Editor’s Note: The following article is an excerpt from my manuscript detailing my own abuse. Please see “My Story of Abuse” under the category link.
It was Friday afternoon and I was excited because I got to get out of school early! I wasn’t too excited about going to the doctor’s again, though. He was from Germany, or some place like that and I had a hard time understanding what he was saying to me. Not to mention he scared me. Mom and Dad would glare at me and say, “Answer the doctor.” About that time, Mrs. Weaver from the principal’s office came to our door and I knew she was coming to get me. I gathered up my books and reached back into my desk to retrieve the green beans and corn I had hidden from lunch time. Mrs. Moore made us eat everything on our trays, whether it gagged us or not. I hated green beans and corn mixed together and I would put them in my napkin when she wasn’t looking and stuff them in my desk. When we got black olives, I stuffed those in my empty milk carton, and she never did catch me doing it. She was mean. She was tall and skinny with gray hair, and she always wore high-heels and always carried a white hanky to wipe her nose with. When she saw Mrs. Weaver at the door, she looked at me and said, “Victoria gather your books and jacket—oh, you didn’t wear one today did you. On Monday, I want to see you with a jacket on—these Fall mornings are much too cool to come to school without a jacket. I’m not in the least bit surprised you’re not well. Don’t argue with your Mother Monday—wear a coat.”
I felt so embarrassed and could feel my face turning red. I stared down at my desk and said, “Yes, mam.” Mrs. Moore didn’t know that I didn’t have a jacket to wear. Yes, the mornings were very cold and how I wished I had a jacket to wear. All the other kids would say, “Aren’t you cold? Why don’t you wear a coat or something?” I would always appear to be the rough-necked tomboy and say, “No, I’m not cold you sissies.”
I gathered up my books and started out the door to meet Mrs. Weaver. I looked down the hallway and saw my Dad standing outside the principal’s office. He greeted me with “What took so long Dot—we’re gonna be late to see the doctor!” Picking up my pace, I started down the stairs that led to the outside of the school-house. There sat our junky looking brown car and my Mom inside. She was watching for us, and opened the door and raised the seat for me to get in. “We’re gonna’ be late Joe, what took her so long?” He pulled away quickly from the curb and we were on our way to the doctor. My back hurt really bad and Mom said I had a fever again.
The nurse made me pee in a cup and give it to her. I was really afraid of the doctor. He was a big man with almost all gray hair and a little bit of black. He wore really thick glasses that made him look like he had bug eyes. Every time he’d go to touch me—he’d hesitate and say, “Now Victoria, it’s alright—I’m not going to hurt you.” He did have a very gentle touch, but sometimes he looked at places that made me feel really funny and my face got really red and I just wanted to get away—so bad. He finally said, “Well, Victoria, you have a little bit of a kidney infection again. What is it with you and these kidney infections?” He looked at Mom and Dad, “You know if she continues getting these infections, we may need her to see a specialist.” My Dad immediately said, “We can’t afford a specialist.” Well, for now, I am going to prescribe another antibiotic and Mom you give her some aspirin for the fever. She should be feeling better in a few days. He looked at me and said, “Good-bye Victoria.”
Boy, was I glad to get out of there and I didn’t have to get a shot either. We climbed into the car and my Dad said, “A specialist—shit, what’s wrong with him; we don’t have that kind of money.” My Mom looked at him—what do you think this prescription will cost Joe?”
“I don’t know, do you think she really needs it?”
“Well, he said she has another kidney infection—I suppose we’re going to have to get it filled.”
As we drove, I looked out the window at the leaves and wondered why they turned colors like that. In the front seat, my Dad was saying to Mom, while you get the prescription filled and get some grub–I’ll go have a beer.
“Oh Joe, no—why can’t you just go with me.”
“Now damn it, Mara, I’m only going to have one beer and I’ll be over there to get you.” I went with Mom into the drug store to get my prescription filled. She handed me the paper and said, “Go give it to the guy in the back behind the counter.” As I handed the man in the white coat the piece of paper, I never looked up at him—I stared down at my feet. He said, “It’ll be a few minutes.” It was finally ready and we left and went to Kroger’s. I was excited. It was always exciting to go to the grocery store. If I was really good, Mom would buy something special; maybe she would buy some cookies or Pepsi. There was a bakery right next door, and sometimes—not too often, though; we’d get mad dogs. They were so good! When she bought special things like that, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings all excited, and then I’d remember why I was excited—we had mad dogs and Pepsi.
