I always assumed that pain was a part of life. I mean, when you go to the dentist they offer the option to numb the pain. Who really says “No thanks!! I wont take the Lidocaine today!” I tend to be hurt by the things I cannot change.
It was such a gloomy boring day for me. My mom was getting married. I remember my look on my face in the prison photo she has of all of us standing there. I was the only one without a smile. That day there wasn’t one to be found. My heart hurts when I think about why I was given this life with all of the struggles in it. And when I told people, they would always say
“Go write a book!”
As if that’s the easiest thing in the world to do. And do I have the patience to sit and do that? The answer was of course hell no at the time, but now I am looking at it differently. My grandmother died in 2005. On December 31. I am numb on every New Year’s Eve. She took care of my brother and I when my mother lost custody of us, because she was a lackluster parent. (I will write about why she lost custody soon enough.) But even with her, she was always on my ass about something. Always riding my ass. (Now I believe she knew my potential, and really truly believed in me)… I mean, I just could not get a break. My brother was a kiss ass on the other hand and was treated as such. So when I turned old enough to go live with my mom I jumped. What teenager wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to go live with a parent that didn’t really keep an eye on you? This was back in the AOL Dial-Up Internet days. When chat rooms were so cool. To think that there were probably 42 year old creeps behind the screens. So I packed my things and went to go live with my mom. It felt like freedom. I guess it felt like love too. I don’t think about it now without tears coming. That was really all I wanted from that woman. Was real, honest love.
When she met her husband (to whom she is still married to), we were the first to know his credentials. Which were not impressive by any means. He was in prison for murder. Cold blooded murder. Ahhh, our stomachs were turned the fuck out. We “liked” him because we didn’t really have a choice. She kind of forced it on us. My brother (that I was raised by my grandmother with) and I faked the liking part… we were never ok with him. And even when we lived with her when she moved to live closer to the prison he was in, she would try and get us to go on what they like to call “trailers” (visits that prisoners can get with their families and the family stays in the “trailer”. It could be a dorm type of room too). I never went. I was scared. She would try and ground us if we didn’t go. That shit was not flying with me. I firmly told her exactly where to stick it. I’m 18 and I said no. Period.
My beauty had a jump around 17 and 18. Always got attention. Tall, long legs, yellow-boned, long hair… I had it going on. But it was never the attention that you think. I was never a hoe, and hardly ever approached. Just stares… lots and lots of stares. And so her husband would make some really disrespectful comments sometimes. I could never understand why. I can’t say that I was naive I just didn’t think it would happen to me. I remember one day she came and talked to me about her husband wanting her to start a “photography” business. I was always into photography. But this wasn’t the click and send to a gallery type of photography. She was talking about taking pictures of us (My sister and I & My best friend and I). My sister was 15 at the time. I was 17. I was floored. What? What? Whatttttt???? My answer was no. Even when she tried to hook me up with another prisoner there. My answer was no. I was like who the fuck do you think I am? I would NEVER be with a man in prison. That is beneath me. What the fuck can a man in prison do for me that I cannot do for myself? My sister has always been gifted. A kind heart for sure. Too kind. And she’s unaware of the ways of the world so her mind has always been a couple steps behind. When my mom asked her she obliged… To anything she asked. I felt the guilt. I knew what it was like to be controlled by this woman. Hell, being the oldest of 6; I knew her better than anyone. But how could she? How could she do that to her daughter?
It came time for another trailer and my mom asked my sister if she was going to go. To which she said yes. I never had good feelings about these bullshit “visits”. It later came out, when we were grown and on our own that something happened to my sister. See, to understand where the story is headed, you have to understand where it began…
My mother has an amazing voice. And the story is that she had a full scholarship to Juliard contingent on her graduating high school. She had dreams of being an Opera singer. Those dreams never became a reality because she got pregnant at 17 with me. The spiral was all downhill from there. Drugs were appealing to most people back then and she was no exception. They began to consume her life. And so she lost custody of me when I was almost 2. She never regained it from there. And I don’t believe she ever really tried. My grandmother told us at a very young age about my mother’s mental illness. With my grandmother having a degree in Psychology, it was something that she was familiar with. Schizophrenia. I remember the word being a very long one. Being a Spelling Bee champ, even I had some difficulty with it when I first tried to say it. Nana was forthcoming with the description of Schizophrenia. I remember “Multiple Personalities” being one of the key points. Her explanation for that fit my mom’s behavior to a T. Her radical ups and downs. And it seemed like she would just “switch.” The switching wasn’t discreet that’s for sure. It was very noticeable. I always felt ashamed of the way my mother would act sometimes. So ashamed… I hated going out in public with her. I hated when she would talk to us in that horrible way. It was all a mess. One thing I can say is that nothing is as it seems with that woman. She will say one thing and mean another. Which is why when she came into my room that night and said “Lonnie, I need to talk to you”, I was apprehensive. The talk surfaced and concerned a trailer that she had just gotten off of and my sister had gone on. “She wants to fuck my husband and I am not having it! That is so disgusting. She acts like a little whore. My husband wanted to try something with her but he said she was too fat for him.”
