One of my earliest memories is of my mother stabbing my father. It was not the first time I had witnessed violence between them but it is the most vivid memory of violence between my bio parents that I have at the moment. I was sitting at 30°23’01.2″N+81°24’23.7″W to be exact. To be broad we will say it was northwest of the curve of Edson Ave on the Mayport Naval Base. Why so many details? Because I am 34 writing this and I want to make sure that everyone involved knows that I remember a lot more details than they would like. After writing this some folks will be angry at me and will claim that I am lying. I like to be thorough with accounts of happenings.
My father, Steve, had run off with my mothers check. We presume he went to Miami for a month long from his family, from reality maybe both. He returned thirty days later for more money. My mother, Jackie, had to borrow money from her fellow sailors. They had chipped in more than her check. When Steve returned, Jackie stood between him and the money. The faced off in the hall way. The hall way had two doors in the middle. I was in the living room and could see them in the hall between these two doorways. I was watching television trying to not pay attention to what was going on. I looked over too see my mother standing there with a chef knife. Then Steve started moving towards her but Jackie was quick. Her hair was still black and curly then and she kept it in a ponytail. It seemed as though her hair had not even moved. I did not know what to do. I cannot recall much more than seeing Steve hold his side and my mother standing there.
My next memory is my mother and I get into a police van. Jackie was handcuffed and I stayed with her all the way to MP station.
The next day a partly bald man with a little bit of gray on his tight curls drove me to foster care.
Foster care was weird and I think they were TV ministers, we made “Indian vest” out of paper bags and I lured how to make trikes with my hand on paper.
I had no sense of time so it was very upsetting how every day was not a complete week.
Steve and Jackie got back together, and the kept fighting and I kept getting in the middle of it because it was important to protect Jackie for some reason. Dad was bad and Mom was good.
Mom as a Sailor and dad was a Criminal
My father hurt me more than once but I thought it was all part of him training me to fight.
It was not till I was nine that Jackie decided to put some real distance between us and Steve.
I lived with my grandmother and Jackie was out working on finding a job. She eventually lands one. Shortly after she also lands a new man. We will call him Miguel Yovovich. My brain thought of him as fat Will Smith. It was not an insult but an observation. I would not really embrace body shaming for another year or two.
Jackie told me how great my new life would be. She knew I liked playing outside so she told me about the country and the lizards and all the stuff you tell a little kid to get them pumped about moving to a new nation.
Jackie would ditch me for days at a time to hang out with Miguel. He brought me a stuffed bear. I could tell they had dinner at Pizza Hut because the bare was part of some Valentine’s Day promo. It was white and fluffy and not my type. I knew he was trying to make good and be nice but I knew it was not for me.
A few months later and I am living in a box on the 13th floor. I went from a school where I was screamed at every day to where I was paddled with my mother’s consent every day. Sometimes she would do the paddling but was too busy working so usually it was Mr. White or Pastor. Danial’s. The school was called Cavalry Baptists Christian School. I would get infractions for not having homework. Only one person ever had time or interest in helping with my homework and that was Anouska. Anouska was Miguel’s sister. She was not too bad and her mother, Fanny, actually seemed to like me. They made an effort to be nice.
I am in the little box that I can to leave. I am in the three for hours alone. The Television has limited hold, I must play outside. There bars outside the door and I do not have a way to get out if there was a fire. So I start throwing things out the window to see how they fall. I make parachutes out of bags and toss things out. I start playing with fire and setting them out the window to fall. I get spanked and screed at then put into stress positions. Downward dog or leaning against a wall or standing on my knees facing the wall.
Miguel tries to scare me by ripping a piece of paper behind me. He is trying to trick me into think9ing it is my Christmas list. I knew that the kind of paper I wrote my list on does not make the same sound as the paper he ripped. HE ask me if I thought it was my Christmas list. I lie and say yes because no matter what I am told, the truth does not set me free, the truth does not get me into less trouble. These are tricks because I am not believed or the truth does not matter. I am 10 and I already do not believe in Christmas. It does not matter to me because I am going to hell. Every Friday at school is church service for the first half of the day. Every day I beg for Christ to come into my heart and save me. I am told that one feels the sprite of Christ when they have successfully accepted him as theory savior. I never felt anything new.
