Spartan, that’s how dad calls something that is difficult. Sitting in the cold is Spartan, eating dirty food with mould is Spartan and so is sleeping on the floor. I don’t think Dad is a Spartan or ever met one.
Dad likes to talk about what he calls enduring hardship. It’s a difficult word. To endure hardship is part of being spartan, he says. You have to be tough or you won’t make it. Dad doesn’t look tough to me. He doesn’t want me to say what I feel. Feelings are not important to him.

“Facts, bring me facts if then I will listen to you.”

For dad, only facts count. I am not allowed to feel anything. What I feel or think isn’t important, doesn’t count. What he says to me he never says to my mother. He doesn’t dare talk to her like that. When she’s at home, he hides behind the newspaper, on the toilet or in the little room when she’s not needing it for work. Sometimes I hear another man talk to him. That man is not uncle G. dad says it’s a professor who teaches him to understand maths. I think it’s not going very well or Dad doesn’t understand what the professor tells him. I don’t understand much about maths either. Maybe we are both stupid and that’s a fact?

Dad never says I am stupid. He says I can go to university easily. When the headmaster said I’m too stupid to go to visit housekeeping school, Daddy was furious. I told him what the headmaster said because I don’t know what housekeeping school is. Dad went to school to have a talk with the man. That school no longer exists and he said I’m too good for that.  I don’t think daddy only talked because he was very angry. The headmaster didn’t say anything to me about it, but I’m not in his class anyway but I was a bit afraid of what he can do to me. The headmaster is a mean person. He hits the children too and doesn’t like me. I don’t think he likes my dad. Not yet. Daddy never goes to school except when he’s angry and at Christmas.

So eating mouldy food is spartan? I never read it in a book or heard it in history classes. I think Dad made it up. He won’t let me ask about it and never showed me a book that shows what a Spartan is. How he lives and why it’s important to be one.
Sailors must have eaten mouldy food. That used to be a long time ago when they went sailing to get herbs, coffee and tea. Far away, once they artived they must have had good food, not pudding with green and red bits in it like my mother makes on Sundays. They had special biscuit and water, alcohol and I think rats too. I don’t know if there were any cats on board. Cats that catch mice and rats and don’t eat cat food.

Dad spoke about sliding cheese and sliding cake. He says he only got a small piece of it on his slice of bread. He first ate the dry bread and the last piece of bread was with cheese or breakfastcake. He showed me how to do it. First I had to look at the part of bread with cheese on it next shove the cheese a bit further and eat the dry bread till I came to the last part of bread. My mother said nothing about it. She doesn’t care if I eat bread with something on it. I can have what I like. Cheese, meat or chocolate sprinkles. If I don’t eat bread, it’s okay too. She only gets furious if I don’t eat the cooked dinner.

I think being beaten me is spartan too. My mother likes to hit but never with her bare hand. She always uses a whip, a mat beater or the dog chain. Maybe it is spartan that I no longer cry or beg her to stop? I just close my eyes and let her. I watch from a distance. She’ll get tired. Dad hits me too but with his leather slippers but only when my mother says: don’t you see what that child is doing? If she says that he jumps on his feet and slaps me. Sometimes he puts me over his knee and counts how many times he slaps me. That must be something spartan too counting how many lashes are given I mean.

I asked grandma about the sliding cheese and sliding breakfastcake. Grandma is frugal because she was in the Japanese camp. She softens old bread over a pan of hot water. She looked at me in surprise and said: your father lies, we never did anything like that.
Grandma believes me. She doesn’t say I am a liar. I didn’t tell dad I asked his mom of it’s true what he told me.
I don’t like spartan or what my father calls spartan. I can’t stand the cold, I don’t want to eat mould and I don’t care if I never grow up being tall, a strong Spartan. Why do I have to be a Spartan? I am not and will never be.

February 6, 2022

#kittywu #diary #childhood #childabuse