1 The First Time
It's really hard to remember. Mommy hits me a lot, but I think I was around two. At least, that's the farthest back I can remember. It's really fuzzy and I'm not quite sure what I did wrong. I must have done something wrong. Mommy always has a reason.
My brother is two years younger than me. I remember I was tickling him... and... Then, Mommy started yelling at me. She told me... told me to stop, but I didn't know what to stop.
I turned my head and kept tickling. Oh and how little Robert laughed. Mommy grabbed my arm hard. It hurt so much and... then... she slapped me. Across the face. It stung so much.
I couldn't help it. I started crying and Mommy said she was sorry. She didn't mean to; she just lost control. My face didn't sting no more and my wrist only hurt a little. I think I nodded. It was okay; she was sorry.
That was the first, but it was not the last.
2 Robert and Me
Robert cries. A lot... And Mommy hates crying, but she doesn't hit Robert. I always distract her. She hits me instead. I take the pain because I don't want Robert hurt. I protect him. That's what big sisters do. They protect littler kids, like Robert.
Besides, seeing her hurt him would hurt more than anything she can do to me. The bruises stopped hurting a long time ago. She almost never breaks my bones and that's the only time it really hurts. We never go to the same hospital twice when something does break. When we got in the car once, I asked why and she just hit me and drove off.
Mommy won't let us go outside or even look out the window. There is a big curtain in front of the living room window. She never pulls it back... but sometimes when she goes out, I peek out. When I got big enough to pick up Robert, I would lift him around the waist so he could look out too.
Robert is one and a half now (this was about the time Mommy stopped staying home in the daytime), but he don't stand too good. If I hold his hands he can get to his feet and stays there when I let go, but he can't walk unless I hold his hands. Mommy, in one of her good moods, told me that I was walking at one and two months, so Robert's inability to do it scares me. He crawls real good though.
He likes to play peek-a-boo. Sometimes I sing him lullabies like the ones Mommy used to sing. She don't sing no more, not to me or Robert. I'm almost three and I am a good singer. Sometimes he falls asleep to my voice. I try to make him sleep before Mommy comes home. He cries less that way, which is good for both of us.
Robert has very dark hair and honey brown eyes. His eyelashes are really long and almost touch his cheeks when he sleeps. Sometimes, late at night, when Mommy is still gone, I look at the window and see a girl there. I think it's me, but I'm not sure. She has really dark hair just like mine, but she looks so sad and thin. I don't think it's me, not at all.
Robert and me, we don't got dads. Mommy says that they are gone and not coming back. Besides they aren't even the same dad. I sometimes wonder who my daddy might be. Maybe he is a handsome prince and, someday, he'll come and save Robert and me from Mommy. She doesn't mean to hit. It's just, no one taught her to be a mommy.
I've often wondered if I was the littler kid if Robert would protect me. I like to think he would. On the T.V., I see big brothers stand up for sisters all the time. It's a motif. I learned that word on the History Channel. They were talking about Greek mythology. It means a pattern that shows up a lot. Motif.
When, I watch T.V., I make Robert sit on the couch and watch too. Sometimes, his eyes get all unfocused like he not really watching. He doesn't respond to my voice when that happens. It's really scary, but when I poke him really hard he snaps out of it. I don't never shake though. I heard on the news that that can hurt little babies. Mommy shakes Robert sometimes, but I always distract her fast.
When I try to feed Robert at lunch time, he can't keep it in his mouth. I'm really worried because Mommy stopped buying formula for him a couple of weeks ago. Now she buys Baby Food. She says he's too old to drink from a bottle anymore. He won't eat though. I have to coax him a lot to eat it.
He can nod and shake his head when I ask him questions, but he don't speak very good. He says one word more than any. He says mama, but he don't say it to Mommy. In fact, he don't never speak in front of Mommy. He don't even nod his head in front of Mommy. He calls me mama, even though I told him I'm his sister, not his mama. He calls me mama.
I remember the first time he told me he loved me. He said, “Ah luv ou, mama!” The T.V. said it first and he was so excited because he knew what it meant. I said I loved him all the time, so he shouted it real loud. I responded, kind of shocked because he ain't never said that many words in a row before, “I love you too, Rob.” That was the first time I called him Rob but I ain't never called him anything else since. This was about a month before his second birthday.
