Like all stories of how one comes to be, there is always a beginning. When you think of your childhood what is the first picture you see, the first memory brought to light? For me I am about 3 years old and I see a small room with two brothers who are older then me, a TV and small kitchen. All day we would hang out together watching TV. There is no food and nothing to drink, for three days we are in this room, just us kids. Remembering how hungry I was, not sure where the food is, or when we will eat. On the night of the third day I see the front door open and in walks a woman and a man. The woman I know I should call mother, the man I don't know his face. Walking in laughing with each other and carrying a brown bag. I believe this is food, I think it was cold shrimp. It was strange, looking at it now. To me it looks like someone who is taking care of a friends pet while they are away. She was dropping by to feed us after a few days had past. Walking a few steps past the door placing the brown bag down on what looks like an ironing board to feed us and turned back around to leave. I see that we were so happy to see them, jumping up and down. Like puppies who had not seen nor heard anyone all day and are so eager to be given attention, some sort of affection. But there were no hugs and kisses given, no I loves you to hold close. As fast as the door opened, it was even quicker to shut. Fighting my way to the door, my older brother was holding me so close trying to keep me from trying to pry it back open, I cry in his arms, "why is she leaving!?"
Not much older the next picture I see is of my dad. I remember him working on his brown station wagon and doing something under the dash. I sit there in the passenger seat eagerly watching him with such curiosity. I've always loved to observe and watch others, or what I've learned many rather call "nosy". He is under the steering wheel beneath the dash working on something. I see that he is playing with wires and trying to attach what looks like a switch or button of some sort, wasn't really sure why though. Glued to his odd project, my father told me to be quiet, to not tell anyone about what he is doing.
Later that night I remember the woman who is my mother coming to wake me. Still asleep and trying to open my eyes I didn't know where she was going, but she wanted me to be quiet not to wake anyone. Gathering some things tagging along half asleep we went outside. We're now sitting in the car and she is trying to start it and immediately becomes frustrated, for some reason the car will not start. She is yelling and hitting the steering wheel, she is so mad. I watch her trying to figure out what my dad did to the car, why the key is not working. I remembered that switch I watched my dad making earlier that day. I wanted to try to help her, she was so mad and yelling about my dad that it was upsetting me seeing her this way. I know my dad said not to tell anyone but I wanted to help her so I pointed under the dash and told her about it. I wasn't quite sure how it worked but I did know what it was for and must be used to start the car. She pressed the button and turned the key, the car finally had started. We left that night.
Later on not sure if it was the next day, I remember hearing yelling and screaming coming from their room. Loud sounds like things are being thrown and crying, so much crying. I hear what sounds like the smacking of skin, and the breaking of objects. "What did I do, it must have been me? That switch, was it that switch I showed her? I was not suppose to tell anyone about it. But I just wanted to help." Please stop screaming I thought to myself, it's all my fault. I told her about the switch, I disobeyed you. I ran to the phone and dialed 911. I had to stop the screaming and crying. This room and all the sounds coming from it, I was so afraid of what I had done and what was happening because of telling her. I remember the cops came, my dad walking away in handcuffs. I just wanted the screaming to stop, but now he is being taken away. This is all my fault, I should have not shown her that button, I should have just listened when you said not to tell anyone. I am told that he hit her, that is why he is leaving. Crying and running after him as they take him to their car, "I'm sorry daddy, I'm so sorry.."
I now see a road in front of me, not long after that horrible day. Two of my brothers beside me and we are sitting with what little we own. Cars passing by and wondering why we are on this curb? What are we waiting for? Our mother standing beside us tells she has called our dad and gave him a choice. "Either he can come and pick you up where you are, or social services will." What is going on, did we do something wrong or do we eat too much? Are we bad or does she just not like us? Confused and unsure what is going to happen at this point we waited not knowing who will come for us, where we will go and no answers to why she didn't want us. Waiting along that curb with night drawing near, a familiar site of a brown station wagon drove up, it was our dad. A few days had passed and we were taken to a court house. We each sat there my brothers and I answering questions that this man would ask each of us. After he was done with them all but one question was what he had left, a choice. One by one this man who sat behind a big tall desk looked down at us and told us to choose. "Who do you want to live with?" and each one of us pointed in the direction of my father, and we left.