I was a bad child, I was my Steve’s kid, I was Jackie’s responsibility, and I was going to hell.
Jackie and Miguel get married, I try to call him dad but it sounds and feels weird. I try to abandon my old identity. My mother is surprised at my constant search and abandonment of identity when the ones she has offered me are fake or damning. I am half Filipino and Having Puerto Rican. She describes Filipino as help Spanish and half Japanese. Sometimes Jackie is black but that changes after the divorce.
Steve dies of a heart attack. I am 11 and given a choice. I chose not to go to the funeral. I cry all night that night. I never talk about it for a few years until I go to a great grand aunt’s funeral from his side of the family. His causing comes up to me and tells me about his final month alive and how he was a good man. I feel too small and powerless to correct him and tell him what I knew of Steve. I felt it was not place that the only victim of abuse was Jackie. She stood by me and heard the whole thing. We never really talked about it. I just told her I did not like that I traction while we were in the car.
My mom is pregnant and I am excited about having a little brother. I am twelve when he is born and had been his biggest fan since I saw him as a sonogram.
Miguel brings an overman pincher named Butch to the house. The dog is as almost as tall as me and I am not strong enough to walk him. It is my job to shovel the shit off the hot concrete back yard every so often. No one ever played with Butch.
I am stilled called Chino because hormones have not changed my face and hair yet. People think I look and act too much like a girl. That may explain the fights.
After years of threats and intimidation on his part, Miguel and I get in a fight. He is verbally abusing Jackie and that I could not abide. I call him out and shove him. He is drunk, angry and he can kill me. I soon have him on the ground. My mother comes out crying as I attempt to shove my hand down his throat. He is struggling and the tea are in the way but I am making slow progress.
My mother is crying and begin me not to make her chose. I let Miguel know. He and I never talk about it but Jackie briefly mentions how that could be considered domestic violence. It is the last time I ever stand up for her.
Jackie and I go back and forth for a few years. She and Miguel starts drinking more and get meaner. I have to spend more time hidden in my room because I do not have anywhere to go and I am not welcomed in the house. She calls me a stranger. I use the phone to call sex hotlines because I am lonely, and Horney and do not know where to put that energy. It cost them money, lots of money.
I am an embarrassment and Miguel offers to pay for a prostitute. He keeps probing to see if I am gay. More than once he says “Un Pate al Nao no Hake Dane”. He is cheating on mom already but does not know that I know.
Everything is gods will and Jackie has never sabotaged me.
I get in trouble for my mind wandering in church.
Turns out half the people at church were thieves and rapist.
Jackie and I never talk about it.
Jackie and I talk about the past and she cries and apologizes and is shocked by how much I remember.
Years go by and I am a disappointment.
Miguel divorces Jackie, Miguel was starting a new family in Colombia. My brother and sisters life get flipped upside down.
I am not doing great but I do the best I can to help.
I cannot do much.
I move in.
Jackie offers to help me get back to school.
Miguel won’t pay child support. He gets a $70,000 severance right before the divorce that he tries to hide.
Jackie is trying to have a second adolescence, she wants to be a trophy wife and have someone maintain her for once.
I become her designated driver and instantly regret it.
I nearly drive the car into a wall to get her to stop harassing me while I drive.
The kids need food.
Jackie gets a new dog instead and a boyfriend.
Alberto is a psychologist.
The dog dies. Jackie gets another dog.
The kids need food so I kill the dog.
It was easy. My siblings seemed relieved.
Jackie and I get into an argument about chores. I grab her hands and beet myself with her fist. I tell her to just break me and kill me because she has already broken me inside. She calls the cops before I can kill another ottoman.
I never felt freer than that moment.
A month later she accuses me of stealing her jewelry.
Everyone knows she is lying. Grandma, my aunt my siblings all know I did not do it. I dare say they like me more than they like her.
My mother thinks it was either Albert or it was me or it was both of us.
My mother was abandoned by her father and was never single till just a few years ago. Alberto cheated on her always and he faked his papers. He was never a degreed psychologist.
I would not piss on my mother to save her life and I have no guilt about that. I tried, I really tried but she chose strange men, status and dick over me. She has a lot of her own trauma but cannot be held accountable. No need to help someone out to destroy you.