My big brother was sent away after he tried to kill me. I don’t remember much about that night. Just a lot of burning in my throat while he sat on the pillow covering my head. I remember my mouth being open but I wasn’t able to scream. Darkness was my next memory. Our adopted parents later told me that when they found us I wasn’t even trying to get away. My body was limp. They thought I was dead.
I wasn’t mad at my big brother because I knew he wasn’t the one trying to kill me. The monster that lived inside him told him to do it. This monster lived with us, played with us. He often bossed my brother around. He would tell him to go sit in the middle of the road and wait on a car to run him over. The monster would take his finger nails and run them down my brothers face over and over until it bled. He would slam his head on the floor and against walls. I was never afraid of him because I had my big brother to protect me. He wouldn’t let the monster hurt me. When he was forced to destroy all the dishes in the kitchen he made sure to avoid throwing them at me. After every fit he would tell me “sissy I’m sorry”. The teachers at school say he’s mentally retarded and has severe explosive anger disorder. Everyday was a struggle as he had to learn how to behave. Our parents would argue that he knows better then to act out so badly but the monster had full control on him.
When fits would break out I was taught to run into the bathroom and lock the door and just wait until everything was back to normal. Our parents would have to get really physical sometimes to stop him. I could hear sounds of screaming, glass breaking. The sound of the couch being pushed around. From inside the bathroom you would find me crouched down inside the laundry bin cabinets hugging my knees to my chest. I wasn’t confidant that the lock on the door would keep the monster from coming in. He made my brother do awful things. It got to the point of not being able to leave the house because the monster tried to push me out of the moving car. My big brother couldn’t protect me as well as before. He was becoming the monster.
When I was seven years old I found myself sitting on my knees in the bedroom playing with my barbie dolls when I realized my brother wasn’t ever coming back. Maria and Frankie tried really hard but they failed to see the real problem with in Thomas. They got rid of him but they left the monster in the house.
Brushing my barbie dolls hair out…” Im not afraid of you monster”.
I have no memory of interacting with Maria and Frankie was never home. At school I was very quiet. So quiet that they put me in a special educations class. Maria told them they were wrong. That I was not “special”, I was very intelligent, they’ll see. There was two teachers in this new class. The other kids looked funny and a lot of them drooled all over themselves. I knew I wasn’t like them but I wasn’t big into talking either so people assumed I was stupid. The teachers had us sit in a circle with books. The main teacher, Ms. Meadows, sat in a chair above us like a queen. A queen of stupid kids. As she read I read to myself going ahead of her. The other teacher kept taking my book and turning back my pages. I turned them back to the page I was reading.
“Honey, follow along”. I ignored her.
” Kaye, why are you misbehaving” Ms. Meadows asked.
” Im reading ”
I was the very last child to get off the school bus in the afternoons. I usually fell asleep. Mr. Sims, the bus driver was very kind to me. Waking me up gently when we got to my house. Helping me down the stairs, waiting until he saw my mother appear at the top of the hill before driving away. I dont remember having dinner with family, being dressed for school, being made to do home work. I spent my afternoons behind closed doors with monster. He was becoming a friend. He knew he couldn’t control me so he joined me and together we played with dolls. I was too strong for him unlike my brother. He taught me how to feed myself. How to wash my own clothes. How to turn the shower on and make sure its not too hot. He is a very jealous monster. Keeping me all to himself. He would often drag me out into the woods behind the house and we would stay out so long I would fall asleep on the ground. Waking up in the middle of the night unafraid. There were no rules.
The pencils they made us use in class were way to big for my hands. They were teaching us how to write the letter ” A”. Upper case and lower case repetively all over the page. I finished first of course and when Ms. Meadows noticed I had put my pencil down she ran over to see what was up. She took one look at my paper and said ” Oh no Honey, here..”