By now your mind is reeling right? You read right. “So you’re saying your husband was going to have sex with her?”
“No”, she stated with firm irritation. “She was coming onto him and he refused.” From there I just wanted the conversation to end as quickly as possible. I was disgusted. I’m pretty sure I just dismissed her entirely (as usual) and went about my business.
Now, this conversation transpired over 10 years ago. But my mind put something together. I remember all the times my mom would be like “Night, I am going to bed.” and we would sneak out of the house. She was heavily medicated and on sleeping pills which would knock her the fuck out. To the point you could shake her and she wasn’t waking. So in some cases… if you have a script for a medication, you can take that medication on a trailer with you so long as it’s in the original bottle and you have the pamphlet that shows the photograph of the pill. Well… I thought to myself a couple years ago, “If she was knocked out like that when she’s sleeping how does she know her husband didn’t do anything to my sister while my mom was sleeping?” This was especially a possibility after going through what I went through with his creepiness. I always maintained a level of IDGAF when it came to her and her husband. But I didn’t believe what she said about my sister. When I asked my sister she denied it and I would just tell her that if she needed to talk then I was here.
If she needed to talk. Those few words have burned a hole in my soul ever since.
My phone number hasn’t changed in so long. Which is a good thing. Shows stability right? Not always. In this case it showed vulnerability. The phone call that I got was nowhere near the type of call I wanted. The conversation was heavy, sticky, and dark. It was him. Her husband. Let’s fast forward to the part that matters. The rest is filler and will be in another segment. “Have you ever fantasized about someone and never been able to tell them?”
“No” I said
“Well what would you do if you did? Would you tell them?”
“Huh?” I said. I really had no fucking idea what this moron was talking about.
“Well I am the type to be blunt and tell it like it is. I’m not going to beat around the bush. I have fantasized about you ever since I met you.”
Those words were like little knives in my skin. I was 13 when he met me. T H I R T E E N. “Don’t ever call me again. Lose my number. I don’t ever want anything to do with you.” That red button to end the call couldn’t be pressed quick enough. My heart sank. I felt violated. Alone. Ashamed.
The conversation with my mom went the way that most conversations go when girls come to their mom and say that their husband has touched, fantasized or violated them. I mean, think about it… How many stories have you heard where the mom was supportive, strong and took her daughters side and divorced the sick fuck? Hardly ever. I will never forget the words that came out of her mouth… “Well, I don’t know what he said because I wasn’t there. He said he didn’t say that and I believe my husband. He wouldn’t do something like that. Why would he be interested in you anyways?!”
Well my sentiments exactly. I felt like I lost 2000 brain cells after talking with her about this. She was so oblivious. The conversation stopped there. Forward to now, I got a phone call from her. She was asking about my kids and wondering how they were doing (pretending to care). I told her they are fine. She said “I wish I could move up there and help you but my husband said he doesn’t want to deal with any drama”
“What are you talking about drama ?”
“Well the stuff with the letter.”
“What letter? Seriously, what the hell are you talking about?”
“You know, when you wrote that letter to him.”
“Well it wasn’t a letter at all, so lets get rid of that idea. And it was when he called me and told me he has fantasized about me since he met me.”
“Well either way, he said he doesn’t want any drama. He would never come right out and say that I couldn’t move up there but I just know he doesn’t want any drama. You know? I wasn’t there to see or hear anything so I don’t know what was said.”
I couldn’t get off that phone and end that conversation soon enough. Typical response. Typical reaction.
I said goodbye. I think I meant it this time. I want that word to mean something to me. And as long as I continue to allow to be treated like shit by her and her husband, “goodbye” will always be a temporary end to a conversation. I want it to be permanent.