She wasn’t in a very good mood and probably my medicine cost too much. We probably wouldn’t get Pepsi and for sure not mad dogs. She was in a hurry going through the store and we stood in line forever to check out. We did get a pack of chocolate, marshmallow cookies. I didn’t like them very well, but Mom did. They were those big cookies with only like eight in a pack. They had a cookie bottom and then a bunch of marshmallow stuff and then they were covered in chocolate. Oh well.
We walked outside the store and began looking for Dad. I already knew he wouldn’t be there in the parking lot. We stood for a long time waiting. Finally, she left the buggy and we started across the parking lot. There were bars across the street from Kroger’s and she was looking for the car. Yep, there it was in front of one of the several bars. As we headed back to the buggy, a loud clap of thunder roared and lightening lit up the sky. I looked up and the sky was so black and the wind immediately started blowing. Brown leaves were blowing up against my bare legs as they tumbled in little whirlwinds across the parking lot. The wind blew my long, mousy brown hair all over my head and I could feel light, icy rain hit me in the face. A chill went clear through me and I began to feel even worse. We made it back to the buggy just as the rain really starting coming down. We were both getting wet. We backed up farther until our backs were against the brick wall and my feet were hurting from standing so long. I was trembling from the cold, wet rain and it made my back hurt even more. Looking up at my Mom, I said, “He’ll be here soon.” She just looked at me with a blank expression on her face—like she was looking through me. He finally pulled up and when I saw his face I knew he was drunk again, and Mom was really mad. He got out of the car and started to walk around the back and fell into the back of it. She went to the back of the car and took the keys out of his hand and opened the trunk. He said, “I suppose you’re all pissed off now that I stopped and had a beer—well, you can just kiss my ass!”
“Joe, just help me get the groceries in the damn car.” He turned and glared at me, and screamed, “Dottie! “Get in the car.” I got in as fast as I could. The car was much warmer than it was standing outside, and it felt good to sit down. I really didn’t feel very good at all now. They both climbed into the car and he pulled out and almost hit another car. Mom screamed, “Watch what the hell you’re doing Joe—damn it, your drunk as hell.” My insides had already been shaking and it was getting worse and I just wanted to be home in bed with Crystal.
We started down the highway and another loud clap of thunder; followed by a streak of lightening and the rain was blowing across the highway. It was hard to see the white lines on the road and Dad was driving pretty fast. My fear was growing worse by the minute and their arguing was getting bad. “Joe, watch out—you went across the damn line—we could have just been killed. Stop this car and let me and the baby out.” He ignored her and his head dropped forward a little and then to one side. She screamed again, but this time, there was such fear in her voice; pleading with him to stop and let us out. On the edge of the seat, I was trying to see and wiping tears from my eyes—it was hard to see anything. Another shriek, “god-damn it Joe—you’re going to pass out and kill us all.” I began praying, “Oh God, please help us—I’m afraid to wreck and die.” Please God, please make him stop the car. Another outburst came from my Mom. This time, her tone was very mean and she said, “I said to stop this god-damn car now and let me and this baby out!” Much to my surprise, he started slowing down and pulling off the road. He pulled into Cole’s restaurant. It was closed now. We had been in there once before and Mom ordered this meat sandwich with gravy and mashed potatoes for me—it was so good. The car came to a stop. She opened the door and raised the seat for me to get out—I jumped out immediately and grabbed for her hand. It was pouring the rain down really, really hard and lightening was still lighting up everything every couple of minutes. We didn’t have an umbrella. She slammed the car door and he pulled out really fast and away he went leaving us standing in the dark, in the pouring down rain.
