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Chapter 1: A mothers love
It was winter, 1999. I was almost 4 years old. My father was cooking dinner while Mother was setting the table. I was in the family room, ammused by my evening shows. Mesmorized, while mother was trying to get my attention, Father came over and turned off the Television.
"Ali, It's time for dinner". He called to me. I sat at the table, waiting for my dinner. Tonight we're having fresh honey barbeque chicken wings along with mashed potatos and corn. Sence tomorrow was Sunday, we decided to go to church. Mother and Father went to the survice while I went to sunday school. I love church. Even though I'm still 3, it's a lot of fun. It did feel wierd when I was young not going to the service because my dad was the paster.
On July 19th, I turned 4. We had a lot of fun. We went to the beach. Mother took me to the shack along the seashore to get an Ice-cream and told me a huge secret.
" Your gonna be a big sister soon". She told me.
"Does daddy know?" I asked her quietly.
She explained to me that I was going to tell him when we got back.
"On my signal". She continued.
"It's going to be a surprise for daddy so you need to wait until you see this signal to tell him, got it?"
" I got it" I tried to say with a mouthful of Ice-cream.
When we returned to where dad was laying, I told him. He seemed very surprised. He was only joking when he got upset saying how Mother told me first and not him. The baby will be born on November 14th.
"Are you excited?" I asked to Father.
"Of corse I am!!" He answered back.
"I wanna know what she looks like!!"
"well then, baby you're going to have to wait!" mom said
"I hope she looks like me." Father announced
"What will we name her daddy?"
"Mabye Marie, sence it is your mothers name."
"No, I don't really like that for a first name
"I like Marie." I told mom.
"Yeah. Lets go with Marie!" dad said.
"Ok, but Marie is going to be the middle name!" Mother said.
Mother was buisy making plans and buying new things. One day in Wal-mart, about 5 months into my mothers pregnancy, I noticed moms stomache was getting bigger. I asked her why. Mom explained that thats where my sister will be 'living' for the next 4 or so months. Mother made everything thats complicated for a 4 year old sound like the alphabet to a 17 year old. In other words, she made everyting hard, sound easy. Dad was the other way around. He made easy things sound complicated, and complicated things sound even more confusing. I woke up late that night to the crack of thunder. I was affraid. My mother came into my room to soothe me.
"Don't worry, baby. The storm's almost over. I've got you. As long as I'm here. you're safe." she said.
I repeated her words over and over in my head. So I would never forget. I believed her, but what's going to happen when she isn't here? Today is Sunday, so we went to church. I usually didnot go with my parents, i stayed in the nersury. But father wanted to say something about the baby. Father closed with saying this
"God blessed my wife and I four years ago with our first daughter, Alexandra. And mow he has blessed us with another child, who he is still creating to be his daughter, my daughter, our daughter. And a lover, and a follower of his son, Jesus Christ."
Everyone cheered and clapped. And everyone was surrounding us kissing my mom, and congratulating us. We left. I saw my mother and my father kiss, and we went to my home.
Chapter 2: 'Till death do us part
On November 14th 2000, just as planned, Mother gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Jennafer Marie Barber. She was healthy at 6 pounds, 4 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. I love to play with my new baby sister. I got to help my parents take care of her, she sure did cry a lot. After she turned 2 years old, I tried to teach her how to say my name. She already knew many words, and mama and dada, but now it was my turn.
" Jenna, say Ali" I told her.
"Ayyie" She tried.
" No silly, say Ali". I tried again.
She only laughed. Oh well, mabye next time. Weeks later, Mother started to get sick.
" Will you be ok?" I asked calmly.
" Oh yes, I'm shure I will be fine. Just keep your heads up and..pray for me." she told me.
Mother passed away that night. At the funeral, Jenna looked into the cascet and asked the sermin what they were planning to do with her. We've all been feeling sorry and moarning. Jenna has been taking moms death very hard. Considering she's only 2, I'm afraid she will not remember mom.
Today I turn 7 years old. Jenna is almost 3. Our lives have completely changed. Jenna does not remember anything about mom. I do, her soothing voice, and what she looked like. Her flowing brown hair and dark dreen eyes. Her unique sence of style and beauty. Even the expensive perfume she would wear every once and a while I remembered; it smelt like Lilacs. It was called 'Sea of Jasmine'. Father says I look just like she did. Jenna, I think was more like her. She was very unique and intellagant at her age.
Her short dark hair and her pale blue eyes, and her quiet affectionate voice that often grew tired but excitingly worked-up as well. As for me, I have long, straight light brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. The only unique thing about me is that I sing. I love to sing. Whenever I'm upset, mad or extreemly happy lyrics quickly race through my head like a stampeed. I get great insperation by other performers, and people I know and love. Singing is one of my very own specalties. But I stopped singing; I grew up. Father, on the other hand, has Blonde hair and blue eyes. He's very tall and muscular.
Father has been changing a lot, however, sence mother went. I don't know if its emotional stress or mabye he just drank too much. He's been telling us how we are all going to get out of this eventually. Jenna doesn't even remember. But I remember, and I wonder about many things that made my head spin, and my heart race every time it comes up. Father has quit his job as a paster and became an engeneer.
Chapter 3: Can you keep a secret?
The bus finally arrived after standing out in the cold for 45 minutes. I sat in my regular seat in the back as far from anyone as possible because I wanted to examine my marks and finally tell Rose the secret, I hate lying to her every single time this happens. Rose finally sat next to me.
"I need to talk to you rose."
"First, what's that on your arm?"
"Why is it that every day you have a new mark on you?"
"well thats what I needed to talk to you about."
"Ok... talk." I leaned in close to her ear and told her the whole story along with the whole 'My father is abusive' stories. She hugged me gentally.
"Ohh my goodness! What has happened to you?"
"I know, i'll name things that may or may not be a big deal and you tell me if its happened. And if it has happened, tell me how many times."
"umm, beaten with a metal bat?"
"About 9 times"
"hit with a bag of rocks, or cement?"
