"Mom, you're killing me!"

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Ruminating on my memories with my mother. Everything written is true and I do advise you to heed my caution before you read. This is not for children. I hope that readers pay attention for signs of neglect and abuse in children. They're helpless. I would have loved for someone to stand-up for my siblings and I. Someone to have stepped in before the courts allowed my father to.

Submitted: December 31, 2011

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Submitted: December 31, 2011

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*CAUTION: The contents of the following paragraphs can be percieved as slightly disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.*

"Mom, you're killing me!

I said those words once. I said them to my mother as she beat me for playing in the snow...  

I never knew the definition of the word poor. Well, not until I left my Section 8 housing in Rosedale. Hell, I didn't know what Section 8 was until high school. I didn't know that my family was poor. I just thought my mom was mean. This was my juvenile, elementary, mind. All I knew was food. "When am I going to have my next meal?" That was my main concern growing up. My mom was always gone--working. My siblings and I would flip through the local Giants grocery store ad. Fantasizing about honey ham that was on sale for 1.99lb. I remember tearing the pictures out of the newspaper and shoving it in my mouth, hoping I could taste the honey glaze. I couldn't taste it. The day my mom went grocery shopping was a holiday. It meant I wouldn't starve. That I wouldn't sleep early to avoid my hunger pains. My siblings and I did drastic and unspeakable things--we still don't talk about to this day--just for a scrap. We laugh as we reminesce on some childhood memories but, some memories we don't.

...

I looked forward to going to school. Free breakfast and lunch. I would shove leftovers from the breakfast bin of goodies into my backpack. Save it for dinner. I think my teachers knew what was going on. They paid for my school trips. Sometimes they bought me special things for lunch. I remember coming to school on my birthday and my entire class threw me a birthday party. On the house. I was ashamed. Happy. Embarrassed. Now, I'm amazed and grateful. I think that those memories made me believe in the goodness of the human spirit. 

I feared my mother. I was a fearful child overall. My mom believed in physical punishments. Spankings. They were awful. I never believed the statement: "I'm doing this because I love you." No. I think you're doing it because you're mad. If my siblings and I did any thing that displeased her, we wouldn't be able to sit for days. I think the word hopelessness defines how I felt. Maybe that's why I'm not a defiant teenager. Young adult. Woman. What have you. I fear punishment, so now, I seek perfection. 

I think...the most horrific image that has engraved itself into my memory was my mom punishing my brothers. My mom, she has a temper. The smallest things would make her livid. Maybe it was because she was stuck with four children. When we did have food in the house, we weren't allowed to touch it. Not unless she prepared something for us. My siblings and I would be hungry but, there was nothing we could do. My brothers. They're older than my younger sister and I. They were always defiant. They were determine to...survive.

Once, my brothers snuck downstairs to grab a bag of chips. My mom caught them as they were creeping back upstairs. She had this brush. A hard plastic, lemon yellow, brush. She ran into her bathroom and grabbed that brush. I'll never forget it. "Hold out your hands!" That's what she would tell them. She beat their knuckles, forcing them to keep their hands still or it would get worse. They were crying rivers. Screamed and hollered bloody mary. Their knuckles would turn red. Then green and purple. Then dark purple. And then deep red. Bleeding. I would watch. Horrified. Helpless. I tried to imagine their pain. Hoping to take some of it away.

My mom says that she was young and stupid. "I didn't know what the fuck I was doing." That's what she said about her parenting. She never mentioned the things she did. It's like she never did it. I try to understand. Rationalize but, I never have answers. I want to force her to feel awkward and horrible and monsterous for what she did to us but, that's not who I am. I would be just like her if I put her through that pain. She says she loves us which, I believe she does...in some twisted way. 

I didn't have a future. My childhood was a struggle. It wasn't fun and games. There were no good memories. That wasn't a hyperbole. There were none

I remember my mother locking my siblings and I in our room. We shared a room. All four of us. We couldn't leave even to use the bathroom. I can remember my brothers urinating in the corner. The room smelled horrible. I wonder if the landlords ever got rid of that smell...I can't remember why she did it but, is there really a good reason to? 

I haven't had this thought since childhood but, "Why didn't anyone do anything? If they knew?" My family knew what was going on. They knew. Surely, the cops could have done something. I think it's for that very reason that I really don't take to many of my family members. They don't talk about it. They pretend it never happened. Easy enough.

Thankfully, I was only with my mother until I was about 12 or 13. It definitely was better. There was food. My dad had been fighting the judicial system, trying to get custody of my siblings and I and he finally won....

....

I think my siblings and I share a special bond that even my dad can't penetrate and will never understand. My younger sister is a bit distant but she was just a toddler during all of this. We can laugh about the day my oldest brother snuck a PB&J sandwich, got caught, and walked back upstairs with the two pieces of bread on either side of his face. Peanut butter on the left cheek. Jelly on the other. It's funny. It was cruel and unusual but, it was funny. My older brother slide the slices off of his face and ate that sandwich: "I still got my sandwich, didn't I?" He said that just before he snagged the first bite. 

We used to joke about having to scavenge through our own trashcan for the honey buns my mother would throw away. Just the bits of it. We'd shake our heads as we tossed out memory after memory, unfair realizations after another. How her closet was overflowing with outfits and shoes, her panty drawer full of hidden desserts. And how we hardly had shoes that fit our feet. We can laugh at how my second oldest brother shoved a poptart in the VCR and broke it and how he got the living daylights beaten out of him...that was also the day he was sent to live with dad. 

Our memories are bad. Graphic. Cruel. But, we had to laugh or we would cry and fall into depressing asking the same question: "Why?"


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