It wasn’t long after we got back to Arkansas that the abuse started all over again. The method wasn’t any different than before, it just took a week or two for it to start. The first time it happened was in the morning before school. Pat had made biscuits and gravy, a favorite of mine. She burnt the gravy so bad that the top layer was gravy and the rest of the pot was all burnt. When I wouldn’t eat, I was told how fucking ungrateful I was, and I was taken into Pat and Johnny’s room and “used” until I had to catch the bus for school. It continued again immediately after I got off the bus from school. I never looked anyone in the face; I always walked with my head hung low. It was kind of like a puppy that had been beaten, if anyone came near me, I shied away and resisted their kindness. I didn’t have many friends except for one, Riley Combs.
Riley had been a close friend of mine when I lived in Harrison, before my parents had been arrested. Riley’s parents would have me over a lot and even said that they had thought about trying to adopt Amanda and I. The thought of that was great, but unfortunately it never materialized. I could spend a couple hours an evening at their house, and most of the day on Saturday, but it was back to the torture as soon as I got home. I would do anything to keep me away from that apartment.
The only thing for a kid to do there was an arcade at the truck stop down the street. To play games though, u needed a quarter or two. So to get money I concocted a scheme that was pretty sneaky, and really wrong at the same time. I got an old milk jug and carried it door to door saying that I was from a different school and we got broken into and our glass door broken. We were out collecting money to fix it. Well, a lot of people threw in a dollar, a few threw in more, and I thought I had gotten away with the perfect crime. You never get away with doing wrong, well I didn’t anyway, and after a couple weeks, I ran into one of the adults who gave money, and they yelled at me pretty loudly and I thought they were going to kill me. I never tried that scheme again.
Desperate times called for desperate measures and I would pray every night that I could die in my sleep and not have to endure another day of the abuse. I even tried killing myself by putting a hunting knife to my throat and chickening out right before I poked it far enough to do the job. We were with Pat and Johnny for maybe 3 or 4 more months before my Uncle and Aunt rescued us in the night right before bedtime. There was a God I thought. Freedom again, if even for a little while.
I didn’t know how to act for a long time. After having to go through the abuse with Pat and Johnny, I had a routine. Wake up, eat breakfast, get abused, go to school try not to show anyone I had troubles, get home, get abused, eat supper, go to bed, get woke up in the middle of the night, do whatever with whoever, then back to sleep. That was the daily grind. Well, once back at my Uncle’s, I had a couple of inappropriate encounters with my cousins. Thank God that they told on me because that beating and lecture by my Uncle really saved me. The statistics show that victims of abuse tend to become abusers, and I was so happy to have that cycle broken. It was during this stay that I met my Aunt’s sister, Linda.
Linda stayed with us because her husband, Richard was obsessed with her, and he was abusive. Linda loved to write poetry. One day she showed my cousin and I her notebook. The words and the way she wrote them really inspired me. It is because of her, that I write. Linda has no clue that I write or that she is the reason. One of her poems had a line in it that sticks out to this day; I love it when we kiss, I love when we dance, I love it when you get in my pants. It’s silly now, but that was the line that made me think that I could put my feelings down on paper. I wouldn’t write my first poem until several years later, but I always looked back to what and how Linda wrote. There was a really scary night at my Uncle’s house. Richard had just caused a big scene, and the cops were involved. After we went to bed, I sleep walked outside and locked the door behind me. When I woke up, I was beating on the door trying to get back into the house. Linda was sleeping on the couch, and thought I was Richard, so it took a while for someone to answer the door. Once inside and no longer hysterical, I went to sleep and all was well.
My Uncle and Aunt really loved my sister and I and they did everything they could to be there for us. We were there again for a few more months when my sister’s biological mother entered the picture. See, Amanda was adopted. She was my mom’s niece’s daughter, but we adopted her. Her mother, Teresa, came to Uncle Dave’s home and tried to take Amanda, and my Uncle and Aunt got her to leave, and thankfully she never got the guts to come back. I got into watching wrestling on television now too. My Uncle had it on every Saturday morning and Sunday. I would watch it with him, and it was something that we did. I got hooked, and to this day, I still watch it as much as I can. It was a couple months later when my Dad had gotten released, and he wanted us to come back to him. My Uncle drove us back to Arkansas to meet him at that same truck stop by the apartment. We were there, but apparently we missed him by an hour or so, because we ended up going all the way back to Illinois to my Uncle’s house. Before we left Arkansas we made the voyage to Little Rock to the penitentiary where my mom was in. I hated being there. You had to be searched and empty all of your pockets, and then go into the cafeteria. The feeling just wasn’t right. It’s never ok to see your parents behind bars. We talked to her for a bit, then I had an ice cream cone, it tasted horrible because it was sugar free, and then we left. We drove all the way back to Roxana, Illinois to my Uncle’s house. The next day, my Dad showed up to pick Amanda and me up. Was this a new beginning? In a word, No.