"several. I probobly stopped counting at 11." She gasped. That was only the beginning.
"The only thing that hasn't happened to me is anything sexual, and sent to the hospital." She gasped again and hugged me tighter this time.
"But, listen. You can't tell anyone this secret. I mean, I'm not even telling Jenna that you know."
"Wait, does it happen to Jenna too?"
"All the time..." I did not expet this to be that easy. I thought she was going to start crying for me. I didn't want that to happen so when it didn't, thank you, lord!!
Chapter 4: An Alcohaulic Beverage
Spring, 2007. I am 12 years old. Jenna is almost 8- the same age I was when mother died. Jenna is now learning what its like in the real world. And I'm going through some exotic changes in Middle School. Jenna just got off of the bus and started with homework. Father isn't home from work yet. Which means I'll be cooking tonight.
We had nothing in the house to eat, so I ended up just making pasta with alfrado sause and parmesain cheese. After I cook dinner, Jenna puts it away. Then Jenna and I hang around and usually go to bed early because we never know what and when we will be waking up again. After sending Jen to bed I went to bed as well. As soon as I fell asleep, it felt as if an Earthquake had hit. But living in a small town in Southern Rhode Island and getting an earthquake was highly unlikely. It was then I realized, Father was home, and drunk as usual.
"Get your butt out of bed." I heard him yelling to Jenna across the hall. I knew what was comming, so I jumped out of bed before he turned the lights on. We went to the room wich was in the cold, dark bacement. Waiting for something to happen. We knew we would get beat tonight. Father had oviouslly lost a bet of some kind at the bar he usually goes to after work.
Sence I was the oldest, I got it first, and much harder. Jenna was stanging outside The room trying to listen in to how bad it was by all of the banging and yelling, she just couldn't tell. After several minutes, the battle was over. Well, at least for me. I knew at school I'd be soar and Rose would be questioning my marks. Rose Is my best friend. She's known the secret for only a while.
She's heard some rotten, harmfull things in the past. The room used to be mothers sewing room. But after she died, we got rid of it all and emptied the room. Now It has nothing in it exept 1 tool for the punishment like a belt, or a metal rod, and one of us; desparatlly wanting to get away. I could hear Jenna screaming. She was ok, not as bad as other nights.
We are not ever allowed to call our Father "dad" or "daddy". He thinks it is a sign of disrespect. So we have to call him "father" or "Sir". About a year ago, Jenna accedentally called him dad. She got hit bad that day. Plus 5 hours spending time locked up in The room. As I was on the bus for school, Rose convinced me to tell her what happened.
She hugged me and said she felt bad. She bought me lunch that day. Tomorrow we have a test in math. I need to get at least an 85% on ALL schoolwork at all times. Last week Father flipped out after the teacher told him my grade. Rose didn't get what the big deal was about an 84%. I told her because it's not an 85 and even that is somewhat unwanted from him.
The next day after school, Rose came over. Father wasn't home so I could show her, finally, The room. When she looked in it she said "this is it?"
"Yes.." I said slowly.
"Why is there a metal rod in here?"
"umm..one of us must be in trouble." I told her
"I don't know whats the letter on it?"
"umm..." she spun it around then upside down and read the letter
" J " she read.
" then it's not me it's Jenna. when ever theres a A on it it's me, a J means Jenna" I explained.
" Oh..joy" She said back.
After Rose left I turned to Jenna.
"what did you do?" I asked her.
"what do you mean?"
I took a breath, then began. "I showed Rose the room and the rod was there with a J on it. So what did you do?"
"What did I do, more like what did you do. Al, we can't show anyone in there. Noones even supposed to know our secret."she explained
"Ohh come on we can trust Rose, besides for the 2 years she's known, nothing has come up."
" She's known this for 2 years?!?"
She rolled her eyes. I knew she was mad. Not only about her knowing the secret, but her not knowing that Rose knew for so long.
"Look, I'm sorry. But it's the past, she knows. Its not like I can make her forget. But lets forget we had this conversation and get back to reality. Now, what did you do?" I asked calmly
She was still mad at me so it took her a little while to answer.
" I got a bad grade, ok!" she told me.
"remember one time when you got sent in the room for 2 days straight for something bad you did? That bad." she explained
"So, you got a F?"
" D minus"
" Oh..you're gonna get killed!!" I told her.
"thanks for the support." she called back.
As much as my sister and I need to stick together, it's still fun to tease eachother. We tend to easily get on eachothers nerves. But in the end, we still love eachother and stick together. Only once has something led to a fight so serious that we hardly spoke for days.
Chapter 5: An un-employeed mess
Tonight would be the night that Jenna would be in trouble. Even though she had to go in the room and get the punishment, I had to stand in the corner and watch the punishment. This happens every time only one of us is in trouble. And Father even tries to push us as much as possible into the corner we are standing in. So it would not only hurt the one being punished, it would hurt the one watching. Sometimes if this happenes, he'll switch back and forth from person to person, giving one of us a break in the corner for at least a minute. But right now it was the morning.
Father was scolding us to hurry up when he got a call. It was his boss. Sence father was half asleep, and hung over from last night, he was mad with everything. So when his boss called and fired him, that means we would be in trouble-one again. At the last minute I heard father yell
"Yeah, i'm sorry too" and slam the phone off.
"we're the ones who should be sorry" I told Jenna in a light wisper. She nodded. Father was comming twords us.
It's a good thing I put my hair up. He pulled on us and screamed "GO DOWNSTARS!!" and pushed us down the long steps leading to the bacement. Luckilly neither of us lost our balance as we went. We ran to our expected spots indicating the first steps of entering the room. Before dad came around the corner, Jenna mouthed to me "what about school?" I shrugged. I was unsure of the answer, and she knew we had little time to answer anything exept to
JENNIFER GET YOUR BUTT IN THERE!!" Father threw her in the room. "your next" he smirked harshly.