This was before Mommy starting bringing the men home. This was just before my life became a living hell.
I very clearly remember the first man Mommy brought home. The funniest thing is, I liked the first man. It was Rob's second birthday and he brought cake. It was so rich and velvety. I'd never had any cake before. It was such a treat. I thanked him lots and lots. He said, clearly joking, “You act like you've never had cake before.”
He was facing me with his back toward Mommy. She glared and shook her head. It was a sign for me to joke back. If I didn't, she'd hit me later. “Of course I have, but my mommy taught me to have good manners,” I said sweetly with the toothiest smile I could work up.
Looking right at me he smiled and said, “You have the cutest dimples I've ever seen.” I remember wondering if I did indeed have dimples. That night I waited until Mommy took the man to her room and looked at the girl in the window. When I smiled, she did too and sure enough she had two little dents, one in each cheek. The sad, thin girl really was me.
I only ever saw that first man three more times. I haven't seen any of Mommy's men more than four times total. I only see most once. I felt an odd feeling in my tummy when Mommy came home with a different man the first time. I don't really have a word for it. It just felt empty and lonely like the greatest loss the world has ever known.
Sometimes, lying in bed, I can hear Mommy scream and yell. I wonder if the men were hitting her like she hit me. I suddenly realize how dramatic I was being. If adults hit adults, then why wouldn't they hit kids. Now that I knew it was normal, I just let it happen. It was a chain. Men hit Mommy. Mommy hit me. Sometimes the men hit me too.
One time, Rob was crying and I couldn't get him to stop before Mommy and her man came in. He picked Rob up and started shaking him. Then, he hit Rob. Before I could really think it through, I bit his lower leg. Hard.
He yelped in pain and swung his leg wildly. My teeth unclenched and I smacked into my bed frame. It made my shoulder burn really bad. I did something real stupid then. I started bawling. See with Mommy, when you cry she stops and apologizes and says she didn't mean it, but with the men who hit, when you cry they get mad and hit harder.
The man came across the room and slapped me repeatedly across the face. Then, he started kicking me real hard in the ribs. Mommy yelled at him and told him stop it. After a while he did and then they started arguing. Mommy told him to get out. She said, “I never want to see your sorry ass ever again.”
Then, She bent down and picked me up. I recognized this. This was good Mommy. She cradled me in her arms and started gently poking my ribs. It made me whimper a little but she soothed me, saying, “Shh, it's okay. Nothing's broken. You're fine baby, you're safe.”
When I was four and a half, there was a man who hurt me in a different way. He didn't use his hands or his feet. He used something he covered with his pants. Rob had one too, but it looked way different. He forced my pants off and put it inside of me. It hurts so bad. I told him it wouldn't fit, it was too big. It didn't go there. That's why it didn't fit...
But he didn't listen. He put his hand over my mouth and kept saying, “Do you like it like this?” It hurts so bad and I tried to scream, but he put a pillow over my face. He wouldn't stop hurting me. I bit into the pillow really hard and it hurt a bit less, so I kept biting down. Then, it didn't hurt at all. It felt almost good.
He took the pillow away then. “See better, much better,” he said. Then, in a quiet whisper, “Moan for me baby.” His breath was hot on my face and I felt sick to my stomach, but I didn't understand why.
Then, he grabbed the back of my head and put his lips to mine, thrusting his tongue in my mouth. I knew what this was. I'd seen it on T.V. It was kissing, but it felt wrong. The people on T.V. like kissing, but I didn't. His tongue was rough and wet. He was pushing it so far down my throat that it hurt.
I felt something warm in me but I didn't know what it was. Then, he was off of me and I felt disgusted and dirty. Then, he bent down and kissed my forehead. When he said, “Goodnight sweetheart,” I could smell the alcohol thick in his breath and I almost gagged, but managed to restrain it. This was a man who would probably hit me if I did that.
I told Mommy what he did the next day, but she didn't believe me. She slapped me really, really hard, harder than normal. Then, she told me that if I kept making up stories like that she would take away my T.V. privileges. The next night he did it again, but I didn't tell Mommy. That was the last time I saw him. My last memory of him was his rancid breath brushing across my skin.
