During elementary school, Leah and I lived with my mom throughout the week, and would go visit my dad in Mississippi every other weekend. Pretty typical arrangement. They would meet in Tuscaloosa, AL every Friday and Sunday. One Sunday afternoon, we arrived in Tuscaloosa to meet my mom to go back home for the week. We pulled in the Burger King parking lot, and got out of the car. As my mom approached us, she had a huge, swollen black eye, part of her hair was shaved off, and she has several staples in her head. Something bad had happened. I knew it at 10 years old. I got that horrible gut feeling again, and I felt like I could puke. I had no idea what/who I was about to get into the car with because she was so unpredictable. I told Leah not to say a word, that I would ask her what happened. My dad dare not even ask what happen because it would have been a scene for all to see. Me and Leah grabbed our stuff from our dad’s car and began to move it over to the van. I hated that damn van. It was a sea green Nissan Quest. Hated it. We get in the van, and Leah and I are both in the backseat. Mom asked about our weekend, so I figured that was my prime opportunity, “ Mine was good. What happened with yours?” She rapidly yapped, “We hit a deer! At breakneck speed I responded, “A deer? You hit a deer and got staples in your head, and not a scratch on the van?” Side note: I have always been gifted in the smart-ass area without discretion, and it has got me in trouble more times than I can count. I guess it made her mad enough to where she spilled all of the beans, right after she pulled over and beat me on the side of I-459. She told us Richard hit her in the head with a high heal shoe, and punched her. Great. I asked her, “ Is he home?” Her answer solidified everything, “He better be.” I knew they were still fighting. I knew this was going to be a bad night, and I knew I dreaded it. When we got home, he was there. The tension was so thick. It was going to be a long night. The result of all of this was a less than desirable evening of throwing shit and screaming. Me and Leah tried to go to sleep for hours. At some point it did finally stop and we went to sleep.
I leaned something from this situation at 10 years old. I learned that when you allow people to scare or intimidate you, you give them power and control. I might have lost that battle, but I won that war. She tried to manipulate me, and she hated that I caught her in a bold-faced lie she couldn’t get out of, then beat me to make herself feel better. What kind of a mother? I’ve asked myself that several times. Never let anyone bully you into silence. I’ve always had this stubbornness to me that isn’t frightened at the will of others. My courage rises at every attempt to intimidate me, and my mother discovered I wasn’t “just a kid anymore.” I was catching on to her games. I wasn’t letting that one slide, and I’m glad I didn’t, because I stood up for the truth. I would rather be beat black and blue, than for you to lie to me. Literally. I was brave, strong, and broken all at once. I didn’t realize that fact until now. One thing I do know is that everything done in darkness will be revealed in the light. And so it was.
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