"Yes, sir" I was affraid of him. Thats all I could ever say. I peered in the room. No tool. This means dad would be using a worse tool then his usual metal rod, bat, belt, or knife. He would use his hands. The room looked worn.
It had white tile and grey walls. It was not a small room, it was a pretty decent sized room. It only looked small when we were being thrown in there.
The first thing I heard Jenna yell was "help." I didn't move. The next thing I heard her scream was "ALI." I heard dad say after that "Too bad Ali isn't hear to help you!"
I was too afraid of everything. I needed to get my courage back up.
But after I heard many bangs and one last scream "no!!" I was shacking. It was over for Jen, finally. Father threw her out of the room by her arms. She was bleeding and crying. I would get worse punishments because I'm older, so if that's her pain, I wonder what's mine.
Father grabs me by my hair and pulls me into the room. I fall in the corner and he begins to yell. I could hear Jenna leaning on the door, still crying. Father grabs me by my neck and chokes me. He then punshes me in the stomache, leaving me breathless on the floor. He begins to kick me and slap me. He pulls me up by my arms and throws me into the corner.
My legs are weak. Gasping for breath, I can see dad reaching for something. It was my rod.
I screamed "NO!" And father hits me with it. I am on the floor again bleeding. He hits me several times on the face, chest and legs. I wonder what goes through dads head when he beats us.
I hope he knows, every time you hit a child they loose a ton of brain cells. Does he know he's just dumbing me up more? Mabye thats his excuse to beat me more. It doesn't matter. I'll be living this way until I'm old enough to leave this house and be as far away from him as possible. I heard that things aren't as bad as they ever seem, but in my case, nothing could get worse. Father screams and yells in my face, making me cry more.
The last thing father said to me was "Do you think I like being this way?" He hits me more. My legs are bruised and my nose is bleeding. Father punches me more in the chest area and face.
He asks me again "DO YOU!!!!!!" I have no strength left.
I gasp and let out a faded "No . . ., no sir."
He picks me up by my neck once more and said "I didn't think so!" and threw me out of the room. Jenna was starring at me. Trembled, she helped me stand up. I heard father yell beyond the closed door of the room "You have TWO minutes to get as far away from me as possible." Now, I was thinking Mexico, and Jen was thinking Tokyo. But for now the furthest we could get away for under $5, was school. Sence Father had no job now, he could drink hevier, without stopping.
6: History Report.
Today, is the day. The day I get my huge history report back. Mr. Davigton is laid back, so I think I did well. Not well for my dad, but for me. He handed me the papers. The cover page was made for his reviews and grade. I looked at the grade and saw the big Forty-Two out of Fifty on the bottom. His review said this:
Alex, good effort. This is only a first copy so you can make neccisary changes. The final draft is almost due. Learn from the mistakes, and work with it. Keep up the good work!
This was a good review. I was proud. The only problem is a forty-two out of fifty is an eighty-four. Unacceptable. Dad knew already. I could see Mr. Davington on the phone. After class I met up with Rose.
"What did you get on your History Report?" I asked her.
"Fifty out of fifty. Why?"
"Show off." I said. "I got an eighty four. I know dad's going to use you against me."
"Sorry." she said. I walked from the bus, to my home. Jenna won't be home for an hour. Gregory wont be home, for a while, I think. I hope. I'm wrong. He's home. I walked into the house.
"Ali?" He called.
"Yes?" He was at the computer, looking at my grade in History.
"Who was the sixteenth president?"
"What famous speach did he present?"
"I guess in Gettysberg." He stood up.
"You guess?" He crossed his arms. I backed up.
"Do you know what your grade is?"
"Yes, father. An eighty four." He slapped me. Here we go again.
"Why can't you just try?" He began. "For me?!?"
"I do try, but I guess nothing is good enough for you." Did I just say that out loud? I did, and he noticed. I was on the floor; he...stopped?
"I can't keep doing this Alexandra. You need to learn! But when you learn, your grades need to be up! I can't do this. Jennafer is afraid of me." He stopped. I don't blame her. I told myself. He was acting like this for a strange reason. I did not quite understand. It had to do with Jenna and I; but, how?
"Are you afraid of me?" he asked. I was shacking. He wasn't going to stop. Somehow, I predicted his next move. I took a long breath, as he chocked me up against the wall.
"I asked you a question." he said. I can't quite answer you at the moment. I thought. But just to get it over with I said it.
"No, father. I'm not afraid of you." He threw me to the ground.
"I thought so." I got up immediatly, not knowing his next move. "Now, go upstairs and act like this never happened, for Jennafer." I obeyed.
"Oh, and Ali?" He said.
"You're grounded. Two weeks." he said.
"I got the message." I said.
Chapter 7: A nightmare
I walked into my house after a long monday morning at school. Jenna was standing in the living room and gasped as I walked in. I noticed dad was in the kichen looking strait at me. Fists held tightly together as if something was hitting him.
"Get your butt up in your room, now!!"
"Y, yes sir"
I ran as fast as I could up stairs to my room. when he walked in i noticed he was holding something behind his back. He began to hit me. He lifted me up with one hand and dropped me on the hard wood floor. he stepped on my rib cage as i gasped for air. He picked me up by my neck and threw me against the wall, choking me. He was doing all of this with one hand! This did not amaze me. I knew how strong he was, but i wanted to know what he was holding.
"Father, what did I do wrong?" He punched me some more. Still with one hand he pulled my hair and banged my head on the floor. He picked me up and said
"You told someone didn't you?" he hit me more and when he kicked me he lost balance for a second and I cought a glimpse at the object. It was a knife. His knife. The sharpest biggest one in the bunch.
"I sware Father, I didn't." He grabbed me tight and choked me he took out his knife and stabbed me twice. Before he did, I screemed, "NOO!!!" and he stabbed me once more.