4 The Front Door
When I was five I started pulling the curtain back. Never very far, just a little to let some light in. I made Rob sit in the light. I was watching the Discovery Channel and they said sunlight gave you Vitamin E, which was important for growth. I want Rob to grow up big.
I sit there too. We play with blocks in the sun. He can finally talk in somewhat complete sentences. He's also really good at climbing onto the couch by himself. He couldn't do it for the longest time, but I knew he'd get it.
I noticed how tall I was after a few months of sitting in the sunlight and found that I could reach the chain door lock on the front door. I unlocked and relocked it for weeks before I finally ventured outside. I instructed Rob to stay inside and told him I'd be right back.
It was so bright out I had to shield my eyes. How did Mommy come out here everyday and not go blind? The sun was dangerous. I hid behind the bushes quickly. If Mommy knew I was out here, I'd be beaten for sure. Too terrified to go any further, I bolted back inside.
As I redid the chain door lock, I was panting. Rob walked up to me as fast as he could. He couldn't run just yet. His legs were too short, but with the sun he would grow. “What's wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing, buttercup,” I replied lovingly, “I just saw a bee.” I had never lied to little Rob before, but I couldn't tell him that I, the fearless one, was scared of outside.
With conviction, I knew, someday, I'd take him with me, but not yet. He was too little and not careful enough. Someone would see him and the neighbors would tell Mommy. Then she'd beat them both. That was not acceptable.
I couldn't get past that first bush for months, but eventually I didn't rush back inside. I sat down and took in the fresh air and the bright sun. It wasn't as blinding as I had first thought it was. I once took Rob out with me, but he wouldn't quit squirming and trying to get away. “Run, run!” he chanted, but he wouldn't listen when I told him he couldn't. I took him back inside and told him until he could be still he couldn't go back out.
These months were easier. Mommy still hit me and so did her men, but only with hands and feet. Now that Rob had learned not to cry they mostly ignored him. It didn't matter. It was better he was ignored. He needed his mama, not his Mommy. He stopped sleeping in the crib, preferring instead to curl up next to me.
The days were actually really nice. Mommy almost never stayed home in the day, which meant sun and outside. It almost made me wish Mommy would never come home, but I don't want that. Mommy doesn't mean to hit. She loves us; she really does.
The biggest problem is her men. They don't care about Rob and me. They hurt me for no reason and they make fun of my brother. He starts to cry and then they get mad. I have to make them mad at me and then they slap and punch and kick me. I'm lucky I didn't break any bones for over a year. Maybe my bones got stronger.
Whatever the reason, it hurt lots less and I think I was beginning to understand what happiness really is.
About a month before I turned six, I finally ventured past the bush. I ran as fast as I could around the side of the house. There were no windows on the house next to mine, so I didn't have to worry about being seen.
I did something really daring then. I kept walking all the way to the backyard. I was going to play in the backyard and bring Rob with me next time. He could run here.
Something stopped me cold. I saw a little girl in the backyard of the house next to mine. She was sitting past a wire fence that separated our yards. Her back was to me, so she hadn't seen me. She held a small doll in her arms.
I had the urge to turn around and run back inside, but something kept me standing there. Almost as if she sensed me standing behind her, she turned and a smile broke out across her face. Before I had much time to react, she was standing on the other side of the fence right in front of me. Her hands clutched the metal tight. She was still smiling.
She looked so different from Rob and me. Her hair was golden blond and her eyes a sparkling blue. It was more than that though. Her skin had a darker tint to it and her cheeks were flushed red. The curves of her body seemed healthier too.
“Hi my name is Jessica!” she blurted out, rushing so fast her words slurred, “What's your name?”
I smiled back shy and hesitant. “It's Samantha.”
This name seemed to please her because she yelled, “Oh my God, that is such a cute name. I'm eight by the way. How old are you?”
I wondered for a moment if all children spoke so loudly or if Jessica was abnormal for it. I was always quiet. That's how Mommy liked it. “I'm almost six.”
“Oh so your in kindergarten. Do you know your ABC's?”
She lost me at kindergarten. “What's a kindergarten? And how do you go about knowing ABC's?”
“Don't you go to school? Can you even read yet?”
School, I heard about that on T.V. “School, that's where you go to learn, right?” I didn't respond to the part about reading because I knew what that was and she made it sound bad that I couldn't.
