I could hear the kids outside whispering in disbelief at my behavior. Most were judging I’m sure; she’s crazy! She needs meds! They should call the police! I actually hoped 911 would be called, maybe they would take me to a cell somewhere free of the demon possessed girl still lying in her bed across from me. Alas, no cops were called and after deep consideration, realizing that I didn’t want to be strapped to a bed somewhere the screaming stopped too.
I thought for sure I was going to be left alone with Keesha again but a light was shining in the midst of my terror. I was almost perfect at remembering faces, and pretty good with names if I tried hard enough. I do not remember meeting this girl during introductions or touring the facility when I had arrived earlier that day. Lack of recognition had me fascinated by the angel that was sent to rescue me that night.
She was older, maybe 16 or 17 with soft brown skin and big brown eyes. As the staff stood to their feet deciding what should be done with me the girl poked her head through the door and said “Can we just switch rooms?”
My heart filled with excitement and relief as the staff contemplated for a moment. Within 30 minutes my things were moved from Keesha’s room and into a smaller one with only one bed. Not only did this girl give up her room for me but she gave up her privacy and what, in my mind, would be sanctuary from the eye gouging, soul sucking antichrist from across the hall.
Hours felt like days and days felt like weeks during my time at Quakerdale. When my dad finally showed up, accompanied by an aunt and uncle to get me from this prison, I was completely drained. The last thing I remember before arriving at my grandmas house was my dad opening the door to my aunt and uncles van, tears streaming down his face and a metaphorical light encasing his figure. I could have bet my life in that moment that the facility was truly haunted by demons and God had just sent another warrior who saved me from my first experience with hell on earth.
I was the happiest I’d been since being old enough to say it. Everything was falling into place. The judge assigned to our case decided that my dad could keep us, on one condition; He was no longer allowed to be with our mother. My destain for her was growing by the day, and beings my dad was the only one who I really wanted to be with anyway, I was happy with her decision.
Daydreams got me through most of my years. The thing about daydreams is you get to control the outcome and in a world where outcomes seemed to be decided for me, it was a release I welcomed. I’d “dream” about successes, failures that miraculously turned into successes and really anything that would bring me some kind of relief and hope. My favorite pass-time outside my Brother and I’s adventures walking the sandbanks of 4-mile creek was to daydream about possibilities. When thinking of my future; I was happy, knowing that one day me and my brothers would live in a house by ourselves with our dad free of the manipulation my mom knew so well.
In every “dream” I would cook dinner for my brothers and wash dishes under a window in a kitchen that was clean and a fridge that was stocked. My brothers would come home from school and I would help them with their homework like I had always done before. We would have electricity and water every day of the month and our floors would be free of soiled clothing and animal feces.
I remember little from my early childhood but the cluttered rooms with dirty clothing layered with trash on broken furniture and mounds of feces atop it all is one I’ll never have the privilege of forgetting. We had 2 cats at the time, one of which my dad “affectionately” named “shitty kitty”. The cat lived up to his name by releasing his bowels wherever he’d see fit. My brothers and I, too young at the time to know any better would frolic about playing basketball with folded up crusty socks, dunking them into plastic milk crates with the bottoms cut out as my mother lay passed out somewhere in the house and my dad somewhere standing on a scaffold. That is, if the master manipulator hadn’t convinced him to stay home that day. With mom out of the picture, I was for sure I could be everything she wasn’t and my daydreams confirmed it to be true.
After a couple weeks of walking to school hand in hand and lying in a group with my dad and Brother on my grandmas double wide living room floor, I was observing what I’d thought was my day dream come to life, deteriorate. Although I was beginning to construct a life in my mind free of my mom, I was not naive to the love my dad still held for her. After all the years of her coming before us I paid little attention the past few weeks to the toll it was taking on him. I felt selfish in that way.
One night I woke up to my dad crying on the floor next to me. When I asked what was wrong he started to dismiss me but instead voiced the heartbreak I knew was consuming him. He went on to say that my mom had showed up at his work that day, she begged him to come back to her. Grandma would later describe the encounter as our mom “showing up and waving her pussy in his face”.
My heart sank as I heard his words, selfishly not because his was breaking but because I sensed what was coming at the end of his dialogue. The question that would change my daydreams in to nightmares. Tears still streaming and will power seemingly absent he asked “what do you think Sara? Should I go back?”
I felt fully aware of the weight of this decision at the time and after weeks of casting his heartbreak aside in the light of the my own happiness, I granted the permission he was seeking. The next day, when we woke up; my dad was gone and what was once a repairing heart broke into a million pieces, again.
Little did I know, it’d be the only decision in the coming years that I felt I could have had the power to save his life. If only I’d said “no” instead.