I was now on the ground, dizzy. Looking up at father who was still wagging his finger at me. He stabbed me again, and I was shurley dead. But then I sat up, looked around, sweating, It was only a nightmare. I got out of bed and checked myself, nothing. I walked out of my room and peeked through dads bedroom door, he was sleeping. I looked through Jennas door and noticed she looked as though she was having a nightmare too. I quickly woke her up, and she told me her nightmare. It was the same thing as mine except instead of me being stabbed, it was her. I hugged her tightly, and went back to bed. Hopefully, that nightmare will never be seen again.
Chapter 8: Another Secret
It has been 3 years today sence Rose found out our secret. I remember the first time after she knew it that she came over. She asked me about the room. I told her it was used to beat us up and not have it seem to be out in the public. Even though Father hits us outside of the room, including in public. We only get beat in the room though so it doesn't create a disturbance throughout the house and outside. The room is supposed to be soundproof even though we can hear whats happening in there. Rose told me she could never imagine the kind of pain Jenna and I go through. She spoke it as unbearable.
"Hey, whats up?" she asked me in homeroom.
"Todays 'the' anniversary." I told her while she sat down next to me
"May 15th, 2008"
"yeah, speaking of that, I have a secret." she wispered.
"what is it?"
" I know a student here who gets you-know-what and has the same problem as you do."
I gave her a blank stare. I was unsure who this person could be.
"If you say this 'other person' is Jenna I will be so mad"
"No, its someone in our grade."
"Do you remember Lexi Parker from 6th grade?" she continued.
"yeah.." I said slowly
"Well remember how she was in school and she got a D on a test and she was out of school for weeks?"
"Thats because of the secret?" I asked.
Lexi Parker was in the same grade as us. She was always polite and calm and very smart. I always wondered about her, but not to the extence of my problem.
"I want to see her." I said
"shes in our homeroom." Rose wispered back. "sitting in the back all the way to the left."
I looked to where she was pointing. She was tall and had blonde hair and green eyes. She was reading a thick book titled "Twilight". She, in my opinion, looked very clean. Too clean to be an abused child. I didn't believe this story Rose told me, but I know that we never had lied to eachother, and if we had, we confessed.
"How did you figure this out?" I asked her.
"Well I've been her friend for years and I asked her about it in 6th and 7th grade and she never told me. I asked her again last week, and she confessed."
"I'll have to ask her."
Weeks go buy and I'm in the bathroom, alone, before last period. Lexi walked into the bathroom.
"Hey Lexi." I said
"Hey Ali, I haven't heard from you in a while!"
"Yeah, well I have a question for you."
She walked out of the stall and wispered "shoot"
"I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything but, I..."
I paused. I was unsure of what to say. If I were to ask and she said no, then it would make Rose look like a lier. But if she were to say yes, she would ask who told me, and I can't just rat Rose out, thats not what friends do.
"I know your secret." I said quietly
"You mean that I like Matt? Is it that ovious? Ohh my god!! I don't want to sound like a -"
"No..thats not it. I mean your family secret."
She starred at me. I could tell she was scared. Thats a sign that it must be true.
"W...who told you?" She finally said.
"I can't tell you that. But is it true??"
"....Yes, but DONT SAY ANYTHING!!!! I don't want the word to know."
"It's ok...I understand where your comming from."
I wispered into her ear "I have the same secret."
Chapter 9: Teachers
It was the third period of the day. 10:15, and sence today we had no homeroom, class ended at 10:45. I was tired, copying down my homework for the night. My English teacher, Mrs. Estree, was giving us the beginning of her new lesson. I was not paying attention, as usual. Number one was because I was talking to Rose. She sits next to me in all of my other classes, because all of the teachers know we are inseperable.
And number two was because everything she was saying was written on her board. I, honestly, never pay attention in her class. And Rose, however, always pays attention. She wonders how I have a higher grade in English than her.
"Ali!" Mrs. Estree yelled.
"your answer please. For number 5. Weren't you paying any attention? Or did you not do your homework?"
"Sorry." I flipped my paper over and gave a puzzled look. Number 5.
"I got D"
I could see Rose lip to me "nice job." I lipped back "I know."
The next class was math. I love math, and my teacher rocks. But today the lesson was hard. So, again, I payed no attention. About 20 minutes into class I looked up. I got it!! But right before I could raise my hand to say my answer, I got caught not paying atention.
"ali, can I see you after class?"
The whole class yelled "ooohhh!!!" like a bunch of third graders. I strolled out of class, waiting for my teacher.
"Yes, Ms.Greene?" I answered
"It would sure help me if you payed attention more. Sorry, but I'll have to give you detention."
"Aww, come on!"
"Sorry, it's just the schools way to show proper disiplin.
I wispered "Don't you think I get enough disiplin?" And, of corse, she heard me.
"Thats why I said 'schools way' and 'proper' disiplin." She answered back.
Sence in sixth grade, my principal found out, every year before I get my scedule, he tells all of my teachers. He does the same with Jenna. But it is a school rule. If a student has a home problem, keep it at home. Disiplin at school lead to the 'no excuses' fund they all throw out. So basically, if they know I have a home problem and I get disiplined at school, my home problem cant count as an excuse. Well, most of the time.
In detention, the teacher called my dad and told him what happened. I knew I'd be in trouble at home. So did my teacher. And sence I was the only one in detention she decided to talk about it.
"you'll be ok!! I promise."
"It's not like you can tell me dad not to"
"I know that Ali." She said. "But sometimes in life, you need to suffer the consiquences."
"Yeah...key word 'suffer'" I said back.
Chapter 10: A Kind Heart?
I got home later than usual. Jenna wasn't doing her homework, she was in her room. I could tell
by the look on dads face that something was going on. Exept there was a visitor.
"Ali, could you go up to your room for a moment please?" dad said.
"O...kay?" Wow. I was not expecting this. He was nice to me? Was she his distraction weapon? Or did Lexi tell someone somthing she wasn't supposed to tell? When I got up to my room to start my homework, Jenna was there.
"Do you know whats going on?" she asked me
"No idea." I said slowly. "I hope it's nothing bad!"
I heard footsteps comming up the stairs.
