My Bell Jar Diaries Page, at the link below, the stories, currently {1}-{7}, and supporting pieces.


***Readers Beware***
These are true stories that may shock you — anger and haunt you. Posts under this category may contain disturbing content and language that could upset or trigger individuals.

It was July, in Oklahoma, we hit record highs that summer. I remember the sound of a famous Oklahoman, the Great Gary England of News 9, the best meteorologist our state has ever had, delivering the daily forecast. I pulled on my boots and walked out the door as I heard him say, “It’s gonna be a hot one, folks! Triple digits!” I was 14 years old that summer and little did I know, in the not too distant future, some earth-shattering news would be delivered — Stay tuned.

I shoved my canvas work gloves into my back pocket, threw my head forward and down, pulled my scrunchie off my wrist, and twisted my hair up into a messy bun. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and quietly said to myself, You got this. Don’t let him get to you. I turned the corner and headed towards the barn. There he stood, bending over the back of the red Dodge pickup parked in front of the sheet metal barn. I recall the glint, the glare of the barn getting right into my eyes like a blind spotlight: Quiet on the set! The World’s Natural – ACTION!

My muscles stiffened at the sight of him, I kept walking…Hell, what else could I do? All the confidence I mustered less than a minute ago had seemed to have evaporated into the humidity. We were going to put up a barbed wire fence on the far north side of our land. I walked right past him, grabbing my gloves out of my pocket, shoving my sweaty hands into each one as I went to get the post hole diggers. I drove six posts in, equal lengths apart, now came the hard part.

Pull it. Tight. TODAY! Come on, pull the lead out! PULL!

Yes, sir! I pulled my whole weight into it. (approx. 95 lb.)

I wiped the sweat off my forehead with the back of my arm and pulled harder.

It occurred to me at some point I was playing tug-o-war with an All-American linebacker in a burning HELL. What had I done to deserve this, I wonder? What did I do that was so egregious? We took maybe one water break. Shiny sharp barbed wire sizzling at temperature 102°F. NO Pressure, right?!

Pull your head out of your ass and pull it tighter!

I am, sir! Watch your tone sister, you’re gonna get…HURT. Come on, isn’t that a given? I thought right before — before he let it loose.

The hot barbed wire coiled around my arms like a prickly boa constrictor. The metal seared, ripping at my flesh, pulling off my canvas gloves. It kept wrapping and twisting like tentacles of pain attaching itself to every part of my hands and arms. Ruby red blood dripped at a steady beat on my blue jeans.

And here he came in his steel toe boots. Those damned boots. So strikingly familiar, the top, the very tip, the bottom, the side. I knew them oh, so well, too well. He kicked me square in my arms, which were stuck in front of my stomach, then again in my hip, leaning in each time, pushing the barbs in deeper. It smelled like sweat and pennies.

It smelled like sweat and pennies.

What is so hard?! Huh? I know you ain’t cryin. Are you cryin? There are no babies in this family.

No sir. I grimaced but wouldn’t let a tear fall.

Good. You better not be. Get outta that, hurry up, get the hose to clean yourself up, so we can get back to it.

I wore long sleeves the next day but was sweating to death on the bus, by the time I got to school I was soaked through. The teachers, the principal, my classmates — got the company line. It just got away from me. I slipped. It’s my own fault, didn’t wear the right gloves, it was an accident. Liar, liar, pants on fire! But what was I supposed to say? “Oh, this? This is nothing, Mrs. Hightower. He got mad because I wasn’t moving fast enough, I didn’t pull it hard enough. You should see the other stuff.” NOT. No freakin way. Are you kidding me?

As I type now, I look down, and see the multiple scars from that July day that will never ever go away.

Just as I chose to share, you chose to read. Thank you for continuing to read and comment!


  1. Whatever he was thinking, a 95 pound girl is not going to stretch barbed wire. Sad you still have the scars. We used a tractor, truck or “come-along” to stretch barbed wire and other fencing when I was a kid. It makes no sense at all to have expected you to stretch barbed wire. But he obviously had no sense at all other than to set you up for abuse.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. While I can imagine you were a supergirl to do what you had to do, tractors, trucks, cars and come-alongs are quite useful for fencing, and doing all kinds of work so much better than even a 95-pound supergirl who should have been reading, writing, drawing, playing, and dreaming instead of wresting barbed-wire boa constrictors and being beaten in the hot sun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the “Supergirl” complient. In my dreams, I read, wrote, drew, painted, and dreamed even more than I did in real life. I secretly hope one day I can have a daughter, named Lily who can do all of those things and more!!! Hint Hint/Wink Wink: If I ever mention a Lily it’s a metaphor for her.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for continuing to read and comment on my anthology, Cindy. I used to be very bitter about my past although, I still have bad days. Writing these is extremely cathartic…I appreciate you taking the time.


    1. Thank you, Marcia. Reading this anthology can be rough and it is difficult to convey what you feel or just don’t know what to say or how to respond at all. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. As a writer, any feedback/comments are so encouraging and motivated. Thank you, again. Hope to hear more from you! 😉 XOXO, Eleanor

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Never an excuse
    for any abuse,
    your story’s so sad
    made me real mad.
    It takes a gutsy sort of individual to pull through this sort of trauma. Hope the future ahead of you is much brighter. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jennifer, I appreciate you taking the time to read part of my story and comment. I understand sometimes it is hard to find words to respond to these posts. Thank you for reading and commenting, it really helps keep me motivated! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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