By the time the blows stopped coming, I turned to face my mother with my broken body and blood leaking from all the orifices in my face to see that she had beaten me across the back and head with a frozen turkey. That night, I was locked in my bedroom to sit in fear, still hungry from not receiving any of the food scraps of the day. At one point, I ate a couple of the crayons I found on the bottom of my closet. I never said ‘please’ again.
The next turning point in my life was when I was coming up on seven years old. I heard my mother talking back and forth with Harry about how “the social worker” was coming and how they had to clean up the entire house before she arrived. We lived in a relatively bad neighborhood where every house looked like it was in the same state of disrepair. Harry and my mother were stumbling around the house for a good two hours before I heard beating on my door from a hard fist.
I opened the door, stomach growling and eyes droopy from the lack of sleep I had received many nights prior in that dirty, dark room. My mother was standing in the doorway, a frenzy. “Today, a social worker is coming to the house to see how things are going. We need to be on our best behavior. I want you to stay in the basement.”
Immediately, I was shaking my head ‘no’, worried about being alone in that dark basement for hours, if not for the rest of my life. My mother, at this point, had a habit of forgetting many things in my life and if they left me down there for too long, I would surely die with no source of water or food.
That was the story of how I ended up in the basement. I could hear to the first floor relatively well, and I knew exactly when the social worker arrived. She asked some back-and-forth questions to my mother, commented on how nice the house looked, asked her how Harry and she are getting along. I even heard my brother tell her about things he had been working on in school, and for a brief second I envied him. I never heard about his school life. I didn’t know how school worked or all about the fun things that they did. I suddenly wished I was in school.
Then, out of nowhere, the social worker asked, “Whose room is this?” to which my mother responded, “That was Cindy’s room” in the most stricken, melancholy voice she had ever mustered.