"Quick, go to your room."I said. It wasn't dad. It was the lady I saw before. She came to my room and closed my door.
"Hello, you must be Ali." She said
"I'm a reporter. I heard from a certain someone your secret." I thought it was rude for her to come right out and say that. But I let out a small "so?"
"So I came to investigate, is that ok?" I know its rude not to answer or make some sort of remark when you're spoken to. So I just nodded.
"I just want you to be honest."
"Anything you tell me will not be held against you."
Oh sure, I thought. You'll see. One day, it will.
"ok." I said again
"Don't be scared. I won't tell any of this to your father."
"ok." I said. I knew she would tell him. Somehow.
"Is it true?"
"And your sister?"
"For how long?"
"sence my mother died."
"and when was that?"
"When I was 7 and Jenna was 3."
"So 6 years ago?"
"yeah." I felt like saying 'Its simple math. I'm 13 now, so 7+6=13.'
"Whats your dads condition?"
"he's a drunk."
"How do you know?"
"It all started when father drank to get rid of his problems after mom died. I know."
"ok, well I think I'm done."
"No, thank you." I never got that expression. She did the same with Jenna. After she left, dads face looked unsertain. I wanted to know who told. I could tell we haven't won. Not yet. Father forced himself to stop drinking for 2 days because of this reporter.
"I want you to go upstairs and do your homework. Ali, feed Jenna, and yourself of corse. Be good. I'll be back later."
"yes. father" we both said. We did as we were told. I knew that when he came back, he would be more drunk than ever. And tonight would be the night we'd most likely die.
Chapter 11: Thinking of you
I wore tight pants that were heavy and my lucky turtle neck sweater. I tied my hair back so if it were pulled it wouldn't hurt as much. Jen did the same thing. Jenna was being very brave for a nine-year-old. About 30 minutes before dad was due home, we cried together. When we finally stopped, we prayed. It has been months, possibly years sence we brought god into our troubles. Several moments later, Jenna mumbled my name.
I sniffled, then answered "yeah?"
"what was mom like?"
"Oh, she was wonderful."
"What did she look like?"
"Beautiful, much like you."
"Why dont I remember her?"
"You were so little when she died. I hardly remember her."
"How did you hold on to her for so long?"
"I kept pictures."
"I thought dad burned all of the pictures of her."
"Yeah, but obviouslly, he didn't look very hard"
"Where did you keep them?"
"I have a whole draw full of pictures."
She looked down and said only "Ohh."
"come on, i'll show you." When we got up to my room, I looked inside my closet for the correct box and pulled it out.
"This is the family photo. Here, you just turned one."
"Is that dad?!?" I nodded to her question.
"He looks so young and happy." We silently starred at the picture.
"I don't remember the last time he smiled." Moments later, I heard a loud slam. Dad was home. I put the box back into my closet and closed the door. We got ourselfs ready. Tonight would be the begining of the end of our lifes. Father pulled us along to the room, taking Jenna in first. I stood there in front of the door for 15 minutes.
While waiting for this to be over I looked under the door. I could not see a lot of what was happening but I did notice Jenna was on the floor bleeding, trying to crawl away. And father was pulling her and kicking her and yelling at her. I heard the fight was almost over, so I possitioned myself perfectly, like how I was before. Praying out loud this time to god, that everything will be ok. Nothing was ok anymore. Father called me into the room with Jenna. And he started to hit us both, together, as much as he possibly could. He was aming more at me this time with his strength and tried to push me into the walls or Jen.
Suddenly, I don't know what I was thinking. But I wanted, desperatly to get out.
I opened the door and started yelling for help. I was crying, and father yelled to me " Get back here you stupid little jerk!" Does that name bring back memories. As soon as father grabbed me from the second bottom step, he dragged me by my wrist back to a corner. He began to yell at me, cornering me so I couldn't move, nor even stand up. I tried to protect my head as much as I could, but as much as I wanted to , father wouldn't let me.
When the fight was over, father fell asleep up in his bed. I wanted to leave, but I was afraid he would wake up, and hear me, and beat me more. I looked out of my bedroom window, then went downstairs. I ran outside, but stopped when I got as far as fathers car. I studied the car, and noticed there was 16 beer bottles in the back of his car, and 3 in the front. Tomorrow, father will have to drive us to school and tomorrow we get our report cards. Tomorrow there will be more bottles of beer, and tomorrow I will get in trouble-again. I turned around, to look at the house. To make sure I didn't wake anyone. Then I turned back and started walking down the street. I started to walk in the middle of the night, with my cell phone, texting Rose to come out. Every time I did this, she would wait for me at her house to get there, then we would walk for at least an hour. When I wanted to walk back, she would start talking to me, wondering what I was thinking. She never talks to me then, when we're walking, because she wants to let me think. But when I say I want to come back, its like my signal to her that I feel ok to talk. When we get to my driveway, I usually sigh.
Then Rose always says, "Al, Try to get some sleep. okay?"
I told her, "If I sleep, I'll have another nightmare." I groned when I said that, but Rose knew I was joking around, and she laughed. I finally hugged her, and said "Night." And I walked onto my porch, and waited for Rose to start walking to go in.
Chapter 12: Unlucky Soul
December 15th, 2008. School report cards came out for Quarter 2. Jenna got all A's. I was very happy for her as she was happy for herself. The teachers are all Jerks and already told dad about our grades. I got 3 a'S, 4 B plusses-acceptable, thank god. But one C minus, close enough to be rounded up to a regilar C but, oh well, its still unacceptable.
I looked into the side window of the house next to the front door. Dad was in the living room on the couch, drinking, like always. I walked in and took off my shoes.
"Freeze!!" Thats all he had to say. He knew about the C. And he was planning to do everything right here.
"Report card?!" I gave him the slip listing my grades.
" What is this?"
" what?" That was it. I was history. He pulled my hair and arm down to the ground, hard. He began hitting me and kicking me
"Your [hit] grade.. [kick] ..on your [punch] ..report card!" I stood up, and tasted some blood. That was it? No, I was wrong. He took off his belt and began hitting me with the buckle.