“Yeah,” she paused a moment and silence filled the air. “So you can't read?” The way she said it made it sound like a question.
“No, I cannot read,” I said, feeling slightly ashamed.
For a moment she looked thoughtful and then her shocking blue eyes lit up. “I can teach you!” She ran back to her little table and grabbed some things. Then she ran down the length of the fence and through a gate I hadn't noticed before.
In one hand she held two crayons, which I'd only ever seen on T.V. before, and a small, thin book. “It a coloring book, but we can use the back of the front cover to practice letters. We'll do just reading first and then writing later.”
First she wrote down a bunch of symbols, called letters, that she said was the Al-pha-bet. Then, she pronounced the letters making me repeat after her and repeat it when I said them wrong. The next thing she did was words, really short ones.
The first one was C-A-T, but when I said it she said I was wrong. I asked her how and she told me when you put letters together they make different sound than when they are alone. “See it's pronounced like this. Cat. Hard c soft a hard t. Not C-A-T. Now you try.”
“No silly now your saying cot. With an o.”
“Like this, Ka-at.”
“Perfect that's just right.” After a long time, her mom called her inside for dinner and I knew I should go in too. We agreed to do more tomorrow and I told her I was going to bring Rob out, so he could run around.
When Mommy came home that night she was slurring her words a lot. She told me to do something, but I didn't understand her, so I said, “What?”
She got real mad and said, “Wha's wi ta atude? Do wha Ah tol ou, go to ur oo.”
“Mommy,” I began, trying to be careful with my word choice so as not to upset her further, “I can't understand what your saying.” She ended up getting mad anyway. She grabbed my arm super hard (I could feel the blood vessels pop) and smacked my face.
Her man friend was one of the nice ones tonight. He got up and yanked her arm off of mine. “What is wrong with you? She's a little girl and your so drunk she can't even understand you. That does not warrant you hitting her.”
They got into a huge argument and the man ended up leaving. When Mommy came back into the living room, I left and Rob followed me. Sometimes leaving makes her forget about us. Sometimes... But not always.
She came down the hall screaming that it was all my fault that he left and I was going to pay. I stopped and pushed the door shut behind Rob. He wasn't a part of this. The only one getting hurt tonight would be me. I learned it's better to not fight or run. All you have to do is endure. If you can endure it, you're better off anyhow.
6 Please Don't Tell
The next day when Jessica saw me, her smile vanished and her jaw dropped. “What happened to your eye?” Then she noticed the bruises wrapping around my arm and added with a little gasp, “And your arm!” It was a good thing my stomach was covered. If she saw the bruises on my ribs she might have fainted.
“Mommy hits me,” I said calmly, shrugging my shoulders. Maybe her mom didn't hit her as hard as mine.
“That's awful!” she yelled, “Why would she do such a thing?” I realized I had made the wrong assumption. Her shock was about being hit, not about being hit hard. “Come on, let's tell my mom. I'm sure she can help.”
“No!” I yelled. It was the loudest I had been in years. I added desperate to stop her, “Please don't tell.”
I don't know if it was my yelling or the note of pure pleading in my voice, but she responded, “Okay, I won't.”
This time she brought what she said was a notebook and pencils. She also had a little book. She called it a Golden Book. We went through it word by word until I could read it by myself. To make sure I wasn't just memorizing the order of the words, occasionally she would point to one out of order.
The next few weeks went by, each day brought a new story. They were all Golden Books. Sometimes I came out bruised and sometimes I didn't, but Jessica never mentioned it again. Until one day she did. “How come you get hurt, but Rob doesn't?”
I answered her question with a question of my own. “Do you have any siblings?” She shook her head. “Never mind then. You wouldn't understand. I just... I... He's my brother. I don't want to see him get hurt. Ever.”
Rob was so happy in the daytime and I wanted him to stay that way forever. It seems really silly, but I was often tempted to take Jessica up offer to tell her mom, but I couldn't. I love Mommy; she doesn't mean to hit.
I've noticed something really different between Jessica and me. Jessica wears a different outfit every single day, but I only change mine once a week. Is she wasteful or am I dirty. I'm really not sure. She hasn't ever mentioned it.
