The Untold Secrets
I had to come to terms that the mother I dealt with is a completely different person from what my siblings have to deal with.
I have two older brothers, Danny and Jared, and a younger sister, Lucy, making me the middle child. I am the child that showed up unexpectedly.
The day I met my parents, Katherine and Daniel, I was just thirteen. I had finally built up the courage to knock on the door. Both of my parents’ reactions were expressed differently. At first glance, I could see I actually found my dad. It was like I was looking in the mirror, except he was a guy. The only difference was I had my mother’s eyes. I could see nothing but pure love, shock, and joy in my dad’s eyes. Katherine’s reaction was the complete opposite. Her facial expression was unexpected, she looked at me as if I was a ghost. She quickly composed herself, hiding the shock with a fake smile. The way she reacted made me think that she knew about me, but I never asked.
I was happy with just being able to find my family. I felt a bit more complete, when I found out I had people who I shared blood relations with. I finally felt like my life was taking a turn in the right direction or at least I thought so.
The year of 2013 is a big year for all of us, kids. Danny is turning twenty and is now getting ready to go to Oregon Health and Science University. While Jared is graduating from high school this year, and is already researching and applying for colleges.
As for me, I am sixteen and getting ready for my junior year of high school. I am excited because it is one more year till my senior year. I am worried about having to be in school without my brothers though, they always kept all the people that bullied me at bay. It was hard to ignore the close relationship me and my siblings had established once they defended me from being bullied over possibly ruining their school reputation.
Two idiots, who were juniors, on Danny’s soccer team tried to talk about me in front of my brothers. It was lunch time and I decided to sit outside with Danny and Jared for lunch. I was sitting on the bench, sitting next to Danny just picking at the food on my lunch tray. I was not really into socializing, even if I was sitting with my brothers. No one bothered me when I was with them. One of the reasons I choose to sit with them.
“She’s a one in my book, but she does have a good butt,” Johnny stated with a smirk.
“Nah just cause she has a good butt, doesn’t mean she is cute. She is more of a hobo. Definitely a loner. I heard she just showed up one day. Clearly she was not even part of the family to begin with, Ricky smirked.
I listened to Johnny and Ricky have a full conversation without even thinking about who was around them. My heart raced in my chest as I sat there and listened to them talk about me. I shifted uncomfortably on the bench. Jared looked at me and I turned my head to the floor, knowing he saw the tears swelling in my eyes.
“Bro, why are you talking about her like that? That’s not cool, man. You both realize she is right there and everyone can hear you idiots,” Ethan’s voice proudly rang out.
Danny and Jared’s heads lifted and they both rose to their feet quickly. Ethan walked to Danny and Jared to whisper what Johnny and Ricky had just been talking about. I looked up and their faces were filled with anger and they glanced over at me. Cr*p! I wiped the stray tear that escaped my eye, looking away from my brother’s angry faces.
Danny and Jared both simultaneously stalk towards soccer teammates and comfort them. Jared screams at Ricky and Danny shouts at Johnny. Both equally got a mouthful from my brothers, which made me see how seriously they took their role as my brothers. The whole quad full of students during lunch had stopped the snicker and gossip, knowing that the boys messed with the wrong person. I had walked away, not liking to be the center of attention. I was both embarrassed and hurt even though the boys did not speak to me. I went to the bathroom, splashed water on my face and then made my way to my fourth period class.
I went to bed that night, the guilt of causing my brother’s problems at school with their friends. Danny came into my room, and slept on my floor.
“No one will hurt you, with me around,” he whispered into the air. I knew he meant it too. He was my protector, he would do anything and everything to keep me safe from the monsters.
The rest of the year, no one talked badly of me and the whole school did not even attempt to bully me.
It is hard to think that Lucy is six years old soon and ‘a big girl’ as she would say. Luckily, Lucy is still living life with all smiles and no care in the world and she is stoked to start kindergarten this year.
Danny has packed his whole room, getting ready to leave within the next couple of weeks for the University in Oregon. I could tell he was excited to start college. I am happy that he is going to college, but I am going to miss him. He was the brother I could really rely on for emotional support, especially when I needed a hug after a bad day.
Danny always had a protective brotherly feeling about him, which made me feel safe and I was able to trust him no matter what. I knew that he would protect me with his life, but what he did proved more than believing it to be true. He was genuinely my protector and guardian angel whenever I needed him.
Two days before Danny was getting ready to leave for Oregon, Katherine expressed how unhappy she was about his decision to leave
“Oregon’s so far. I’m going to miss my first born, my baby boy. Why does he have to go so far?” Katherine whined. “What about money? He better not go hungry.”
