We didn’t have family come over very often, but when they did, they would want to see me and my sister. My parents would always tell them that we were sleeping though. They didn’t want to try and explain why our room was the way it was, why we were wearing nothing but underwear, not to mention the fact that we were covered in bruises.
Once Grandma had come over to the apartment without calling ahead of time. Since Mother slept during the day, when Grandma came it woke her up.
Grandma came into our room, telling our mother that she wanted to see the children. When she opened the door, she was met with a horrible sight, the reason she couldn’t see her grandchildren was clear now.
She snapped on my mother, asking her why were tied up, why we didn’t have clothes, why our window was boarded up.
All my mother could say was lies. We didn’t have a mattress because we had torn it up. We didn’t have clothing because we would never keep it on. The window was boarded because the neighbors were complaining about always seeing us naked.
At this time, Father woke up. He had found out that Grandma had been in our room and wanted to know why she was there. She told him she was there to see her grandchildren and then demanded to know why we were living in such horrible conditions. Father just argued that it was none of her business how he raised his kids and she needed to leave.
Grandma left, but was back in a few days. This time with a new mattress and pajamas. She made Mother give us a bath, something we hadn’t had for a long time, and then put our new PJs on. It was wonderful. She then made our father put the new mattress on the bed.
After Grandma had left, he was furious. He took the new mattress off our bed and put it on his. He even made us take of out new pajamas, since we didn’t deserve them; you have to earn things.
After that, Father made sure that no one would get into our room again. He put a lock on the door, the kind where you can only open it with they key.
Our parents would leave us locked in the dark room whenever they would to go to the store. They said it was because we could not behave.
One day, our father came into the room and told us we had to move, and it was out fault because we could not be good. That we were just a pain in the ass.
The next few days we had to get ready to move. We were only moving to a smaller apartment in the same complex so it wasn’t that far.
I hoped and prayed that maybe in this new apartment we wouldn’t have a dark room where we’d have to sleep on the floor.
My prayer was not answered. This time they didn’t even bother putting the bed together. They just pushed the iron springs up against the wall and put an old wood closet in front of the window.
We were still tied up at opposite ends but now, when we did something wrong, they had found a new way of torturing us. They would tie us up standing up and my father would stay and turn the lights on and off, on and off. If we got caught sleeping, he would throw cold water at us.
I was now six yeas old, and school was coming up. On the first day, she came and told me to get dressed. She didn’t give me anything to eat, but when it was time she walked me to the bus stop and told me that from now on, I would be doing this on my own.
I would wait every morning for my mother to come and unlock the door so I could get ready for school. There were plenty of days where she would not even wake up but the days she did would make me so happy. I had made good friends at the bus stop, my first real friends other then my sister.
The bus stop was in front of my friend’s house and on cold mornings my friend’s mother would ask me to wait for the bus in their house. I told her thank you, but that I was not allowed into other people’s houses. The mother told me it was okay, and that she’s talked to my parents. Whenever I stayed in their house, they would give me something to eat. I think she could tell I did not eat much. We would watch TV until the bus would come and it was nice. I can’t remember the show we watched, only that it looked like a bunch of big puppets walking around.
I would always try to say no when my friend’s mother would ask, but she would insist, telling me it was not safe for me to stand outside by myself. She would ask my why my mother didn’t wait with me. I just told her my father was sick, and I had a sister who could not be left alone.
Then there was the time my father had a doctors appointment. As they drove past my stop, they noticed I wasn’t there. I looked up and, seeing the car, went out the door.
Father got out of the car, grabbed my arm, and pulled me into the car. My friend’s mother tried to talk to my father, but he wouldn’t listen to her. He started cussing, yelling, and didn’t care or even want to know who they were.
I tried to explain to him that it was just my friend’s house. He wouldn’t believe me and just kept saying it was a drug house. I tried to tell him it was not but he hit me in the mouth so hard it started to bleed, and then repeated that it was drug and whore house. He wanted to know then names of all the men I had been with and what type of drugs we were using.
I tried to tell him I wasn’t doing drugs but he just kicked me onto the floor and told me I was a liar. He told me that if I didn’t tell him everything, he would mix something up that would make me tell him the truth.
I still tried to tell him that nothing had happened but he wouldn’t have it. He got up and went into the kitchen. I could hear him doing something and when he came back he had with him a cup filled with come drink he had made. He made me drink it but there wasn’t anything I could do to keep it down, so finally I just made something up for him to leave me alone. I made up names of men and drugs, but my father just kept at me, while minutes turned into hours. He wanted details of what the men did, but I didn’t know what to say. Then he would ask me if they’d done this or that and I would just say yes, not knowing what he was talking about.
I felt like I was going to be sick, and my father could see this because he told me not to throw up. He dragged me back into the bedroom and tied me up, saying the whole time that he was going to call the police, letting them know about the whorehouse I had been going to. As soon as he left, I threw up. It was weeks before I went back to school. When I did return, a social worker came to get me out of class; she said she wanted to talk to me. She even told me she knew my mother when she was a child.
She seemed nice so when she asked about my family I told her about my sister. I didn’t open up much, I was too afraid she would tell my father.
At one of these meetings, she asked me about my bruises. I just told her that me and my sister fought a lot. I don’t think she believed me.
Around the same time the social worker started to come and see me, was when I figured out there was no such thing as Santa Claus, not that my parents had ever got me anything.
The school was having a Christmas party and we were supposed to bring in a gift for one of our classmates. Of course, I couldn’t get anything for anyone; but the teacher had bought coloring books for the ones who did not get gifts.
There was one gift I really wanted: a doll. This girl had already told everyone it was a doll so I hoped it was for me.
When it came time for the party, there was this boy who kept telling me there was no such thing as Santa Claus. I argued with him that there was and even asked the teacher, who told me that of course there was a Santa Claus.
It was time to pass out the gifts, and when the teacher handed me mine I knew it wasn’t a doll. My gift was flat. I started to cry and when she asked what was wrong, I told her that what I had really wanted was a doll. She tried to tell me that I would get all kinds of toys for Christmas.
When I got home, I asked Mother if there was a Santa Claus. She hit me in the side of my head, telling me she was only going to say this once: there was not such thing as Santa Claus, and if there was, he wouldn’t come see bad kids.