This is part four from three other ” chapters” of my life, to catch up , start here.
It’s strange when your little and you instantly inherit a new family , it’s also strange when you spend most of your life in a tiny two bedroom apartment with your Brother and your Mother and then you travel to your Father’s house with his ” new family” and they have a real house, like with a real backyard that is only for them , and cars that actually run all the time, and your step brother and sister have their own bedrooms and when you come to visit another bed gets put in the room for you to share with your sibling…the sibling you just met.
You feel like an outsider , a visitor in your own tiny life, your very young,yet you are still old enough to feel uncomfortable , like you don’t belong.
I don’t know these people I have just been sent to live with while my Mother recovers from this last time the world broke her . I don’t know my Father – he is gone from sun up until sun down and every weekend working, I basically see him when he picks us up at the beginning of the summer and then again on the four-hour trip home when he drops us off.
I have landed in a house that is un-familiar territory with complete strangers that now expect me to call them ” Mom, sister, brother.”
My foot is broken in a million little pieces, I know there is a darkness with my Mother that we drove away from when we left, I feel lost and afraid, I miss my Mom, I miss my room, I miss my friends.
I don’t want to be here, I want to be back where I feel comfortable, in my own room in our tiny apartment with my Mom and my brother. But then I remember the darkness with my Mother, the shades all pulled, her sleeping all day, her face under the covers, the way her voice slurs when she speaks. How I wake up to the smell of coffee and cigarettes and the sound of her crying at the dining room table.
And I start to realize that no matter where I am at this moment , with her or with them, I feel lost and scared and unsure of everything.
I learn to fake happy, push myself to be outgoing, I learn that making people laugh turns your thoughts away from the feelings and re-directs your thoughts on to other people. Through the years I become very good at this, I lose myself in trying to make others think I am okay, and sometimes I even believe it.
I was pulled out of school only after being there a couple of months this time, moved from one state to another, shared a room with my ” new older sister, who wasn’t really my sister at all.” And yet really on the surface all I remember from that year are the following things:
My step mother making me vacuum the first day I could walk on my cast
My step brother sleep walking and urinating in the corner of the breezeway
My step mother making us liver and onions and all of us feeding it to our dog Misty under the table, until the dog finally threw up from liver overdose and we were busted….but I didn’t care, I hated that taste, that smell. My next trick would be to hold as much as I could in the sides of my mouth and then excuse myself to the bathroom, spit that foulness into the toilet and flush. All the while thinking to my Step Mother- ” you want to make me eat this? Let me show you how stubborn I can be.
I remember finding bones buried in the back yard, and all of us kids making ourselves believe that they were dead bodies.
I remember the basement of my Dad’s house was used as an in-law apartment to the people who owned it before him, and I remember escaping down there when I couldn’t deal with everything, and pretending…pretending that I was an adult who lived there by myself – how easy it was to just sit with myself and not have to deal with the goings on of the world around me.
I also remember leaving my teacher back in Minnesota, I remember her name- Mrs Fields. I remember how much I liked her, and I remember how hard she hugged me when I left on what must have been my last day there for the year. I know now, as a fifty year old that Mrs Fields knew more than I did about what was going on in my life than than I did. I know now her hug was filled with mercy and compassion , her hug – that hug, I would remember for the rest of my life.
The rest of my memory is cracked and frayed until I get into fourth grade. I honestly can not remember one single thing again until then, maybe aliens abducted me? I think someone would have missed me though and they would have told me later in life right?
Or maybe I wouldn’t have been missed at all.