If I thought listening to her non-stop unreasonable, stupid complaints up until the day Danny left was a major headache, I was sorely mistaken. We had all bid him goodbye as he was getting ready to leave. He hugged all of us one-by-one and we all wished him luck. We all watched as he got into his car, Lucy, Jared, and I all waved to him as he pulled out of the driveway and drove out of sight. I turned around to see our parents had gone back inside already.
We all went back to our boring daily routines. Just being in one room together was awkward, the room was stiff with silence. You could hear a pen drop. The few times I would enter the room and Katherine was glaring at Dan from across the room. Dan busied himself with reading the newspaper in his hands. The silent glaring battle only made the hostile tension eerie as it lingered in the air, leaving unasked questions of what the tension was about. Danny was too busy with preparing to make his long drive to college and Lucy was in her own little happy bubble entertained with her toys too notice, but Jared and I endured the maddening silence as we sat around the house trying to entertain ourselves. Jared and I were waiting for one of them to say or do something to relieve the tension, but they never did. Just silently glared at each other every time they saw each other. Jared and I both knew it was futile to intervene. As the tension and anger between them was getting worse with every day of every hour they spent under the same roof together, Jared and I tried to limit the amount of time we were with both in the same room as well as make sure we did not leave Lucy alone in the room with them.
As I thought of how lucky Danny was getting to leave, I started to kind of hold resentment for him moving to Oregon, but I knew he was chasing his own dreams and goals that he longed to accomplish. I was a bit envious of him. I would take anything to swap places with him or just go with him even though he would want to give me his ‘education is important’ speech.
“Books before hobbies. Hobbies are not the most important thing in the world. You read and get good grades and you can do anything you put your mind to. You can use your artistic talent as an escape from the real world, but don’t forget school is more important. You are disgustingly talented with the gift of drawing, but school and grades are just as important,” he would remind me.
When I needed help with school, he usually helped me, kept me on track making sure I had all of my class assignments turned in and finished on time. He did the same thing to Jared, and it annoyed Jared. I just laughed at how Danny would act as our second fatherly figure. It never got old with Danny telling me I was “disgustingly talented”, he was still amazed I was able to draw a picture of anything with such ease and little to no effort.
Two long hours passed since Danny had left and Jared had closed himself in his room, his music blaring, drowning out the noise in the house. I was outside in the back yard with Lucy when I heard our parents shouting at each other. Lucy and I were sitting on the patio drawing with chalk. She was drawing a rainbow, while I watched her draw each line with a different color. I could hear my parents yelling at each other then there was a loud crash and a high pitched scream. I did not even look at Lucy as I jumped to my feet and walked quickly to the back door.
“Stay here!” I shouted to Lucy as I opened the door. I walked into the house as Jared appeared in the kitchen doorway, looking like he was about to fight an intruder. Nothing was broken and everything looked exactly where it was supposed to be as we both checked the house. Dad’s truck was gone and mom had locked herself in her bedroom, which made us think the loud crashing sound was the slamming of the bedroom door.
From that day on we all had to deal with the yelling matches, which was like watching a bad sitcom and waiting for someone to throw the first punch and nothing happened but slamming of doors. Jared never eavesdropped on what the arguments were about, but I would listen every so often, my curiosity getting the better of me. I was listening once and I heard some things I wish I never heard coming from our mother. She was complaining about me and how she had gotten rid of me was proof enough to stay away from this family. As I listened I could not believe my mother thought of me that way. I knew she did not like me, but I figured it was just because I looked like our father more than her, clearly there was a deeper meaning. Despite our mothers continuous protests, our father was always defending us in the arguments, telling her we were just kids and how we should be able to do things that we love. He even told her multiple times that having me in their lives was the best thing he could have thanked god for and I was going to change the world with my creative talent. Mostly the arguments were about Danny’s choice in college and other petty things like chores, dishes, and money and then occasionally my name would get thrown into the mix from my mom’s mouth of course. The bickering carried on for two months and things around us slowly changed as the bickering proceeded.
I would have to watch Lucy, since Jared would leave the house more frequently to go hang out with his friends. I did not get the luxury that Jared had since he had a decent group of friends that he would hang out with. Sometimes he would sneak out around nine at night and then come home at one or two in the morning. He did not know I knew of his late night outings. The only reason I knew was because we shared the bedroom wall and I could hear him climb out the bedroom window. Jared got lucky though, with me being the only one knowing about his late night outings, it was very unlikely that our parents would ever find out. I, personally, was not going to say anything. Besides, our mom would not find out anytime soon, because she would mainly drink till she passed out. And our dad was either sleeping on the couch or at the firehouse working the night shift for overtime pay. Basically, our parents avoided each other as much as possible.
