Excuse my mini rant yesterday. I was hurting quite a bit and it was the end of a long, terrible day. I’m still hurting but it’s the beginning of a new one and I’m going to try to keep it together a bit better.
My brother has been on my mind a lot lately. He’s been great, He tried to call me yesterday, the only person who did, but I missed his call. We texted and he’s going to call today. When we were kids I always knew it was my responsibility to take care of him. Mom left when I was eight and I had to start taking care of him. He was two. For a while we were supposed to switch off between mom and dad but that didn’t last. Our father was an abusive asshole so it’s always been the two of us, and I was the older sister. There are probably more incidents than I’ll ever remember. We visited an aunt years ago and she reminded me of one I had forgotten. Our mother had gotten a trailer in the same park as our aunt, probably four or five streets away. I have no idea where our mother was but I was watching my brother. I was nine and baby brother was three. He was hungry and there was absolutely nothing to eat there. This may have been right after she got the place, I really don’t remember. I remember he kept telling me he was hungry. I was trying to distract him but he kept coming back to “hungry”. I don’t know how long this went on for but I remember the helplessness and anger I felt.
I was nine and not stupid, and I overheard my father’s family talking crap about my mother. And I did not like it. At all. Our aunt was my father’s sister. However, my baby brother was hungry and I had no food. Finally, I bundled him up in my pink sweater because it was cold outside. Again, I have no idea where his coat was. So, I bundled him up in my pink sweater, took his hand, and walked him over to our aunt’s house. I knocked on the door and she answered. I asked her for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my brother but would not come in the house. When my aunt was recalling this she said she tried to get me to come in and get something to eat but I refused. I told her it was because I was embarrassed. Recalling this, I remember the shame and anger that filled me on having to ask her for a sandwich for my brother. I may have been nine but I knew they would see this as proof of our mom being a bad mother, which I did NOT want to hear. It pissed me off, to put it plainly. I remember the anger I had when our mother finally returned to the trailer and I told her what I had done.
Our dad was the abusive asshole that I feared all my life. Our mother was never anything but loving and understanding with us. She certainly did not get upset with me for taking him to our aunt’s house, although looking back I’m sure she knew that would give the family more ammunition to use against her. It never occurred to nine year old me that it might get her in trouble. I was just trying to get my brother fed. He was always my responsibility.
Our mother died two weeks before I turned eleven, and my brother was four. He doesn’t remember her or much of what we went through, but I think he has to still have it in his subconscious. Sometimes I think he remembers more than he lets on. He hears snippets of what it was like for us but I don’t think he remembers screaming while I was being beaten. I don’t think he remembers our father’s systematic destruction of our sense of self worth and confidence.
Our father remarried when I was 13-14 and my brother was seven. I have photos of his seventh birthday. I was thirteen and had recruited a friend to help me throw a birthday party for him, if you can imagine two thirteen year old girls trying to handle a house full of seven year olds. Our stepmother is in the photo, and if I remember correctly, she brought me the decorations. After they married our father chilled out some and the abuse lessened. It didn’t stop, but I was grateful for the better atmosphere and also because she started taking care of my brother. For the first time, I didn’t have to be solely responsible for him. I moved out when I was seventeen, but felt badly about leaving my brother. I told him to call me if he needed me, and that when he got old enough he could come stay with me.
There is so much more, but this is it for now. The sandwich incident was on my mind for some reason. They tell you to write what you know. I think about writing a book about our experiences, but to what point? It doesn’t really have a happy ending. It’s not inspirational. Who wants to read that sort of thing? So I don’t. I could work my experiences into a fictional character, but then I have a hard time thinking of what sort of story to tell. I think if I were to just write maybe something will come, so that’s what I’m trying to do. So, if I have the occasional post ranting about some painful incident, like yesterday, maybe it’s worth it to push through. I kept trying to write over the past year but would cry every time. So I would put it away so I could get myself under control again. But I was doing it for him, so he wouldn’t hear me crying. I think it’s time I started doing things for myself again.