It wasn’t the first time I’d been in the back of a cop car. Come to find out though, it would be the last time happening under the care of my mother, unaffectionately known as “the incubator”.
2 hours after seemingly loosing my left ankle to the hop scotch Gods, she did it again. This time more than others, I felt uneasy; like everyone she talked to knew what she secretly wanted out of this visit. Of all the emergency rooms we routinely visited, this one always smelled the worst. I searched the floral printed chairs for an open spot and mentally settled in for the 3 hour wait before seeing a doctor. After finding a seat, I couldn’t help but wonder if the stench I was smelling had been coming from the dying population in the room or from my crusty, mismatched socks that hadn’t been washed in 3 weeks.
“She broke her ankle, she’s got a terrible cough too” Said my mom to the nurse. The second part of that statement stung like every time before, but usually she warned me when she wanted me to lie to get her high. Almost as if I didn’t even need the cue, I coughed hysterically.
Cough syrup with codeine was another one of her vices, paired with an opioid and she’d have herself a little soirée. And by soirée I mean a 2-3 day binge nap while me and my brothers rummaged through the cupboards trying to find anything we could put some ketchup on.
I had played this routine many times before, but this time felt different. The doctors face is what made me feel uneasy, his poker face was one of the weaker ones I’ve seen. I’ve always paid close attention to the actions and reactions of the people around me and this guy was putting off some seriously questionable vibes. After a few x-rays and determining my ankle was in fact sprained and not broken, he left and a nurse came in to wrap it up. She too looked uneasy, talked slow and took an exceptionally long time to wrap me up.
After she had redone the bandage what felt to be at least a dozen times, I was wheeled out to the waiting room where my mom finished up some paperwork.
Like the snap back of a slingshot, my stomach dropped. All the anxiety and fear I obtained from multiple visits to the hospital, lying to doctors and what felt like hundreds of bottles of cough syrup stolen from actual sick people, flooded my body. My eyes fixed themselves on the suited woman and uniformed police officer standing on the other side of the rotating hospital doors. Although I’d only seen it in movies or heard it in stories, I knew exactly what was happening. We were caught! We were going to jail for lying! My initial thought was hopeful that we’d be in the same cell.
At this point in my life I was on the same playing field as her. I not only enabled her lies, theft and deception but I was also her enforcer of lies (not to be confused with BELIEVER of lies) co-thief and one of the best child manipulators of my time. As a child I recognized these traits without knowing the full extent of the words behind them and obviously the consequences that came with. I just wanted what I’d imagine every 10-year-old girl that age wanted; the approval, love and acceptance from my mommy. She was one of the most deceptive disgusting humans I’d known and I loved her.
I’m not sure what was said after exiting the hospital. It was kind of like one of those moments in movies that someone walks through a door and are blinded by the light and everything slowly comes back into focus and they’re the only one standing in the doorway and they’re whole life is about to be changed by this huge magnificent event in time.
The last thing I remember before watching my mother cry hysterically through the back window of my now social workers car was wondering how I was gonna run from wherever I was going with 2 crutches and a sprained ankle.
Poof. I was in the back of a cop car; alone. Poof, I was moved to the suited social workers car; alone. Poof, I was in a conference room at the local DHS office waiting for placement; alone.
POOF, I was laying on “Grandma K’s” couch, roaches scurrying across the coffee table and spider webs moving in the corner from fans circulating the accompanied stench. fogginess had taken over and numbness was setting in. Tomorrow was the day. My 1st day back to school since being ripped from my mother’s arms, and one of the only chances I’d have to make a run for it.