With our parents and Jared doing what they wanted and needed to do throughout the week, they had all been too busy and had forgotten about the youngest person that needed someone to be cared for. I was the only person in the house that was thinking about the child in the house. No one else seemed to want to play the parent role for Lucy. I could tell that Lucy was feeling unloved and scared out of her mind, because our parents were not paying attention to her and they were always fighting. So I stepped into the role of being responsible for my little sister. I made the necessary sacrifices in my own personal life just to care for her. I did not have many friends so I had time. My friend circle was never really big, it only consisted of one best friend, Valicia Simmons. I loved Valicia like a sister, but I never wanted to burden her with my family issues and what happened in my house. Despite not having many friends and my family with their heads in the clouds, I was still okay with how I spent my days taking care of my sister.
There were days that I was hoping our mother would put her issues aside and just make up with dad, so she would stop causing the petty arguments that only ended with yelling and then destruction of the house. It was hard to keep the house clean by myself, since our house started to smell like cigarettes and liquor. Mother would drink from sunup to sundown. It did not surprise me that she didn’t change or even try to change, and honestly what happened between my parents wasn’t even my main concern anymore. I was more concerned about Lucy being alone in the house with no supervision. I would never want to leave anyone, especially my sister with a mother who would drink herself till she would swear on life itself before passing out. No one should have to deal with a drunk parent. With our mother being in a mood and drunk, it left our father stressed and exhausted from the constant arguing and the physical labored job as a firefighter.
The day I started taking care of Lucy, I swore that no matter what was happening around us I was going to make sure I would be happy and have fun. I mentally reminded myself everyday, Lucy’s childhood would not be screwed up. She would always feel loved even if it was only by me. I will not abandon her. She will be loved and I will always show her that love.
Whenever our parents were arguing, I would tell Lucy that we were going to play hide-and-seek outside. I was always the seeker trying to find her, she was very good at hiding and staying quiet. The game was a good distraction for us both. We were able to get far away from the arguments for a bit. Majority of nights Dan would spend his nights at the firehouse. He did not come home till around five in the morning of the next day only to grab his belongings for work and see Jared, Lucy, and me before we went to school.
The only thing I was not fond of having to do when the fights stopped was dealing with the destruction of the mess Katherine had recently started to make of the house. I was always the person who knew about the destruction, because I would clean it up before anyone would see it. Jared was always out with his friends and dad was at work, working double shifts, so they never knew what mother did to the house and I never told them. I just cleaned the mess without complaining, because it was hopeless to even try to tell mom to clean it up herself, knowing that she was not sober.
Danny only called us maybe twice a week, we were lucky if it was once a week. He didn’t even know dad would sleep at the firehouse most nights. I only text him when I was “not busy,” but I was really busy watching Lucy most of the time. I did tell Danny that dad and mom were arguing. I knew Danny would only cause the tension in the house even more haunting if he knew, wanting to fix the problems that ran through our house. He would even blame himself for leaving and then not being there to Jared, Lucy, and me. I wanted him to have no distractions from his college education. I felt really bad for withholding the truth from him, since I usually told him everything, but I did not want him to worry. Him getting into college was a great achievement and I was over the moon for him.
After about a month, arguing became the norm in the house. The aftermath of their bickering was definitely not my highlight of the day though. The more my parents argued the more erratic our mother became. Katherine went from destroying the house to taking her anger out on me; punishing me both physically and mentally when no one was around. She always claimed that she was teaching me a “lesson.” At first it was a couple of slaps to the face, nothing that left a mark, but she upped her punishments with every bicker match she had with Dan.
The first time Katherine taught me a “lesson” was the third time dad had stormed out after a stupid petty argument over money expenses. Katherine had gone on and on about how much a nuisance I was to the family and how I ran the money into the ground. Dan had slammed the front door so hard I saw the windows of the kitchen shake. I overheard the argument between them, while Lucy and I were outside playing. Jared was out of the house hanging out with his friends. I walked into the kitchen at the wrong time. I still shudder in fear as every detail of what happened is seared into my memory on a continuous loop while I am sleeping.
