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What happens between us, stays between us
I can't believe it happened. Even as I sit here in this cold, lonely cell, even though I'm
wearing a stranger's clothes, even though I took a shower in their 3x4 shower room' I can't
believe it happened' * * * * * * Moving back into my mom's house was everything I thought it'd
be. We fought, yelled and hit. Our problems were solved by creating bigger, more important ones.
There wasn't a moment of rest with her' there never has been. Nobody knows her like I do. I
don't even think she knows her. Off and on for the past sixteen years, I've dealt, by myself,
with her 'moments'. I suffered through her blows that were later described as
'unintentional' or 'never happened', I fought through her schizophrenic days when things
that were said seemed to be spoken by someone far away, and I let her beat me down, both physically
and mentally, without making a sound. I thought about the woman she used to be. I remembered my
Mommy. I missed the woman who would kiss my scrapes until they didn't hurt anymore, I missed the
woman who would take me on trips to the zoo, I missed the woman who used to laugh and kiss my
step-dad until she couldn't anymore. This is the woman me and my brother cried for at night.
This is the woman, I thought those nights, who would never be back. She was long gone in a sea of
depression, pills and abandonment. She was no more. She had good moments, too. Moments where I had
a quick feeling of hopefulness, moments when I thought all of those pills ' Vicodin, Hydrocodone,
BuSpar, Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft ' she popped were actually for something. But those moments
quickly faded and I she came back through.
I survived, haphazardly, through another two months with her before my brother came back. I
remember when he was calling my mom asking to move back in, she would seem so coy with him, then
turn around and call my grandma and bad mouth her own son ' this was something I was used to by
now, for both me and my brother. When he moved in, he moved into my room. I got stuck in the living
room ' another thing I'm used to: being second best to my drug-addict brother. For the first few
weeks, she kept faking her 'perfect mom' routine that I've grown accustomed to. She didn't
call names or start fights, and she actually cooked dinner for me and my brother rather than just
for herself. I knew not to get my hopes up this time' I knew this was only temporary.
As expected, almost right on time, my mother showed us yet again who she really is. Through all of
the hits I've taken over the years for no apparent reason ' spilt juice, dusting wrong, crying
and family reinforcement ' I was most surprised by the one that landed me where I am now.
Fights seem a common thing where I live. I have memories going back to age five where I can
remember the whispers in my ear from my step-dad telling me that what goes on between us stays
between us. I remember the glowing orange and red stove at my grandma's when she was burning the
letters I had written to my cousin, and I remember the laugh in my brothers' eyes when I ran out
of the room in screaming horror. I remember the marks I had on my neck from the telephone cord my
brother favored and the pain in my ankle caused by my grandma. Most of all, I remember everything
my mother has ever done to me' these are the things I remember most because it made me who I am.
My mother made me what I am, my feelings are hers.
* * * * * *
Yesterday, my brother choked me with the cord from the phone because I wanted to call Mommy.
Through my choking cries for help, I could hear Gramma telling me to shut-up; she's trying to
watch court shows. I scratched him in the eye. I didn't want to, he's my brother, but I had
to. He unwrapped the cord and started punching me. I wish I didn't scratch him. When Mommy came
home later I told her what happened. She had tears in her eyes and kept apologizing to me. She
told me she would tell Anthony to leave me alone and next time he does it she would kick him out. I
believed her. Today after Mommy left for work Anthony came in and started punching me while I was
sleeping. I tried not to cry but it hurt so bad! I walked down to Mommy's work and showed her my
lip. She told me not to go back home until she got there, but I went home anyway. When I got there,
he was waiting for me. I was going to take a bath to clean myself up, but I was afraid of Allen. I
was afraid he would come into the bathroom with me again. I kept telling myself that he's gone
now and he isn't coming back, but I still see him everywhere. Instead of taking a bath, I went
into my room. The mirror in front of me only shows my face. I whisper my name to make sure it's
me because I don't look the same. I focus on the spots where my tears mix with my blood and it
scares me. I don't like bleeding, I heard you can die from it and I don't want to die. I open
my mouth and the girl in the mirror opens hers, too. She breaks my heart, the look on her face. I
wish I could reach out to her and help her. So I do. She reaches to me at the same time and I pull
away. I can't help her. I hear the front door open and a bunch of people come in. I'm too
scared to go look incase Anthony is still out there, waiting for me. What if it's Allen? I panic
and hide under my bed until Mommy comes in to get me. She doesn't look shocked when she sees the
blood on my face. She tells me that there's company and I need to come out like a good little
girl, but I need to clean myself up first. She doesn't ask me how I got my new marks. I go into
the living room after I'm all cleaned up and see all my family there. My Uncle Brad, my Aunt
Tara, my cousins Brian and April, my Grampa Darrell and Gramma Sudie, and my brother and Gramma. At
first everyone is laughing and having a good time. I try to stay by April because she's only
five, so she's closer to my age. Everyone else is older than me and I don't fit in. I want to
stand by Mommy so I do but when I go up to her, she pushes me down onto the ground. I stay down
because it hurt when I fell and I don't want to be pushed again. Everyone laughs besides April
and I start crying. Then I feel someone pulling down my pants. I knew Allen was here! I knew it, I
knew it! The tears won't stop coming, I can feel him already! But I am wrong. Instead of the
familiar pain from Allen, I feel a sharp sting on my bare butt. I don't know what it is, but it
hurts. I look up and then it starts coming towards my face: a black rope with Mommy's hands on
the other end. It hits me across the face so I turn my head again. Then I keep feeling it hit my
butt. I hear everyone laughing and I don't know why because it hurts. I wonder if they know
what's going on?