"NO!!" I screamed. He began to hit me more. I was on the ground, he picked me up my my shoulder on the pressure point. I screeched.
I tried to climb the stairs to my room, but he pulled me and said "nice try, you little witch!!" I made a quick glance out to the driveway and saw Jenna comming home. I tried to wonder what she was thinking. She probobly wishes me to be ok. But we both know, this fight wasn't going to be easy.
"Father..." I gasped. Then I yelled, while still crying " Please...stop." He pushed me down and started to yell.
"Now you listen to me, you little jerk! I'm not going to me mister nice guy anymore, do you hear me? No more playing around! You're 13 now Alexandra, so start acting like it!" meanwhile, Jenna is waiting outside for dad to leave, then walks in and helps me get settled. Little jerk, again, that's like my name to him. Jenna walked in from hiding behind a bush after dad left.
"Go take a shower, your bleeding!" I listened. When I was in the shower I filled up my mouth with water to rince out remaining blood. I walked into the living room and just sat on the couch. Jenna had soup ready for her and I. We ate some Chicken Noodle Soup while we watched some movie.
"When do you think he'll be back tonight?" Jenna asked me.
"I don't know, and I don't care." Jenna just nodded and laughed.
"I'm gonna go take a shower. I'll be back."
"I'll be here!" She laughed again then left. I turned on the T.V. It was set on Disney Channel, Jenna was here. I watched the last minute of Jenna's favorate show, then there were commercials. The first commercial was for Cocoa-puffs, the next was for a new episode of Jens' favorate show, then, the last commercial was this little boy hiding under the covers of his bed, and the narrator in the background saying
'Parents shouldn't be the monsters of our children.' Then the parents walked in and the boy started to cry. Wierdest commercial ever, then the narrator said 'If your a victom of abuse, call 1800-555-TALK.'.
I rolled my eyes.
"yeah, right! 'cause thats how it is. . ."
Then Jenna came out with her hair wet, in her pajamas. It was about 11:30 now and dad, still wasn't home. So we decided to go to bed, because he could get home any minute, drunk, and in a bad mood. I had a wierd dream that night, I was outside with mom, dad and Jenna, and we were playing baceball, Jenna was about 4 in this dream. Jenna was batting, and I was pitching. I threw the ball, Jenna missed it.
"Strike!" I said, then laughed. Jenna looked dissapointed with herself.
"Don't worry, try again." I pitched her another ball, it hit her hand. Then the plastic bat Jenna was holding was a metal bat and dad grabbed it.
"Whats wrong with you?!?" I was confused. He started wacking me with it. Jenna was laughing and mom was just standing there. I was screaming, and mom was shacking her head back and forth.
"You threw it too hard!" Then, I woke up. I looked at the clock, it read 2:23 AM.
"Ughhh!" I yelled, then I wrote the dream in my Journal, witch I would show to Rose on Thursday.
Chapter 13: Meeting Jessica
Today, Wednesday, March 16th, we had no school. So about one hour after dad left for his new job as a Waitor, Our new lawer came to our house.
"Good morning girls!"
"Good morning?" We said. Jenna and I got a call last week the we would be getting a lawyer for court against our dad. This is the first time we've met her. The woman who arrived at our house about a month ago was a social worker, who worked with the judge. She still didn't mensoin her name, though we've seen her many times sence then.
She pointed at Jenna and said "Well, My name is Jessica and your Alex?"
Then she pointed at me. "And you must be Jenna." We both just laughed.
"No, I'm Ali." I said to her.
"And I'm Jenna" She laughed at herself then sat down. We sat down too.
"So, lets get started. The first thing we're going to need, that will be KEY, is evidence."
"Evedence, like what?" Jenna asked her. I gave her a nudge.
"Um. . . Scars, bruises, cuts, marks, anything!" I got up and took off my sweater. I showed her a few bruises on my arm. She took pictures. Then I showed her some cuts on my legs. She took more pictures. And she nodded a few times.
"You ready?" I asked her, the last thing I had to show her was a scar on my stomache.
"Oh, my god! What is that?"
"Scar, from a chef's knife."
"When did that happen?" She asked as she shot the last picture.
"Like, when I was eight. I got in the way when he was cutting some carrots. No big deal"
"I see..." Later that day, we went to the courthouse to check it out.
"We should probablly get going." I said to Jessica.
"Yes, your father will be home soon, and I want to meet him!" Jenna and I both looked at eachother in shock.
"NO!!" We both said, alittle to loud. This Shocked Jessica, and she just nodded. She had no Idea who she was up against when she said she wants to meet him.
"Whats your fathers personallity at least?" She asked us in the car ride home.
"Hes Five-foot-one, he weighs about 200 pounds, hes Fourty-Two years old, hes a drunk, and hes an abusive guy named Gregory." Jenna told her about everything there really was about dad. She looked at me, intensly, and I nodded. We arrived at our house. Dad was home, so Jess just decided to walk us in. Dad was asleep, so there was no danger of taking her around the house to invesigate. We took her to the room. She looked right in it and felt the cold air, sweep across her arms, she shivered. She walked around and looked deep into the empiness, the dark, bloody empiness. She looked up, and looked at us suddenly.
"There's a window in here?" She asked. She touched the edges of the window and the glass, as though she was feeling it.
"Yea, but it's sealed from the outside, so you can't open it." She struggled to undo the latch, then nodded.
"That makes sence" I heard her wisper under her breath. She took a picture of the room. I felt a new presence, watching over me. I turned around with Jenna, we were standing behind Jessica, alittle to the side. My big, warm smile turned to a cold faint frown. Dad was standing there, with a bottle of beer in his left hand hand and a rod hiding in his right. He looked straight at Jessica, then me, then Jenna.
"Who the heck are you ?!?" He yelled. His apperiance made Jessica gasp, discustingly.
Jessica looked into dads bloodshot eyes. She struggled to get the words to come out.