She started erasing the whole page and this pissed me off. I didn’t say anything while she showed me the right way. She drew a circle then put a straight line next to it. It looked odd to me. I liked my ” A “s much better. An oval with a little tail. I sloppily drew the rest of the “A”s the way she wanted me to. When I was done I sat my pencil down. I sat quietly until the next project of the day began. School seemed too easy. Then I would remember that I was in the “stupid” class of course its easy. I had no real life friends because the kids were just so strange. The next project consisted of us all taking our shoes off so the teachers could trace our feet on a sheet of colorful paper to later turn into turkeys. I was embarrased. I had big feet for a little girl.
The project was interupted when a woman walked in. Another teacher. Her name was Mrs. Masingail. She was a big women with very long dark curls covering her head and shoulders. She was much prettier then Ms.Meadows. I was interested in her. Ms.Meadows grabbed my hand and walked me over to her. I didn’t want to hold hands back with her but I didnt feel I had much of a choice.
” Sweetheart, would you like to come with me for the rest of the day”? holding out her hand to me. I didnt say anything. I didn’t know exactly what they wanted me to do so I just took her hand. She walked me down the hall just 3 doors down and she drug me into another classroom. There were no children in there but I knew there had been because backpacks hung from every chair. I wondered where all the kids went. She sat me at a table in the very back of the room. The table was covered with books. She asked me to pick one out. The first one I layed my eyes on had a cat on the cover. I pulled on it until it fell in front of me. I had kittens at home. I like cats very much so this one would work. She smiled like I had just done something grand.
” Thats a great choice sweetheart, now can you open it for me, to the first page.”
I did this.
Still smiling ” Kaye, can you read to me the first sentence on the page.”
I really didn’t want to speak, it made me anxious but I liked her and I wanted to keep her smiling at me so I read ” The.. cat ran.. up.. the tree”.
” Keep going …”
I read to Mrs.Masingail for what seemed like forever. Finally she put the books away and we began doing some addition and subtraction math problems. I was relieved because all the talking exhausted me. It was basic stuff. Two plus two equals four type questions. I was kind of frustrated that I had to do all this work while the other kids got to stay in class making feet turkeys. That night at the house I noticed my parents talking about me and school. Mom was saying things like ” I knew they would.. I told them this would happen.”
The next day at school I realized what mom was talking about. I was pulled out of the stupid class and put into a regular class. Mrs.Masingails class. I was very happy. She introduced me, telling the class that I was transferring from another class into this one and to make me feel welcome. Right off I noticed a change in these kids. They looked normal. No drooling. They all starred at me though. It worried me that maybe I looked strange to them. The girl sitting next to me had dark skin and dark hair. I thought she was pretty. But she wasnt smiling. Her name was Kenya. I talked about her and Mrs.Masingail to monster after school. He told me not to talk to them. I didn’t know how I felt.
Along with my new normal class I was also enrolled into speech therapy. Apparently I had a horrible speech impediment. Im assuming it played a big roll into making people think I was stupid. My speech therapy teacher was a little odd and she fed us ladder shaped cheeze-its when we would enunciate correctly. There were four other kids in the class. None as bad off as me. My parents said I always talked funny. Since I was a baby. They don’t know why. They got me when I was one. Thomas was four.
Ms. Banks was older and wore big glasses. She was very patient with us. I think I was her favorite because I never talked back. Out loud anyways. The kids in this class were all mean. LIke they were trying to compensate for something. They knew they were messed up. It didn’t bother me like it bothered them. I let them be mean to me.
Hunter was one of the kids. I liked the way he looked. Brown hair, big eyes, big teeth, round baby face. ” So I heard you came out of the retards class”! He said looking at me. The other kids laughed. The teacher snapped her fingers in his face ” HUNTER!”
” What!? Im just asking …”
” Hush it up right now young man”
I knew the kids thought I was weird but I didnt mind it. It took the pressure off of trying to fit in and make friends. Monster tells me that i am so much smarter then them. They will never have the kind of understandings that I have”.
” Im all the friend you need”. He tells me.
One by one the kids graduated out of the speech therapy class. I was the only one left. Ms. Banks knew I was better but she didn’t want to let me go. I didn’t want to go. She let me stay in her class for a long time. It was just us everyday. We eventually stopped doing the workbooks. She fed me and bought me sodas out of the teachers lounge. I help her clean her desk off and I ran errands with her around the school. When I walked with her I was shielded from bullies. I definitely didn’t want to be caught alone outside of a classroom.
