All I wanted

My 13th Birthday is right around the corner. Friday night my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and this year I was ready. I usually said I didn’t know or really had to think about it. This year I had thought about it for over 6 months. Knowing it was expensive and knowing it had to be a special occasion. The time had finally come.

All the girls at school had these nameplate necklaces and I loved them. I wanted one so bad. I loved the way my name looked in cursive, and my name was not as common when I was younger. Mine would look nothing like the other girls.  I could just picture how pretty this necklace was going to be. So I responded to my mother immediately, I want a nameplate necklace.

My mother immediately told me, no, It was too expensive. I was devastated, I wondered if maybe I didn’t tell her soon enough, if it was something, she would need time to get. So I explained I knew that it was a special order and I wouldn’t have it for my birthday but that is all I really wanted. She said no again, and then I was just mad. We went back and forth. Money was tight for us and I knew that. But I also knew probably more than I should.

I knew that my mom was helping a friend of hers with bills and some money. I knew my parents sold drugs and this friend was selling for them to help herself as well.  Unfortunately for my parents, I knew too much and that mixed with anger and rebellion was not a good combination. I immediately yelled back at my mother and cut her off from any further lie that was going to roll off her lips. I said well I think it is great you can SELL DRUGS for YOUR FRIENDS BUT NOT FOR YOUR DAUGHTERS BIRTHDAY GIFT!!!

My mother instantly went into her victim space. The crocodile tears began, and she yelled at me to go to my room. We did not speak for the rest of the weekend. She barricaded herself in her room to get high for the weekend with my stepfather.  A part of me was still very angry, feeling like everyone was more important to her, worth all the risk etc. More importantly, I felt guilty for hurting her feelings and disappointing her to the point where she would shut me out for an entire weekend.

There is no stronger feeling than the feeling of being alone in a full house. I would tiptoe through the hallway to hear her cry to my stepfather in one breath about how I didn’t care if she went to jail and then calling me every name in the book in the next breath.  This continued throughout the whole weekend. At this point, it was not about the necklace. It was about how I felt and about how she was going to twist it to fit her agenda no matter the cost.

What I Actually Got

Monday morning rolled around, and my stepfather went to bring my mother to work. I got up and took a shower and began to get ready for school. I was still mad and upset but could not have been happier that it was Monday. I could go to school and talk to my friends; my mom would be at work and sober up enough to hopefully come back to reality. We would all get the space that we needed.

My stepfather came home and walked into the bathroom where I was getting ready to put gel in my hair. I turned to him to start talking to him about how crazy she was acting because he typically agreed and saw right through her. SMACK! He smacks my hand full of gel and tells me “ you are going to school the way you are, no hair products, let’s go!“ I roll my eyes and tell him that was not happening.

Dale immediately grabbed me and smacked me in the face. I began to scream at him “You have lost your mind, I AM NOT MY MOTHER! YOU WILL NOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON ME!  He is screaming back and all I can hear is her, he is repeating all the things she said all weekend long over and over to him.  I snap out of it and tell him to let go of me before I call the cops.

He drags me by my hair screaming at me, “Oh, you’re going to call the cops? Let’s go Ill bring you to the police department he says”. He opens the door and pushes me out it. Well, we have 15 stairs outside of our door and a pretty large overhang. In reaction, I try to grab onto something to break my fall. My face collided with the overhang before I could brace myself and I tumble down the rest of the stairs.

Dale still following behind me I scurry to get up and out the bottom door. I am crying and not really sure of the injuries as my adrenaline is so high at this point. Anger takes over and the second I am on my two feet again my mouth starts to unleash with everything and anything I could think of screaming at the top of my lungs.

Our neighbor was a teacher and happened to be leaving around the same time. He must have heard the commotion as I was pretty sure the whole neighborhood heard my mouth. He called the cops. Still screaming I hear the sirens getting closer. Dale yells at me to get upstairs in the house. I run upstairs and go straight to the bathroom. Looking back at myself in the mirror I see the gash on the right side of my face and 2 huge purple spots that were blood blisters.  I continue to cry and walk to my room.

Sitting in my room I hear Dale talking to the cops. “We were just having an argument about, a teenager being a teenager. We are fine officer and I apologize for the commotion this morning, he says”.  The neighbor must have gotten a glimpse of my face and gave the officers more detail than Dale knew. They asked to speak to me. Immediately I retreat to the pattern that I learned. I place my hands over my face.

The cops come in and start to ask what happened. I explain that we were just arguing, and it wasn’t a big deal. They asked what the argument was about, and I told them it was about a necklace. When it was really about my mother needing to be a victim and get high all weekend repeating over and over to Dale how bad I made her feel and how much I hurt her. When you mix that with them coming down from their binge this is what you get.

The officer told me to move my hands away from my face. I said no I am fine! They demanded me to remove my hands from my face or they would have to do it for me. I slowly lower my hands. The female officer radios to her partner to bring her the camera. She starts taking pictures of my face and I hear them reading Dale his rights as they cuff him.  The officer asks where my mother is. I told them he dropped her off at work.

Dale is brought down to the police station to be booked, my mother gets the call and finds a ride home. I hear her pull up and the officer explains to her what happened. I sit there waiting for her to come running in and embrace me and comfort me. The cops leave, and she walks down the hall. She calls out my name and I quietly say in here.

She walks into the room and I look up at her and she looks furious. I am completely baffled. I do not even know how to respond to this reaction. She immediately starts to yell at me that this is my fault. I just don’t ever know when to shut up and now that she has to go bail him out I won’t be getting anything for my birthday. All she was worried about was what he was going through.

Following an arrest for child abuse or assault to a minor comes an investigation from The Department of Child and Family Services. They were at the house within 48 hours. Within those 48 hours, I was shut out. I was treated as a stranger in my own home by my mother. She would throw it in my face that they had to pay bail, she had to miss work and now Dale would have to go to court and possibly jail for what I had done.

The social worker came to the house and began to interview all of us. They went over the police report and they read the witness statement from the neighbor. With Dale’s history of violence, they required that he sign up for counseling. They pulled my mother aside and explained to her that because Dale was not my real father and they were not legally married we could not be in the same house together. She turned and looked at me and looked at Dale. Then they both looked at me.

I made the call to my best friend’s house. I spoke to her mother and explained that I needed somewhere to stay for a little while. Nancy immediately told me I could come to her home for as long as I needed. I could not be more thankful. Nancy had known things were not stable in my home, but she never knew to what extent as I tried to keep my family secrets just that, Family Secrets.

This was a game changer for mine and my mother’s relationship. Things would never be the same again. I would never look at her the same. And any little bit of respect I had for her was now diminished.  This was the beginning of the end.

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