"Evening Gregory, my name is Jessica, I will be the lawyer to your daughters' case."
Dad took a sip of his beer, put it on the table, and walked closer to Jessica. Jenna and I stepped back as he approached her.
"My name . . ."
He spoke clearly,and slowly. He threw the rod down.
"Is Mr. Barber."
Jenna was looking at Jessica and I was looking at dad. He can't do anything while she's here. I told myself.
"I'm sorry if my coming here cought you off guard."
Jenna stepped forward. She opened her mouth-she shouldn't have.
"Yes, dad, she was only here to investigate. She explained it wouldn't take to long but-"
Dad cut her off. I wanted to point my suprised, widen eyes at Jenna for what she said, but they wouldn't come off of dad, whose face seemed angrier than ever. He can't do anything while she's here. But once she leaves, he can do whatever he can to get the respect back he just "lost". I told myself. I tried to signal Jessica that she CAN NOT leave now, but she didn't understand. Jenna just called my father "Dad" to his face. Thats the second time she's had that slip. Dad grabbed Jennas arm and twisted it so she would gasp.
"Alexandra, go upstairs and finish your homework. There's a few life lessons I have to teach your sister."
I put a little more emphesism on father so mabye Jen would get a clue. I walked upatairs and did as I was told. It was about twenty minutes after dad sent me upstairs. I went down to the kitchen to get a drink. I stood next to the door of our bacement leading to the room. I placed my cup on the counter and I placed my ear on the door. I heard dad yell.
"Do you understand me?!"
The next bang shook the door. I heard Jenna crying,
I grabbed my cup and took the last sip. The next thing I heard dad yell was
I shook my head. I knew it was wrong, but really-she should know better than that by now. She yelled
"Yes, Sir!" Loudly.
I put my cup away and started to walk back upstairs. Dad yelled
"I thought so!"
He started to walk back upstairs. Before he walked all the way up and opened the door he yelled
"Don't leave that spot until I tell you so!"
I saw him look at me. I didn't get worried. He walked closer to me.
"Did you get all of your homework done?"
"Yes, I just came down to get some water."
He didn't want to fight me. He had enough out of Jenna. I walked back up to my room. Dad grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and sat at the television. I knew I wouldn't be seeing Jenna for at least a day, possibly the rest of the weekend. Every time dad left, I snuck some food and water down to Jen. I made shure every time I did, dad wasn't comming home or getting suspicious when he was home.
15: In The Room
I was sure that dad was gone. He left early; so I went downstairs with food and water to give to Jenna. This was going to be a long weekend. I walked in, Jenna got all excited.
"Thanks. I was starving!" she told me.
"Your welcome. Jay, I need to ask you something." I told her.
"Who did you tell? Jessica didn't just show up-something happened. I already know it was not Rose, or Lexis. So who did you tell?" I asked her. She was silent.
"I told, Luis." she told me. Luis is our neighbor. He and his brother had a huge crush on me. It was cute but really annoying.
"Why did you tell Luis? I know he's your best friend, but I just want to get it straight."
"I told Luis because I figured if you told your best friend, and nothing's come up, I could tell my best friend and be able to trust him." She told me.
"Well, bad idea, because something did come up. And I'm sorry about not mentioning it to you about Rose, but when I told her, I knew she was a trustworthy person. I knew she would be able to hold it in, for the two or three years she's known. I realize now, that I was wrong, Jenna. I should not have kept it from you. I set a bad example. So it's not intirely your fault, it's mostly mine. And, like always, I am taking the responsibility tomorrow when we go to court. It happened to us Jen. We got ourselves into this, and tomorrow, we're getting ourselves out."
She started crying, she knew I was right, and we'd have to deal with it. And I would perhaps have to talk some sence into Luis, if I get the chance. She hugged me. There was a sudden, extreemly loud crash.
"What was that??" she asked. I looked out of the window. Sheesh, I whispered.
"Ali, what is wrong?" she got worried.
"Well, go! Go to the family room! turn on the T.V. take the plate and make it look like lunch, hurry!" She yelled.
I did everything like she said. the key, I thought. The key to the room, if dad sees me with it I'm dead! I put it in my pocket. I had an idea. I walked upstairs and put the plate away, and the cup. Dad had groceries so I thought I had plenty time. I ran upstairs and into my dads room. I haven't been in his room in like 4 years. It had a differant style, and smell. I hid the key in the exact place I found it. I closed the door silently, and walked downstairs. I sighed, perfect timing. He walked into the house.
"Do you mind helping me?" he asked.
"Sure." I said. I walked outside and grabbed the bags. I looked into the window of the room in the bacement. I saw Jenna give me thumbs-up. I smiled. That was it. I was safe, that was a first.
"Thanks." dad yelled when we were done. I headded for the bacement.
"Where are you going?"
"Just to you know, watch T.V. in the family room because I figured, you'd want to watch T.V. up here." I answered. He believed me.
"Just don't bother your sister." he replied.
"I won't." I lied. I'm suprised he even remembered Jen was down there. Maybe thats a sign.
16: Judge Josephs
Jenna got out of the room today, Three and a half days later. Rose and I got into a fight yesturday, but we'll get over it. Jenna and I went back to court today with Jessica. The judge, Judge Josephs, just kept looking down starring at all of the pictures Jess took of our cuts.
"I want you to do something, Ali." Jessica said to me.
"What is it?"
"Give your dad this letter."
The letter was in Jennas' handwriting. I read it to myself carefully. It was saying how we were sorry that the secret got out.
"No way! He'll get mad and . . ."
Jessica cut me off.
"What's he gonna do in front of a judge?"
"More than you'd think."
She told me to go, and I obeyed. I walked up to dad and handed him the letter. I was nervus. I looked at the judge. He was looking at some papers. I looked back at dad who was glaring at me.
"If I win this fight, you're going to wish someone would come and save your butts when I'm through with you two."
He ripped the paper up. I walked back to my seat.
