Was Cindy’s room?
“I’m sorry to hear about your loss,” I heard the social worker say as I snapped back to reality. “I… didn’t know that there was another child. My report doesn’t say anything about another child, I’m so very sorry.” There was quiet whispering for about ten minutes, and then I heard, “How much did you say it would take to keep quiet about it?”
My mother replied, “I have five thousand dollars I can give you right now if you keep quiet on that goddamn report and stay the fuck out of my basement.”
As suddenly as I heard what they were talking about, I immediately began screaming, “HELP! SOMEBODY HELP!” at the top of my lungs. I heard my mother ushering the social worker into another room, closer and closer to the door.
The social worker seemed like she was sobbing in glee as she exclaimed, “You don’t know how much this money means to me. I won’t say a thing, I swear I won’t say a single thing!”
And as soon as that, her voice diminished, the door slammed shut, and the door to the basement opened. “HELP!” I continued to scream, hoping that somebody out on the street had heard me when the door upstairs opened to reveal the entire neighborhood. In the dark, I couldn’t see anything, but I felt it when both my mother and Harry beat their fists across my face and shattered bones in my mouth as I screamed in agony. I heard them laughing the entire time, and my mom’s befuddled, “I guess you’ll never ask anybody for help again!” And she was right.
By nine, I hadn’t seen my bedroom in what felt like ages. The basement was my bedroom. My worst fear had come true.