Chapter 2 – From The Books of Mark

chapter-2-banner I’m not exactly sure when my dad moved back in but it was all as if nothing happened. Maybe they didn’t think that we were aware or old enough to know or remember. My sister, Lauren, doesn’t really remember much of this part so I guess it is feasible that our parents would suspect that I too was not going to remember. Our favorite thing to do was play Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Master System. We would ride bikes through the neighborhood.

There weren’t a lot of kids on our street. The Middle Eastern family next door had a son who was my age and there was a red headed kid who lived across the street. He was a couple years older than I. My dad’s side of the family had always been really close. At one point my cousin came to live with us and her daughter was born there. My other cousin also told me that he stayed with us a little while but I don’t remember that. My Uncle Wendell came to stay with us also. He was my mom’s brother. My mom’s side of the family has a lot of issues. Wendell had the most that were visible. Definite drinking and anger issues. He and his wife Rhonda were fighting. They are divorced now. This wouldn’t be the first time he would stay with us because she put him out. She kept taking him back though. Guess that ran in the family.

We wanted for nothing. Lots of laughter. I remember us playing  together with the Cabbage Patch kids. At the time I collected Garbage Pail Kids cards and baseball cards. I remember one day my sister and I playing tag inside the house. When I went to tag her she hit her head right in the corner of the wall. She had to get stitches later.

My mom found a church she really really liked called the Columbia Church of Christ. The people were great, I had lots of friends. It was an interracial church. Looking back in the early 80’s in the south this was not common. I remember being really upset one Sunday because I had taken my entire Trapper keeper full of baseball cards to church and someone stole them. I would never collect baseball cards again.

School was going ok. Even at a young age I was already being teased for being gay. I remember coming home and crying because the kids would call me gay on the playground. I think my mom told me that gay meant happy. I believed her even though I was confused why it also meant that no one wanted to play with me and they laughed as they said it. This was also the time that I began to be self-conscious of how dark I was.

The kids would  say all sorts of things. I guess it made since I was the only black kid in my class. I stayed to myself a lot. It was ok because I had my mom and my sister and school didn’t last that long. I’m not sure why but even from a young age I was always over protective of my sister and my mom. Even at a young I remember being over protective of my sister and my mom.

There was this kid in class and he kept saying “your momma” I’m not sure why that was so offensive. Maybe it was because I had had enough of the kids picking on me in general. He sat behind me and kept saying it, “your momma.” That couldn’t have been all that he said but that’s all I can remember. I grabbed him by the sides of his head and pounded his head into the wall behind him. I remember saying to stop talking about my mom. He was fine.

I was sent the principal’s office where I was paddled. When my mom got to school I got a good spanking for fighting. When my dad came home we had a talk. He said that it was not right to hit someone but if you are protecting your sister then you do what you need to do.

I’m not sure which came first being touched or playing with the neighbor from the Middle East. I think it started in 2nd grade though. Everyone assumed it was harmless. We were the same age and we were caught touching each other. That was it. It happened more than once. Then there was Anna’s husband Robert. Anna was my mom’s grandmother. Anna raised my mom because my mom’s mother, Jessie,and  my granddad Chris were young. This became a pattern for Jessie…having children, not getting married and dumping them off on someone else. I’m not sure how it started. We went to Charleston as a family to go see Anna and her boyfriend at the time. They lived together for years before they got married. Every time we went something happened. Every time it happened I never said anything. He paid attention to me, I needed someone to pay attention to me. I never said anything even when I was asked if there was anything going on I lied and said no. This would go on until I turned 15.

One of the biggest fights I remember between my mom and dad is where he broke her jaw. He pushed her down the steps of the house. I can’t remember which cousin was there but someone was…thank god they were. I didn’t see it. I heard the arguing and screaming. I remember seeing blood then everything after that is gone. I don’t remember seeing her swollen or going to stay with someone else, the police or an ambulance being called…nothing. Maybe I saw more than I care to remember. My dad moved out again.

It was about this time that I started having this recurring dream, I’m in a room tied to a chair completely naked. There are 2 men on either side of me who are also naked. Before anything happens I wake up…

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