"I told you!"
I told Jessica what he had said. Jenna over heard and was looking at me, deeply.
"You need to help us. I can't keep living my life feeling unwanted and unloved. I can't stand being abused every day. I need my life back, Jess. We need our lives back."
The judge was looking at me and Dad.
"Don't worry about your dad, he's not doing to hurt you again, okay? You're safe, I promise, you're safe."
Her words cheered me up. I looked at dad. He was starring at Jenna in the crulest looking way. He obviouslly wouldn't forgive us.
"Alright, that's enough now. I am pleading Mister Gregory James Barber guilty of all charges. Your daughters will be held under custody of a foster care incorperation. That will be all."
The words of the judge astounded me. It made father angry, but he couldn't do anything now, not even if he tried.
17: foster talk
Monday, March 28th. I was in spanish, the first class of the day. Rose and I made up. I don't even remember why we fought in the first place.
"Rose! I have good news and bad news."
"Bad news first."
"Okay, the bad news is Judge Josephs didn't pass the restraining order"
Rose was worried for some reason.
"I don't know. Something about the distance between where my dad is and where we will be."
"Alright . . . Good news??"
"The first good news is they found my dad guilty!"
She hugged me tightly. She wasn't surprised or anything, but excited.
"Oh my gosh, that's awesome!!"
"Yupp, and the other good news is they might have found a foster home close enough to the school that we don't have to switch, but far enough from my dad that we didn't even need to bother with the restraining order in the first place."
She hugged me again. She was excited for me. My spanish teacher yelled at us to start working. So Rose and us started to joke around in spanish, so mabye she wouldn't notice. Lexi was starring at us when we started yelling 'potatoes' in spanish. We laughed histerically.
"Inside joke, Lex!"
Rose said, then started laughing again,
"You had to be there!!"
We stopped laughing when Ms. Tebely started starring at us.
"So tell me about the foster place!"
"Okay, well the mom's name is Monica Adams. I didn't meet the father, but his name is Banjamin"
Rose nodded. I want to meet him, to see what he's like. I didn't need another Gregory.
"And counting Jay and I we have 11 brothers and sisters."
Rose was suprised.
"Wow, thats a lot. What are all of their names?"
"Going from oldest to youngest theres James, he's 17, Ashley is 16, twins Violet and Angel are 15, me, Jacob's 12, Jenna, Sophie and Drake are 10, Luke is 8, Alexandra is 6, and Briana is 5.
"There's an Alex?!"
"Yeah, and guess what her middle name is!"
"Nope, Marie. Isn't that wierd."
Rose and I talked most of the class. We talked about Jenna, and my dad, and school, and Monica. I hope that when we leave, noone comes in later named Greg. That would suck.
18. Meeting the family
Father didn't want anything to do with us. Rose came with Jenna and me to our foster house. Monica was short, had black hair and brown eyes. James and Ashley were out.
Monica called to them. They were identical twins. They had curly short brown hair and green eyes. They were about the same size. Angel was about one inch taller. They were sweet.
"Nice to meet you!"
They both said at the same time. That was always the wierd thing about twins, when they say things at the same time and it's like only one is talking. Jake was holding a backetball and Drake was standing behind him. They were brothers. They apparently did everything together. Jake had black hair and brown eyes, like Monica. And Drake was georgous. He had brown hair, blue eyes.
"Sophie is with Luke, Brianna and Alex at he park."
"No, with Ashley"
She showed Jenna and I our rooms. We had to share, but we didn't care about that. It was big enough for us to share. Monica didn't seem to have a problem with Rose here eather, witch was great!! She could tell we could handle this.
"Do you have any pets?"
I asked her calmly
"Yeah, turtles. Why?"
"Oh, thats okay, Its just Jenna is allerjec to cats."
"Okay, no cats!"
Our dad, when ever we left, would just sigh and drink more. I would say he's handiling this well. Monica was now our foster mother. All we had to do was sign the papers.
Alexandra Leigh Barber
Jennafer Marie Barber
Monica Elizabeth Adams
Benjamin Michael Adams
Thats it, now we are officially foster kids. Now the only thing is Dads' signature. That would be the harder thing to do. We knew he would protest. But he really had no choice. Tomorrow we leave and start our new lives. And dad will be all alone, for the rest of his life. Gregory James Barber.
19: Tomorrows end
I sat there on my bed for as long as I could. Father already left and Jenna was doing-heaven knows what. Until she knocked on my door and walked in.
"Hey, you okay?"
She asked steadly.
I looked down. The answer was yes, but I kept holding on.
"Al, are you shure you're okay?"
I still didn't answer her. I didn't know what kept holding me back.
"Alexandra Leigh Barber, I demand you tell me whats wrong right now."
Okay, geez, you sound worse then dad. I said to myself. I was only joking though, nothing could be worse then him. I told her what was on my mind.
"Something is keeping me from wanting to go."
Jenna sat next to me now.
"I feel like, I can't leave. And if I do leave, I'll be abandoning him. He needs us, Jen."
"That doesn't nessicerilly mean we need him."
"So what, Jen. He's our only hope."
"You mean we're his only hope?"
"I can't leave Jenna."
"we need to leave."
"And, why do we need to leave?"
"Because, if we don't leave, you'll never know what he'd do to us."
She had a point. I still didn't understand where I was coming from. I walked downstairs and into the living room with all of my bags.
Jessica asked me. We both just nodded. I can't believe were about to leave this life and enter a foster family with 9 differant kids who have the same problems as Jenna and me.
"So this is it?" Jenna said.
"Yupp. . ." I told her back.
"All we have to do is just leave." Jenna asked me.
"Yes." Jessica said.
"Without a single good bye. Or notification of 'I love you two'" I said.
Jessica looked at us. Jenna and I had a ritual. We placed the family photo on the mat inside of the house. On the back we wrote a note to him. It said this:
We will never forget you.
As long as you promise
not to forget us.
We love you.
Alexandra and Jennafer.
And then we were off to our new home.