My mother wrote my sister and me this note on an old typewriter–the note was supposed to make us feel better:
TO MY DEAREST GIRLS:
I wish you could know just how much I love you guys. You are the apple of my eyes. I hope someday that you can forgive me of all the things that I have done to you. I have tried my best to do the right things. But things have a way of happening for the worse and best. I love you both very much. Someday you will have children of your own and will understand this. Please be careful and watch for all the bad things that seem to have a way of happening.
WITH ALL MY LOVE:
FOR ALL TIME AND ETERNITY
(signed and whited out) Mommy 6-13-95
The letter she wrote didn’t make me feel any better. It didn’t make me want to ask for her forgiveness. It made me hate her more than ever. I despised the letter–and yet I also kept it. I taped it into my journal where it has remained for nearly fifteen years. Fifteen years–I can’t believe it has really been that long. Still, I don’t understand her thinking.
I still despise the letter.
The bus ride was scary for me. It was my first time to ride a Greyhound. I was alone, except for my sister. There wasn’t anything to do on the bus for this eighteen hour trip, except look out the window and watch the landscape change as we traveled across Indiana and Illinois, through Missouri, and finally stop in Oklahoma.
Mostly, I slept the best I could with my head propped against my pillow. I don’t remember where we met her, but a nice woman kept my sister and me entertained and comforted. Her name was Diana Rambo from Arizona. My sister mostly talked with her. We didn’t have any snacks, so the kind and warm lady provided my sister and me with blueberry Nutrigrain bars. I know–I saved the glossy blue wrapper–I still save everything. This lady was like a guardian angel come to us…or just a nice lady that the Lord, I believe, placed on that Greyhound at the right place and the right time. She was a place of comfort for me.
I don’t really remember arriving in Tulsa and then Sapulpa. I don’t remember meeting my father for the first time since I was a preschooler. I didn’t want to meet him. The only person I wanted to see in Oklahoma was my sister, Shelly who lived in Mounds, Oklahoma.
The next six months of my life were a very trying time for me. During those months, I quit my freshman year of high school at the request of my father, smoked pot for the first time, tasted alcohol for the first time at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, watched my father rip people off and smoke pot, and watched in disbelief as my other sister began her own journey down a difficult path in life.
I hated my father’s home. We lived in embarrassing and dirty conditions. The house was warmed by stove heat, we ate Hamburger Helper and drank Squirt for nearly every dinner, the dog was allowed to crap on the carpet in the dining room where the feces stayed for days, mice ran freely around home–in the curtains, in my bed covers–and mice pellets were plentiful in the closet where I spent many hours curled up with a bed sheet in a fetal position contemplating different ways to end my life.
My journal would be my closest friend for the years to come. I felt it was the only place I could truly reveal how I felt and not be judged. I scribbled many pictures in it of my dead and dying soul.
For Christmas that year we received nothing. When my one friend’s grandmother brought this up to my father (seeing he had purchased presents for his other older children), he gave me and my brother $20 each to make up for it. I gave my twin brother my $20–money doesn’t buy forgiveness or love in my book, not even then.
Two days before my fifteenth birthday, I was on the phone with my mother begging her to take me back.
To be continued…