* * * * * * I have to admit, being in this cell is a heck of a lot better than being at home.
It's only my first night here, but it seems like paradise. I keep going back to that night when I
was seven. I remember that at the time, I didn't think anything of it. I thought she hit me with
that bullwhip in good fun. But now I see that it was just the beginning of what was yet to come.
Chris Fuhrman, the cop who arrested me, one of my favorites, told me I would only be in here for one
night. I was relieved at hearing that, but now I don't know. Do I really want to go back to her?
She put me here, after all. I don't have any books to read and I can't see out the window.
I'm starting to drift off and as I do, I hope if I dream, it won't be about Allen this time'
* * * * * * I'm with Michele and Joson driving to Whatcom Lake. We don't have a care in the
world right now. It's just the three of us, and I don't want this moment to end. I look ahead
and see something blue coming straight towards us. I hear Michele's screams over my own and then
everything goes black' I fly out the window, over the guardrail and into the sky. I look next to
me and see my mother. It doesn't look like her, but I know it is. Her eyes are black with
disappointment and her mouth seems to be in a permanent frown. The sight of her scares me so I
start flying down, down into the water. I look into the water where my reflection should be, but
instead I see hers. I move my mouth and my eyes and the reflection follows me. It doesn't look
like her, but I know it is. I try to escape this feeling she's giving me. This haunting that is
forever mine. I fly over to the bridge and I'm me again. I stand on the edge and I think 'Who
would miss me? Who do I have? Nobody would notice'' I don't see her anywhere around me, I
feel free again. I decide not to jump. When I turn to go back onto the ground, I slip and start
falling down off the bridge. The last thing I see is her, waving goodbye to me. It doesn't look
like her, but I know it is.
* * * * * * These people wake you up at like five in the morning asking if you want breakfast!
Who eats that early?! I'm starting to get pissed off at this place. I just got back in my cell
after taking a 'five minute shower' ' which really only lasts about 20 seconds ' and I'm
still shivering from how cold that water was. They treat the kids here like animals. I
hate it. I miss Benny. I woke up this morning in a panic. The voice of my mother soon turned into
the buzzing of my opening cell door and her smiling face soon became that of the guard who was
giving me breakfast. They must think I'm crazy. I could feel my eyes widening with terror at the
same time I saw his scowling in disapproval. I don't care. I'm out of here today. I keep
looking out of my window, wanting to cry. It's Saturday today. I would be outside right now with
Benny, having fun in the sun. Benny. I try not to think of him, of what he's doing. I heard once
that whenever you go through something traumatic, you turn into a philosopher. I never believed it.
Why can't you go through something exultant and be a philosopher? But now I see what they mean.
I look at the window of my cell and see my life how other people must see it: blurry,
unrecognizable, leaving you wanting to see more, leaving you wanting to know what those shapes and
colors are. Then I laughed at how stupid I must sound. 'My English teacher would be proud of my
breakthrough.' I thought. Even though she wouldn't' because I'm in juvie. I sat on my bed
for the next few hours. I don't remember what I was thinking about ' if anything ' for that
whole time. But the buzzing door brought me back to life. It was time for court. I walked down
with another girl, I think her name was Mariah, and she leads the way. She's been here before,
she says, she knows what to do. In the elevator ride, she tells me about all of the rules in juvie
and in the courtroom. 'I won't be here after today, anyway.' I told her. When we get into
the courtroom, I see them. The three people whose enemy list I've been on since as long as I can
remember. My brother, my mom and my gramma. I look away. The girl, Mariah, has been here for three
months so far and she's been in here a lot of times before. Her mom isn't here, so it's my
turn first. I keep forgetting to say 'Your Honor' after everything and when I don't, he kills
me with his eyes. I shrink down in my seat every time he does it. He tells me I don't get out.