I would ask, "Why are we here? Can't we just leave?" My mom would answer, "And go where?" I'd say to myself, "If I were a mom, I'd find somewhere, but I'm just a kid, who has a silent voice and no one cares."
In the middle of all this pain, my mom found out that she was pregnant, which made dad stay away more often and even longer periods of time. With dad not being around as much, life was calm… a load was lifted. There was a peace, at least for me anyway. We were laughing and playing again. The few friends I had left were coming over and I was sleeping at night. More importantly, my mom was too. Life was looking a lot better. I still fought everyday, but at least my home wasn't a war zone anymore.
Mom was finally in her ninth month of pregnancy and we were awaiting a bundle of joy to arrive real soon. We didn't have much because of dad's drug addiction. He had stolen until he took everything we had that was worth anything. But we didn't care, for we had peace and a new baby… and for me, that was a new beginning.
After the baby arrived, I would offer one more plea to mom about leaving. That would be the icing on the cake. I wanted to get as far away from the projects as I could. I was a child and I had no idea of the hurt and pain my mom was going through. As a woman, I now understand it wasn't that simple for her to up and leave.
I hadn't seen my dad, sad to say, but that was a good thing. If I had to choose between having him around and having peace in the home, well, you know… I still loved him. I just didn't understand. I didn't understand why my mom felt that it was okay for him to treat her so bad…and I didn't understand what was wrong with me, that no matter what, I continued to love a man who continued to hurt my mom.
One sunny afternoon, I went outside to ride my bike and play with my friends. You see, even though the swings were gone and the slides were barely there, we still had fun. The neighborhood had toned down a little. The gunfire that we did hear from time to time had become normal. We would hide in the stairways until it was over and continue to play. Just like the abuse, the shootings had become a way of life.
While riding my bike, I became thirsty. I remembered the punch mama made and I went upstairs to get a drink. She would make it with lemons and sliced oranges. I use to love to swirl the frosty glass in a circular motion and hear the sound of the large ice cubes as they hit the glass…so mouth watering, cool and refreshing. Now that dad was gone, she'd picked up some of her motherly ways again…with baking and setting the table, just like old times.
It was about noon, I rushed up stairs to my apartment, opened the screen door and the big door was locked. That was weird, because mom kept the door unlocked when we would play outside. So I began to knock on the door and call her, "Ma ! I'm thirsty! Open up!" I called several times. I then heard a loud thump from the other side of the door, like someone had run into it. I heard my mom screaming and crying at the same time, "Please stop! Oh God Help! Help me!" I ran to the window which was on the left side of the door. I pressed my left cheek against it so that I can try and see her from the corner of my eye…through the crack of the security bars and hanging window shade. Oh my God!…it was my dad in there beating her like a punching bag in her midsection, one blow after another, like a mad man! My Dad was at least 5' 8" 260 lbs., my mom about 5' 5" 170 lbs., nine months pregnant…no match at all.
I couldn't scream or shout because I started to shake out of control. Even if I'd asked for help, no one would because they feared him. So I stayed in the doorway, while crying in a fetal position, helplessly listening to my mom's excruciating cry for help. I listened as her wounded heart begged to be saved from the hands of the man, who stole her heart and introduced her to his isolated dark and morbid world; "My First Perception of A Man."
As I sat there between the doors, shaking and gripping my stomach, I listened to my mom's moans slowly fade out. I realized it was finally over. I could hear her faint voice moaning, crying and praying. I visualized my mom, sliding down into the fetal position just as I was on the other side of the door…and there we were, both trapped in a world that appeared to be unable to escape. I placed the palms of my hands on the door, along with my cheek. I closed my tearful eyes and in my mind, I held her and rocked her in my arms while whispering in her ear, "If I was the mom, I would take you away." I didn't understand this type of love. I couldn't help but wonder, would he love me this way one day? I made myself a promise to always do the right thing and never upset him. I never wanted to feel that type of love. (The seed of abuse had now mentally been planted)
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