My Memory Monday – Rumors

I know it’s not Monday but I was really busy yesterday. So, for this week we will pretend that it is Monday.
*Disclaimer: This contains some harsh language and is violent.*
I grew up in Southeast Alabama. I was there in a time that racism was rampant. I can remember a lot of things that I didn’t understand at the time and still don’t but for different reasons. I still can’t quite decide if my mom was prejudice or if she was just following along with Gary. I say that because of what I’m about to tell you and because I clearly remember her having black friends.
When I started high school interracial relationships were just getting started. It was still taboo for the most part. I had a close friend named Kim. She started dating a black boy and was very open with it. He had a twin brother. So from time to time when Kim was near her boyfriend, the twin and I were around. He had a girlfriend but that was overlooked and rumors started to fly about me and the twin. For the most part, I ignored it and that was my downfall.
One weekend I spent the night with Kim. As soon as her parents fell asleep we went out a window. Her boyfriend and his cousin picked us up down the road and we headed off to the cousin’s house. Kim and her man went to another room to do their thing while the cousin and I sat in the living room and got drunk and watch football. For once in my life I was completely innocent of any wrong doing, except the whole sneaking out thing.
When we finally headed back to her house the guys drove past the house and it was all dark and quiet. They let us out a block or so away. We were almost to her house and I looked up and saw all the lights on in the house. I froze and Kim asked what was wrong and I pointed to the lights. We slowly started making our way up the sidewalk to their house. Her dad popped up out of the bushes and said “Did you girls have fun?” I think it was that point that we both shit ourselves.
Once he escorted us into the house, the yelling and such began. Not so much at me but at Kim who had hickeys all over her neck. Apparently they had been awake since we left because on of her dogs started barking as we went out the window and that started the other four or five dogs in their house. Her parents told me that they weren’t going to tell my parents about it but I wasn’t allowed to come back to stay for a little while. For some reason I felt awful that my parents weren’t going to know and she was taking the wrap for the whole thing, even though I really didn’t do anything but sneak out.
Fast forward a couple weeks.
I got home from school and my aunt and uncle were there. My parents and them were going somewhere. They said good-bye and they left, or so I thought. I grabbed the phone to call someone and my mom came into the living room and took the phone out of my hand and hit me in the head with it. She told me to get my ass out to the truck and get in the back. (It was November and the start of Thanksgiving break.) She handed me a sheet and told me to try and stay warm. I had no clue what was going on but a couple miles from the house the back sliding glass was opened and Mom and Gary started a steady chorus of “Look Jennifer! There’s a nigger, do you want him too?” They would pop me in the back of the head as they said it. We rode around like that for about 2 hours. It was damn cold and miserable.
My only thoughts were Kim’s parents had called mine and told them about that night. After the ride was over my uncle took me aside and told me what was really going on. He had been out in his yard and the kids across the street were also outside talking loudly. They started talking about Kim and her boyfriend and me and his brother. My uncle started asking questions and instead of asking for any proof he just took their word for it. I kept telling them it was a lie and that he had a girlfriend that wasn’t me but they didn’t want to hear it. What those kids said had to be the truth.
My aunt and uncle left and the real shit started. My brother and I went down to the wood pile to bring some wood to the house. I was stacking a piece in the back of the truck when my mom suddenly showed up and punched me right in the face which knocked me to the ground. She started grinding my face into the dirt and told me that no child of hers would ever date a nigger. I was screaming and yelling for help as she beat the shit out of me but I guess none of the neighbors were home. She finally let me up and told me to get the wood to the house.
After I got in the house Gary told me to start cleaning everything out of my room; notes, diary, posters, and all the other things that could be burnt. I was to take them and throw them in the wood heater and burn them all. He matched me step for step kicking me as I walked. Mom stood in the kitchen which was halfway between the stove and my bedroom. As I walked by each time she punched me in the mouth. At some point her fist must have hit my tooth because she started yelling that I bit her. I was standing by my closet when Gary grabbed me around my throat and pushed me up against the closet wall. He was up in my face screaming at me for biting my mother and for having a nigger boyfriend. I started yelling I can’t breathe and he said “You can breathe just fine or you wouldn’t be able to yell like that!”
When they finally let me go and everything was burnt, I curled up between my bed and the wall. Mom came in and started trying to get to me again. This time Gary stopped her and got her out of my room. He started talking to me and I told him to ask around and to ask Kim and her parents they would back me up that I wasn’t dating anyone. He agreed and we loaded up in the truck again and made the 10 mile trip to Kim’s house. Her parents talked to mine for a long time and confirmed what they knew about me and also about the night we took off.
Our parents agreed that we were no longer to be friends and couldn’t talk to each other or anything anymore. It was actually ok with me because I was tired of dealing with her for other reasons then choice of boyfriends. When we left their house I got to ride in the front of the truck. I went straight to bed when we got there.
A few weeks later I made my first attempt at suicide. Shortly after I met the man that would become my dad in every sense of the word and save my life.

Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 5:39 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. People doing shit like this to their kids really puts me in a rage.
    It breaks my heart that they would not believe you, and that no one came to help that poor girl being beaten in the yard.
    Just know, that had I been your neighbor at that time, I would likely have picked up a chunk of stove wood and taken after Gary and your mom.

  2. Thank you for that!
    Bad thing is, the neighbor that didn’t help me ended up marrying Gary a couple weeks after him and mom divorced. After years of putting up with his shit she divorced him. From what I have heard and I do believe he beat the hell out of her for her troubles.

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