But to be honest with you, it wasn’t as bad as I had made it out to be in my nightmares. For instance, I was able to get sleep at night, which could have been due to the fact that I wasn’t eating properly. I slept through the thoughts I once had about monsters living in the basement and eating me alive. I had bigger fish to fry than basement monsters.
I didn’t see my mother very often, if just three meager times a week at this point when she would come down and bring me some fresh clothes, scrub some of the piss up off of the floor, and leave a small plate of food at my feet. One time, the food had tipped directly off of the plate and landed in the wet on the floor but I had no other choice but to eat it. At that point, everything looked appetizing to me. I hadn’t seen Henry in years.
One time, my mother wandered down the stairs, a bundle of clothes in her hand and a plate of food in the other. I was relieved, as my clothes was stained and had been wet for days. My whole body was starting to ache and I was famished. When my mother met me at the end of the stairs, I was looking at her with pleading eyes.
“What?” she asked with a smirk on her face. “What is it? Are you hungry?”
“Is that food and clothing for me?” I was barely able to ask. My throat was so parched but food sounded just as good as water, everything was so mixed.
“No, that’s not what I said” – I started, but she cut me off.
“Yes, you did. You asked if this food was for you. Don’t start getting greedy on me, Cindy. You know it’s not all about you. Your brother and I are very limited on our food, too.”
For once, I felt the need to speak and stick up for myself. I didn’t know where it came from, but when it came, there was no stopping me. “Limited?! How can you say that you’re limited when you paid that social worker five thousand dollars to keep quiet about me? Living here in the basement, on the verge of death?”
She started laughing, but I caught her with the side of my hand from the slap I had plowed into her face. And it felt so damn good.