Sometimes, Rob tries to leave the backyard and I have to scold him to stay. Jessica gave me a weird look the first time Rob called me mama in front of her. I could quite explain the difference between a Mommy and a mama. Everything I said just seemed to confuse her more.
One time, Jessica asked me who my best friend was and I didn't know what to say. I only knew three people by name and all Mommy's various men. It wasn't Mommy or her men, but I wasn't sure who was my better friend. I really liked Jessica, but I hadn't know her long. I had known Rob since as long as I could remember. She didn't seem hurt when I told her it was Rob, but a sad look momentarily crossed her face. It was almost like grief, like my answer was somehow wrong.
One night, I asked Mommy (she was in a good mood) if she remembered that my birthday was soon. She laughed and stopping brushing my hair long enough to pat my head. “Of course I remember,” she said, “It's in three days, July sixth. It's one of the two most important days in my life.”
I thought a moment, wondering what the other might be before daring to ask. Sometimes, even in a good mood, Mommy can get mad enough to hit. “What's the other?” I asked, coating my voice with cute innocence.
“Why, it's your brother's birthday, of course. The only thing I ever did right in this world was having you two. You are my angels.” She kissed the top of my head then. Her breath was sweet and minty; it didn't have it's usual bitter smell. Mommy was always good Mommy when her breath was sweet.
Mommy actually made our dinner on the stove that night instead of in the microwave. When we went to bed, Mommy tucked Rob and me in and, for the first time in over fours years, she sang us to sleep. I was very sure to enjoy it because it would probably be the closest that I'd get to a birthday. Mommy was never good Mommy twice in a week.
7 The Last Time
To be honest, the last time is actually fuzzier than the first time. It doesn't make much since, but it's the truth. On July sixth, Mommy came home more tipsy than usual and her breath was awful.
A new man follow her in and he was even worse than her. When they came in, they were giggling. I could feel the difference in a way I can't explain. I pushed Rob behind me just a little, hoping my body could somehow shield his.
Mommy and the man started kissing a lot and Mommy pulled his jacket off. Rob pulled at my hair and asked (really quiet so Mommy couldn't hear), “Mama?” I backed up a little and he backed with me. This was not the first time we had done this. Rob was so scared and I don't know what happened. Somehow he tripped and his body went thud.
Mommy looked right at us, but she looked so mad, so mean. This was not good Mommy; I knew better than to hope for that. “What are you doing up so late!” she screamed. Then she came at us really fast, but she didn't hit me. She hit Robert, little Rob.
This is where it gets kind of blurry. I remember biting Mommy's wrist and pushing Rob behind the couch. I told him to get under the couch and stay there until Mommy calmed down. Mommy always calmed down.
She hit me so much and her man hit and kicked me, but even when I cried she didn't stop. He didn't stop either. My bones, my strong, strong bones that hadn't broken in so long, snapped.
But that wasn't what did it. I could have survived that. The last time Mommy and her men ever hurt me was something even I could not heal from.
He picked me up by the top of my dress and shook me and Mommy was slapping me on the back so hard and then... then... I was flying. He threw me, he threw me so hard. I hit the wall and I heard the most horrible snap. In that moment, I knew, I just knew, that was the last snap. I knew she would never break my bones ever again.
I think I blacked out, I'm not really sure. It feels like a I missed something and people here tell me most people pass out through the kind of thing I went through. The point is I do remember being awake at the end. Some people go in their sleep or unconsciousness, but not me.
When I tried to stand, I couldn't feel my legs, so my arms stopped trying. Mommy and her man were looking at me with the utmost horror. I didn't understand why at first. Then, I realized I was on my stomach, but my toes were pointing almost straight up.
I started coughing and something ran down my face. I thought I was drooling, so I wiped it away with my hand. When, I pulled it away, my fingers were dyed crimson. I was shocked to find that I was not crying. It just didn't hurt anymore and I wondered, Is this what dying feels like?
Then, I heard two words that will forever haunt me. “No, mama!” Little Rob appeared from under the couch. “No!” He ran to my side all the while screaming at the top on his four year-old lungs, “Mama!” Then his arms were wrapped around and he kept screaming, “Mama!”
Rob had never spoken in front on Mommy and her men before. Not ever. Mommy said he was probably retarded; that's was why he didn't speak, but he had just proved her wrong. Rob was the most intelligent person I knew.
