I believe that mothers have a responsibility to protect their kids.
One day we had a cookout in our front yard. Everyone seemed happy because this was a school night and homework was not really the focus. We enjoyed our grilled feast, hot dogs and baked beans an hour before the sun began to set.
As all kids do when they’re finished eating, my four siblings were ready to play. I was mature for my age so I sat alone to watch them. With running and laughter filling the air, I was still able to hear a quiet but stern conversation beside me.
“Why didn’t you pay it?” asked my mom.
“I will, just shut up talking to me,” he said in response.
I could always figure out what was really going on. He didn’t pay the light bill again. He would always spend the money that she gave him. He hardly ever worked. So, I knew this was not the first time and would not be the last.
The fire grew dim on our stacked bricks with the oven rack on top. Just as twilight covered the sky, my mom told us to get ready for bed. I was angry at both of them
for the darkness that he had put us in. Even though he didn’t pay the bill, she allowed us to suffer because of his stupidity again.
I got madder just thinking that someone at school might find out. Most of my schoolmates were well off so they wouldn’t understand how I had to live. Besides the ones who rode the school bus are already teasing me and saying that I lived in a haunted house. They couldn’t possibly know how difficult it was to take a bath with water that was warmed by a kerosene heater. Most of the homes in our neighborhood were middle class but our house was an old white frame house with only two bedrooms.
As the night moved on and everyone was slept. I opened my eyes because I felt, my stepfather nudging me. This began when I was seven, so I knew what to expect. He led me into the next room and he did things that parents should never do to their kids.
The house remained silent as tears uncontrollably ran down my cheeks. He noticed my tears. He bent over to my ear and in a wicked voice whispered.
“If you make a sound I will kill you.”
He had said those words many times before. I believed that he was capable of carrying out what ever he said. I laid motionless as if I was paralyzed. I started to pray.
“Please God, make him stop.”
It seemed like hours had passed.
Finally he said, “Get in your bed and don’t make a sound.”
I got in bed and pulled the covers over my head. I tried hard to make myself go to sleep. I still love my mother despite her bad decisions when it comes to men.
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