After his first “visit” (which easily lasted two weeks long), I notice that he left black garbage bags and CDs in our living room. I ask my mom about it but she doesn’t answer my questions. The answer comes when I see a website about a marriage license left on the computer. They are married and we are doomed. Turns out his garbage bags are filled with his worldly possessions. He has no car, no license, and his electrician jobs ebb more than flow. He drinks every. single. day. “Women aren’t good for anything but having periods and laying on their backs” he said to a thirteen year old me. My previously open-minded Mom becomes more disconnected from reality as she lets The Drunkard drive her car, get into accidents, and rack up tickets. She allows him to dehumanize her gay brother and his partner as being “unnatural”, call my sister and I bitches, and convince her to become a Jehovah’s Witness. The irony is that he can’t even get baptized as his lifestyle does not align with Witness scripture. She does it anyways.
I have never felt so worthless in my life. How will I learn to love the young woman that I am becoming when my mother is always making underhanded comments about my appearance/behavior and allowing other people to do the same? Maybe I shouldn’t expect much. After all, she doesn’t even love herself.
Now that he is in our lives, he wants to move us into a house where we can be a family. Initially she says that we are going to move to Salt Lake City, Utah. I tell her I won’t go anywhere with that man and she tells me that she will beat me for talking to her that way. As usual the violence continues. He beats her because he is the “king of his domain” and the “captain of our ship” while she beats me for insubordination especially when he tells her to. He calls her his queen and he is her king. I tell myself that if a man ever calls me ‘his queen’ I will run as fast as I can.
I have no time for meaningless titles, shared addresses, and split visions on life. Husband, wife, mother, and father. What have they ever meant to me but disappointment? I refuse to live a life filled with disappointment.
Fast forward a few months and Mom gets rid of Xsu Xsa, the dog who hates him. We move into a rental house a week after she mentions it to me and their relationship continues to deteriorate. They fight all the time about any and everything which sends Mom’s Lupus into overdrive. School really is my only escape and that’s not saying much because I hate high school. I’m a smart, awkward Black girl trying to juggle depression and low self-esteem which would be tolerable if I was a ‘normal’ teenager. But I’m not. One evening I awaken to the sound of our car pulling up in driveway. As usual my heart races and my head pounds as I try to mentally prepare for another night of drunken hell. He stumbles in the house and hears Emperor barking in my room. He angrily opens the door and starts yelling. I yell back at him. At that point he lunges to attack me and my dog growls to warn him that he will defend me. This only makes him angrier so he tries to strangle Emperor. Just as he is about to throw a blow to my head my mom frantically runs down the stairs and tries to talk him down from his drunken rage.
They go upstairs to their room and the argument continues. However, this evening it is particularly awful as it sounds like he is about to push her over the banister. I call my sister who lives nearby to come and get me because I am sure that this ‘is it’. Tonight he’s going to kill her. I just know it. She arrives and we argue. Before we know it, he has pushed both me and my sister down a flight of stairs. When the police arrive she lies and says that “he helped us down the stairs”. As usual, the police don’t do much but my sister decides she is officially done with my mother and all of her drama.
I can tell it is a turning point in their relationship. Heck, it’s a turning point in ours. My mother has clearly chosen the path of darkness and she’s too far gone to save her anymore. The best we can do is to save ourselves.