When Mommy pulled Rob away from me, she didn't tug and yank. She just whispered, “Please let go, Robert.” He looked at me wide-eyed, waiting for my reaction.
I lifted my hand and, through the coughing, I said, “It's okay Rob, I'm safe now. I'm safe.” And Rob, he just nodded his head very solemnly.
Then, he let me go.
8 The End
It’s difficult to really get the events in the right order of what happened after I died. When you die, you slip between time, so you can see the “past” as clearly as the “future.” I put quotes around these because, when you’re dead, there is no past or future.
When you first die, you can see everything, and I mean everything. It takes a lot of focus to zero on in on any one event. Plus it is really hard to try and find or follow someone you don’t know. Needless to say the only people I could see real well were Mommy and that last man, Robert, and Jessica.
It’s hard to think of where to start. No, wait, no, it’s not. I should start at the end, but that’s not right. They keep telling me it’s not the end. It’s the beginning. Dying is the oddest sensation you will ever feel in your life. It’s like you know you should hurt, but you don’t. Then you get all cold and everything is dark, they call this transition. It’s where you leave behind the darkness of the world and, for me, your soul because pure. Not everyone comes here though. Sometimes the dark and cold stay in the bad people.
Then, through the light, I could suddenly see everything. It took an eternity (or so it felt like) to find anything specific, but I remember it clear as a bell.
I saw it as an overview (that's what everything looked like, other than memories). Rob was not in the room anymore, but Mommy and her man still were. My body lay there so broken and injured that it hurt to look at it.
Mommy said, “Andrew, what should we do?” It struck me as odd that Andrew was the only name I knew of any of Mommy's men. She never introduced them to us.
He stepped forward and said, “Us going to jail won't bring her back. We should just bury her out back.” Mommy looked so upset when he said that and she started crying. “I know you want a real burial,” he began, “but if we do that, they'll see her condition. They will do an Autopsy. This,” he said, walking toward her, “is the only way.” At the end of his words, he put a hand on her arm.
They covered my body up with dirt in a shallow grave. I am so glad that Jessica waits for me to come out in her yard. If she had seen that mound, dug it up... She would be far more scarred than she already was, or would be. Tense is really hard here, you don't know if you seeing future events or past ones. It gets quite confusing.
Anyway, so obviously, Jessica didn't see me the next day and around three she went inside and she was so worried. She was scared something had happened to me, and if I didn't protect Robert, somebody had to. She told her mom everything about me. (She hadn't even told her mom my name.)
Her mom was furious. Not at Jessica or me, but at Mommy. She called Social Services, which is a place that helps abused and neglected children. A lady came into to my house later and found my baby brother sitting on the couch all by himself. When she walked in, he burst into tears and started screaming, “Mama, mama, mama!” He ran up to her and she picked him up.
She stayed with him and she read him books and they watched T.V. At five she microwaved him dinner and they ate together. She was always there with hugs and kisses when he asked, “Mama?”
A few times she asked him where I was, but all he would say was mama. As far as I know, that was all he said for a long time. Long after my funeral and his adoption he said nothing but mama. I was relived that he did speak again. That he was able to move on, to endure.
Of course the time came for Mommy to come home. It was one of those nights she came home alone. As though, somehow, impossible as it was, she knew that Rob would not be alone. She walked in angrily and sat in the chair without grace.
The moment Rob saw who it was, he pushed his face against the woman's chest. This almost brought tears to my eyes. He had done that to me so many times before and now, when he most needed it, I couldn't protect him.
The woman spoke very slow and very calm. “Hello, my name is Lisa Callagar. I'm from Social Services. We received a call that there may be some trouble with your children. Do you have anything you want to say? Is they're anything I can do? We could find Rob a daycare.”
“He doesn't need daycare. He is perfectly capable of taking care of himself.” It was subtle, almost unnoticeable, (I wouldn't have seen if I had not seen this scene so many times) but Lisa's jaw tightened ever so slightly like she wanted to argue with Mommy.
“What about you daughter?” Lisa asked, clearly catching Mommy off her guard. “Does Samantha need daycare or does she already go? I was quite curious when I didn't find her here, so I asked a judge for a search warrant. He granted me one.” She opened a medium leather bag and pulled out a small stack of papers.