I made straights A’s in everything. I was constantly getting awarded for good behavior. Meaning as long as you keep quiet people assume your just sweet. They don’t know how you really think of them. I liked that. I got to hold the american flag in class in the mornings while we said the pledge of allegiance. I just mouthed the words. So the teacher didnt think I was being bad. I thought Mrs. Masingail was fat but pretty. Turns out she wasnt fat. She was having a baby. She told us that she was expecting a boy and she was going to be naming him Ethan. The class was in an uproar of excitement for her. I sat back quietly. A couple kids bumped into my desk and it pissed me off.
“Kaye, Sweetie, what do you think” she asked me. ” I don’t like boys” I said.
Her smiled faded and I instantly felt bad. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. Thats the last memory I have of her. Because she disappeared. Maternity leave. I graduated the first grade.
Chapter Two: A sense of family
Frankies parents had been living with us for a couple years when my mom found out she was pregnant. Now they have to move out to make room for the baby. I was glad to see them leave. The old man was nice enough, he took moms spot waiting at the top of the hill when i get off the bus. The old lady was unbearable. I was always left at home alone with her.
” Children are to be seen not heard” She would say.
Worked for me, I dont like to talk. But that didn’t keep her from finding a reason to bitched at me. I wasn’t allowed to do anything. She picked out my clothes for school. She demanded we have a sit down dinner each night. It was like walking on egg shells. If my silverwear clinked against my plate she would glare at me. I had to eat everything even if I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t allowed to go in the kitchen unless I was helping her clean. ” Spare the rod spoil the child” is what she told my mother.
Maria didn’t agree with her. Sometimes she would intervene. Then her and dad would get into a fight and it all came back around to being my fault. I had spent the whole day in the woods with monster when Dorah called me up to the house. ” Go get cleaned up for dinner” she barked.
I changed out of my blue shorts and tank top and into my pjs. I felt itchy from playing in the dirt. I was trying to get onto the family computer to play solitaire when she walked in the room slow and creepy.
” What” I snapped. “What the HELL is this!?” She screamed throwing my blue shorts at me. Before I realized what she was talking about I was being forcfully dragged into the kitchen by my arms. She turned the hot water on in the sink and started filling it with soap. I still didn’t know what I had done wrong. ” Do you know I do your laundry every day”!
She slammed a chair up against the sink. ” And what do you do! You get grass stains all over your shorts! Do you know how hard it is to get those out!?”
I couldn’t believe she was serious. But she was. She shoved me onto the chair. If I stood on my knees I was tall enough to use the sink.
” Wash the stains out!” I stuffed the shorts under the water.
I pulled my hands away quickly. The water was too hot. This must have offended her because she grabbed my hands and used me as a puppet to rub the stains out.
” Don’t you dare leave this spot until those stains are gone”.
It was dark outside when mom came in through the back door.
” what are you doing” She asked me.
” trying to get these grass stains out”..
MY hands where raw. My knuckles nearly bleeding. At least the water had cooled down. I could tell mom was very unhappy. She drained the sink and told me to go play.
I was over joyed the day mom came home and told me they had found a house for the grandparents. She knew it would make me happy. We even high fived. Im assuming she was sick of them too. I was so happy to get my little family back. It was short lived though.
It all came crashing back down on me when mom was showing me an ultrasound video of a skeleton baby. We were watching it then at the top all of a sudden it said ” ITS A BOY”. I don’t like boys. But I didn’t tell her that. Her belly got really big. She cried everytime she stepped on the scale. She had a fat face all of a sudden. I don’t know why she was so happy. We were sitting on her bed when she asked me what I think we should name the baby. ” Matty ” I said. She liked it.
I had thought of that name because my favorite t.v show was about this sister and her little brother named Matty. The sister looked like me. We both had blonde hair and blue eyes. But she insisted to every one that she picked the name out of the bible. I was old enough to know what I lie was.