I was outside in the backyard playing hide-and-seek with Lucy. I went inside since the yelling stopped and I heard a door slam thinking it was our mother closing herself in the master bedroom. I left Lucy still hiding outside knowing that she was safer there. As I walked in too soon to realize it was the front door that was slammed shut. I was standing in the living room hoping that mom was the one that left and dad was standing in the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen, to see my mother, looking pissed and in the fit of rage, with a ceramic plate in her hand. There were already glass shards on the ground, from broken cups that were sitting on the counter top. I looked at the kitchen in shock at what I was seeing, since this was the first time I ever saw my mom throwing things around the house like a toddler having a tantrum. She stopped mid-throw with the plate in her hand when she saw me. Dropping the plate on the ground, the plate crashing and breaking into chunks as she stomped towards me with pure rage in her eyes. I was looking at the ground trying to maneuver through the mess that I didn’t have time to get out of the way from my enraged mother. She looked beyond livid. I looked up only to see she was standing in front of me. Her jaw was clenched so tight her jaw line was clearly visible and she was giving me the death glare that screamed ‘I’m gonna kill you’. I could tell she was also a bit intoxicated, by the way she was walking, staggering with every step she took, but she was still able to get where she wanted. I stood there, frozen in place, my heart thumping in my chest with my mother glaring into my soul. She raised her finger and started poking the center of my chest while she cursed at me. Telling me everything I did was my fault. I was the reason for every little wrong thing that happened in her life. “You are the reason for the constant fighting between me and your father,” she blamed. She went on yelling that I should have never existed, that I was a mistake and never wanted because she and dad never loved me. I was apparently just a constant reminder of the child she never wanted to have, the mistake that was never supposed to live. I was so hurt by the words that she was yelling at me that I was on the verge of tears. I just continued to stand there though, avoiding my gaze to the floor.
“LOOK AT ME!” she yelled loudly. I was pretty sure the whole neighborhood heard her at this point. I slowly lifted my head to look her in the eyes, holding back tears. Her expression was emotionless, nothing but very cold dagger eyes that were full of anger and drunken rage. All I could smell was the nasty stench of Hennessy on her breath. My stomach clenched with disgust as I tried not to distort my face at the smell of alcohol. I was going to turn to leave the room when she slapped me hard across my face. I held my hand to my cheek turning to look back up at my mothers face. My cheek was stinging and I could taste my own blood on the inside of my bottom lip. I stood there holding my composer as strong as I could, trying not to show her no weakness. The look on her face told me she was going to make me regret trying to maintain the strong composer. Without a second thought, she grabbed a fists full of my hair that I had pulled up into a messy bun and yanked my head back making me wince. She pulled me by my hair and pushed me into the wall releasing my hair. My back hit against the wall with a thud. I laid on the ground, now leaning on my elbows to look up at her. I narrowed my eyes at her, knowing that I would probably regret my actions later. As I looked up, she began to kick me in my stomach and continued to tell me how worthless I was and always would be. She was wearing tennis shoes, so her kicks were rather painful. I was scared to move from the fetal position on the ground, but I knew I needed to get up and away from my drunken-raged mother. The only problem was that I was lying on the floor and in so much pain from her non-subtle blows to my abdomen that I felt like I was going to pass out. I was wearing an olive green colored tank top and shorts that reached my mid-thigh. I could not see the unexposed skin but I could feel the bruises on my stomach starting to form. I was gasped in breaths of air as my lungs struggled to get air. I laid on the floor with my eyes squeezed tight, praying that Lucy would stay hidden wherever she was hiding outside. I didn’t want Lucy to get in the middle of mom and her maniac state. Finally what seemed like hours, the painful blows stopped. I continued to lay on the floor with my eyes closed and tried not to move which was easy because every time I moved or took a breath I felt nothing but pain. I laid on the ground acting like I was dead. I knew she would leave the room eventually or at least I was hoping. Then I heard the door slam shut which meant that the “lesson” was over. I slowly forced my body to sit up against the wall. I was in so much pain, but I got up quickly, wiping the tears that escaped my eyes. I wrapped my arms around my body and carefully walked to my room and put on a pair of black sweats and my light gray sweater to hide the bruises. After I changed my clothes, I went to clean my face and cover the marks that I couldn’t hide with clothing with makeup. Once I was convinced I covered the majority of the bruises, I went back outside to continue the game of hide-and-seek with Lucy even though my body ached.
Katherine was good at inflicting bruises, but sometimes I would have to use makeup to hide the minor marks left on my face.
A week after I received my “lesson” from mom, I noticed that there was something wrong with me, something that I probably needed medical help with. I knew that telling Katherine would end in her telling me I was faking actually needing medical help, so I did not even bother telling anyone that my memories were slowly disappearing and that I was staring into space for no reason.