Then she and the man from Social Services, whose name I do not know, began to look for any belongings of mine. They also were looking for me. I wish I could have told them where I was sooner, but it didn't matter. They found me. The man did. Lisa put Rob on the couch and made Mommy follow, so she wouldn't be alone with him.
I remember having this odd sensation when I saw my body being dug up. I kept thinking I was going to sit up and start coughing up dirt and blinking it out of my eyes. The second they could tell it was me and I was dead, they stopped digging.
They called the police and then the police dug me up real careful and they all had on gloves. Then again, so did the Social Workers. They've had lots of experience getting yelled at about leaving prints. They arrested Mommy right there and then and Lisa took Rob away and put him in Foster Care.
This next part's going to be really hard to write down; it was super hard to watch. They Autopsied my body. They found all the really obvious stuff that you'd expect, but they also found something that even I didn't really understand. They found evidence that I was Raped. That was the word they used. Raped.
They said they wouldn't have even known except I had Vaginal Scarring from it. The tissue probably tore when it happened because I was so little at the time. As it turns out, Mommy never washed our sheets, not even once. They were able to get DNA from the Semen on them. The man went to jail with help from Mommy.
You see, Mommy went to jail for a lot longer than Andrew, which still seems wrong to me, because she committed a lot more little crimes, but he committed one huge one. Anyway, they told her she could get some years off her sentence if she knew and could give them the name of the man who raped me. She willingly told them.
I should get back to what happened to me. Jessica's mom gave me the proper burial that Mommy couldn't. There were not many people there. Jessica and her parents, Rob, Lisa, and his Social Worker, and a man who swore he was my dad. He said he had lived with me my first year of life, but he couldn't deal with Mommy and left. He also made it clear that she did not hit me when he lived with me. He would have fought for me; he would have taken me.
He provided the picture that sat on a small wooden box about my size they called a Coffin. It was cover with flowers, but it was sealed shut. I heard Jessica's mom mumble something about wishing it could be an open Coffin funeral. Then Jess's dad told her that she knew they couldn't, not with the way I looked. It would only cause more pain that way. She looked him right in the eyes and said, “That is exactly what I mean. She shouldn't die so gruesomely that we have to seal her Coffin. She is only a child.” He just hugged her then while she cried. That got to me too. A woman I never met was crying because I was dead and I wished that me and Jess had been sisters, not friends.
It was at this pre-burial that Lisa and Rob's Foster family finally understood that mama was not Mommy. Rob still didn't understand where I was and he kept hearing my name and he saw my picture on the Coffin. Finally he said, “Mama?”
Lisa, misunderstanding him, said, “It's okay Rob. Your safe now; mama can't hurt you anymore.”
He pointed at the picture of me and yelled, “Mama!” Then he looked at her very calmly and repeated, much softer and with great confusion, “Mama?”
“Oh,” she said, without her normal eloquence, “you're not talking about your mother, are you?” He shook his head fiercely. “All this time, you were asking about your sister, Samantha.”
And his four year-old eyes brightened. His cheeks had that same red glow that Jessica's had. “Mama!” Then, he noticed everyone's face go sad and burdened. Again he asked, “Mama?”
Lisa knelt down in front of the pew so they were at eye-level and she told him, “Your mother hurt mama really bad.” His eyes widened, but they didn't really look sad. “She's not coming home.”
Tears flowed into his eyes, but he looked right at her. Sometimes, he would say a word that was not my name, but it was always accompanied with the word mama. This was one of those rare occasions. “Mama safe?”
Lisa's lips quivered slightly and Jessica started sobbing. Lisa looked him in the eye and grabbed his hand. “Mama is very safe. Your mama is never going to be hurt ever again.” He nodded his head smiling, but tear still leaked from his eyes. He still did not understand, not until much later, but he knew he was supposed to be sad.
I could continue for a long time. I have seen so much more, but this is not the story of Mommy's tragic childhood or Andrew's alcoholic step-father. It is not even about Rob's struggle to get over my death or Jessica's valiant attempts to help children just like me. It is also not about her little girl she named Samantha in remembrance, in honor. This is a story of me.
People here have often asked me if my life was worth my brother's freedom. I have only ever come up with one answer. Yes, my death put three bad people behind bars and saved my little brother. It was a life cut short, but a life well spent.
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