Here’s a brief summary of my very LOOOOOONG thirty-four years on this planet:
We’ll do this Jim Carrey style in “Liar Liar” when he’s ticking off his offenses to the cop:
I was born, I was premature, I tried to die a few times but I lived, I had a Mom who thought I was not just a burden but a rotten, manipulative, pain in the ass, and so that’s how she treated me during my formative years. I was sexually abused, and got knocked around a few times by Mom too, although CYS was only called once and apparently didn’t do their job, because it only got worse from there. She would “ground” me for weeks and weeks at a time, which really was ALL of the time, and I stayed in my room with nothing but a radio and playing cards, only allowed to come down for meals. I got really good at Solitaire. So good that I had a savant-like gift for knowing when in a shuffle an Ace would be on the top of the deck. I showed my sister once and she was convinced it was trickery. I also got really good at singing, because I only had myself for company, not even a dog or cat to talk to–NO ANIMALS IN BRENDA’S HOUSE– I only had three CD’s to listen to: Jewel, Alanis Morissette, and Melissa Etheridge. Grounded meant no phone, no friends, no TV, and when she got really mad, no radio either.
But I kept living. I started smoking in her house, knowing that she had a deep-seated hatred for it because of her mother’s habit during her childhood and having to go to school with clothes and hair smelling like cigarette smoke. Then she let me out. But supervised.
Because I would run away. I ran away the first time to a friend’s house–rookie mistake. We lived a good ten miles out of town, but when I reached the end of my dirt road–walking up in the woods beside the road–I got to Route 49 and had the good fortune of a friend driving by, back from a shopping trip with her mom. They stopped and let me in, I laughed it off and said I was just going to town, could they drop me off at Jen’s house? When I showed up unannounced, they welcomed me like it was nothing, like I was family. I said nothing about running away, and tried desperately to soak in the togetherness, the human companionship, while I was there, because I knew it would be ending soon.
She always finds me.
She sent One Mister Officer Batterson to get me, and I apologized later that I got arrested in front of my friend’s four-year old brother, which must have been scary for him, but said nothing when the Officer shamed me with, “I never thought I’d see you on this side of my badge.”
I had assisted in euthanizing his ailing cat a few weeks earlier while he lamented that he was barely making a living as a small town cop with a tear in his eye at the local veterinarian’s office where I worked after school.
When the Officer asked me if I had any weapons on me, I said, “A lighter,” and when he asked me if I wanted to go to a Children’s Home, Foster Care, or Home; I thought for a minute, and then said, “A Children’s Home.”
He didn’t respond, and so I assumed that’s where he was taking me–the Northern Tier Children’s Home that I had heard of from the foster kids at the end of my road. When he turned onto Baker Creek Road, I jerked up in my seat, terrified, my hands cuffed tightly behind my back, no door handles, locks, or window buttons near me–and started screaming.
“NO!! YOU CAN’T TAKE ME BACK THERE!! YOU SAID A CHILDREN’S HOME!! NO!! YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!! NO!! PLEASE, PLEASE!! NOhohohaaanono-hu-nonono-hu-nnononopleasenonono….”
He gripped the steering wheel harder and his body sort of tightened all over and he said, “I told your mother I would bring you home.”
And so he did.
She always wins when it comes to custody.