I got off the bus to find my grandfather parked at the bottom of the hill. I instantly knew the baby was here. I got in the car and we headed to the hospital. I found my dad standing my a big glass window. Looking in at all the babies. Im surprised there were so many.
” Which one do you think he is”? he asked me. I noticed a baby that was the color of a tomato and I was hoping that wasn’t the one. I shrugged my shoulders. In my moms hospital room I had to be on my best behavior because Dorah was there. I sat in a chair and spaced out. When they brought the baby in he was completely wrapped up. I couldn’t see him and I didn’t really care to. After twenty minutes of oooing and awwing my mom asked me if I wanted to hold him. I said no.
Then some one pulled out a camera and my dad made me go stand by the hospital bed to take a photo with mom and the baby. Mom looked horrible. Why was she so happy? The once quiet home was filled with the screaming demands of a new born. As soon as I walked in from school I was put on baby duty. Making bottles, changing diapers, keeping him from crying so he wouldn’t wake mom and get me in trouble. When I got tired of holding him I would shove his tiny body in between the couch cushions so he wouldnt fall over. I don’t think he minded. Monster felt neglected. I tried inclusing the baby into our games but he wasnt having it. He was a jealous monster. He told me he wasn’t going to be my friend any more because of the baby. I ignored him for a while. My life was nothing but school, and baby. The only time I could get away was to lock myself in the bathroom like I had done a million times before and pretend that I was pooping or taking a bath. Then mom started sticking the baby in the tub with me and I had to watch him then too. He would scream at night so badly that dad would leave. I lay awake in my bed counting down the minutes until I had to go to school again.
In class we were working on mothers day books. We had to color a differant picture on each page and answer questions on others. The front of mine had a puppy and a kitten on it. They reminded me of my parents so I colored clothes on them. Some of the questions in the book were “who makes you happy” I said Mom. ” who makes you sad” I said Dad.
My teacher Ms.Brewer called me up to her desk to asked me what i meant by ” my dad makes me sad”. I shrugged my shoulders. He didn’t actually make me sad. Dad was just the opposite of mom and I was running out of answers. She sent me to the counselors office anyway.
That night at home was brutal. The school had called my parents. Frankie was screaming at me. Fire coming out of his eyes as hes telling me that i’m selfish. Hes demanding I tell him exactly what I told the counselor. And if I think I have it so bad I can go some where else. He put a roof over my head, he feeds me, he puts clothes on my back but im just a piece of shit that lies to counselors about being beat. There a huge lump in my chest.
I never said I was being beat at home. The counselor assumed everything when I wouldn’t speak to her. She took it as me being broken when really I just didn’t want to speak to her. She got me into trouble. I hate her.
” I wonder if they still love me”
” No they don’t” the monster says
” I didn’t say anything bad tho”
” Doesnt matter. Look at how happy they are now with their own baby. They dont need you any more. They got rid of Thomas and replaced him. Your next my friend. ”
I was starting to see what a real family looked like. I was pissed off. I was grew weaker and weaker. Allowing the monster to fill my head with negativity and doubt. The school was making me see the counselor once a week now. She had lip shaped candies. She always offered me some but I never took any. Nothing was wrong at home until she ran her big fat mouth. Now every things messed up. MY parents think I lied for attention.
” Do you feel like your mother doesn’t love you”..
I shook my head yes.
That is how I felt. I hadn’t really talked to her in weeks. We’ve been tip toeing around each other at the house. The monster was taking over.
I stood in my parents room as they slept. The baby was in a bassinet next to the bed. The monster wanted me to do awful things. I was so confused. I didn’t know how to do what he wanted me to. He told me that there’s not enough room for me and the baby. One of us had got to go. I remembered how my big brother tried to kill me and I reached for a pillow. It felt so heavy in my hands. My whole bodys shaking while the monsters screaming at me ” DO IT, DO IT”.
” I don’t want to get into trouble” I say.
When I woke up the next day I was unsure if it was just a bad dream or if I had really considered hurting the baby. I felt ashamed. Whats wrong with me?
Then I graduated the third grade.
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