I didn’t know how far we were from home, but I knew it was too far to walk. I said, “Mom, how are we going to get home and do you think Dad is going to be alright?” She pulled on me and we stepped out onto the highway. She said, “We’re going to walk home.” I didn’t argue and she added, “maybe someone will pick us up.” That really scared me—who would pick us up? What would they do to us? Why would she want someone to stop and pick us up? Cars were flying by us and blowing, even more, rain on us. I was soaked clear through and freezing and water was sloshing up out of my shoes. I was so cold and my back hurt so bad. I was crying, but I couldn’t let my Mom know it. A big tractor and trailer went zooming by us and it scared me to death! They were so big and I thought for sure we were going to die. That one drenched us good and I felt cinders hitting my face, arms, and legs as he passed by. I was horrified we were going to be ran over, and there was so little room at the edge of the road to walk. I heard another tractor and trailer coming—I was always so afraid of them. Oh no, he’s slowing down and his lights were flashing all over the truck—he’s stopping! I could barely breathe I was so afraid, and my Mom said firmly to me, “Now, you get in and sit next to him—I’m not.” We were walking up along the side of the huge truck and she was going to get in! “Mom, let’s just walk home-okay?” The door on the truck was opening and I heard a man yell, “Ya’ got to step real high there little missy. Hurry up and get the hell outta’ that rain.” Mom already had a hold of me and was pushing me up into this big truck! The man was reaching for me and I was scared to death of him. He was so big and fat and he didn’t smell very good either. He didn’t have any hair—just a little bit on the sides. It was a comfort to feel my Mom climbing in behind me. But, I was shaking like a leaf—I didn’t even notice how cold I was, or how bad my back hurt anymore. I could hardly breathe. The man was asking Mom, “What was a good-looking woman and a baby doing out walkin’ in a hell of a storm like this; on such a bad, damn highway.” He continued, “Ya’ know I almost didn’t see ya’ there at the edge—I could have run you over.” Mom told the man she felt safer on the highway than with the drunk she’d been riding with.
There were so many lights and gauges and pedals and something that looked like a phone cord dangling down in front of me. The man reached over and picked it up and started talking into it. He said, “Boy, you should see the two beauties I just picked up walking in this storm.” There was lots of hissing and buzzing, and I could barely make out what the other man was saying—something about maybe a beaver. I reached over for my Mom’s hand as I tried to scoot closer to her, but she shoved it away. She said, “If you just pull over in that stores’ parking lot up ahead, we can walk the rest of the way. We only live a couple of houses down from there.” I just knew he wasn’t going to pull over. I started praying, please dear Lord, don’t let this man take us. Please don’t let him take us—make him stop. I was real surprised as he starting slowing down and looking in all his mirrors, and much to my sheer delight—he pulled off in the parking lot. My Mom told him she was really glad he stopped and picked us up. As I was frantically scrambling across the seat—I said, “Yeah Mister thanks!” I jumped out of the truck—and boy did my feet sting when I hit the ground. It made my back hurt so bad and I was a little dizzy, but boy was I happy to be out of his truck. I prayed again, thank you God, thank you!
As I caught up to my Mom, I think she might have been crying and she was really mad. She said, “Jesus christ! That dirty rotten son-of-a-bitch—what he doesn’t do to me.” She opened the door, and I was never so glad to be home. As she walked through the living room she said, “Go get your bath and get into bed.” I went as fast as I could and washed really good, so she wouldn’t be mad at me and ran and jumped into bed. It was really cold without Crystal to keep me warm. She and Darcie were spending the night at our Aunts’ house. I really missed her and wanted to tell her what had happened. I don’t know what happened to my medicine and didn’t care. I was finally home in my bed.
The next morning was Saturday, and Crystal and Darcie were home early. We all went out into the yard to play as we were told. There had been no signs of my Dad, and I looked in the driveway for his car—it wasn’t there. I was telling Crystal and Darcie what had happened with the big truck, and all of a sudden Darcie gasped and screamed, “Look!” It was a big, yellow, tow truck and it was dragging my Dad’s car—it was all smashed up and it looked scary. We all went running into the house. My aunt and uncle were still there, but it didn’t seem to matter—Darcie blurted out loudly what we had seen. Questions were flying—are you sure it was his car? They all looked scared too. My uncle said to my Mom, “Mara, if he had been hurt the hospital would have called you.” About that time, we heard the front door open and in walked my Dad. He looked sick.
My aunt and uncle made a quick exit; as did the three of us. We ran up to our rooms and could hear them screaming at each other. He told her that he went to pull off at a bar down the road and a semi run up his ass! That it wasn’t his god damn fault and to quit screaming at him. The cop gave him a ticket for being drunk and something else. Mom was still screaming about the car and about the groceries and what were they going to do without a car. He yelled back at her and said, “Mara, why don’t you just shut the hell up and leave me alone—can’t you tell I’m sick!”