I believe the year was probably about 1992. This is a guess. I am not sure if this was before my parents and Monty’s parents made us fight each other or not. I feel like it was shortly after. Maybe like a year or so. Have I told you about the fight between me and Monty yet, and all the chaos that ensued after? If not, I will. I’m not exactly sure how all of this is going to frame out yet. But it will be in there. But anyways, we were living in the Woodsmill apartments in Peachtree City, Georgia either still, or again. But what I do know is that this is where it took place. We moved a lot, so it is kind of difficult to keep the timeline together, but anyways. Like I told you before, my parents worked a lot.
During the summer I imagine that this was particularly challenging for them as we were not in school, and they, I assume, could not afford full time day care for us. Sometimes, when our parents, aunts and uncles would all go out, or have poker night, Josh, my older brother and/or one or multiple older cousins would come and sit with us, and spend the night and we would have pillow fights and watch movies and stuff so that was always nice. Usually though it was just basically whoever was available to watch us, and it was pretty much a roll of the dice.
This one time, I am not sure who the actual sitter was from memory, but later in life I learned it was one of my Mom’s friends; was watching us during the day. I guess during this time in her life she was a big time stoner and was pretty much always high. Well the day was pretty normal I suppose. Cartoons, snacks and playing in the yard and playing with toys. I remember some time going by, and I had decided to go up into my brother Josh’s room and find a book to “read”. I was still quite young and my reading skills very undeveloped, but I remember that I loved those children’s books, with all the pictures and stuff. I began making my way upstairs to find myself a book to read. My baby sitter on this day, as I am told was out back smoking a joint and unaware that I had left my spot on the living room floor where I had previously been before she stepped outside. So I am completely unattended in my current journey up the stairs, but that’s ok. I’m a big boy. And I am just going up stairs to read a book.
I remember making entry into my brother’s room and sitting right in front of his large book shelf with all of the books, baseball cards and etc., sat a wooden rocking chair. My plan was to find myself a nice picture book to enjoy, and sit and rock in the chair and enjoy my imagination with the Bernstein Bears, or whoever else filled the pages of my selection. So I began to make my way towards the shelf. But the books were just a little bit out of reach, so I had to step up onto the seat of the rocking chair, and lean up high and grab myself a piece of childhood literature. And that I did. Standing way up on my tip toes, I was able to lean forward and upward just enough as the rocking chair leaned into the shelf, and grab myself a book.
I carefully slinked my way down the same way I had gone up. From the pads of my feet, back onto the heels, allowed the rocker to ease back to a more flat and stable resting place, twist my body around and have myself a seat and crack the book open to begin my journey through Bernstein Bears land. What I didn’t know, or realize at the time, was that this was one of those big ol’ two piece book shelves. Where the top portion actually sits on top of the bottom portion, connected by those little pegs- the thin wooden pegs that slide into the holes. And that all of the pegs were in fact broken, And that My body weight leaning against the book shelf had caused it to start to separate and cave in toward me, ever so slowly- the top half was leaning toward me little by little. And what I also didn’t realize was that at the top of the book shelf, literally sitting on top of the whole dam thing was a 50+ pound porcelain type sculpture of a bulldog. Like a real officially licensed souvenir one. Super heavy duty. My brother loved the Georgia Bulldogs, and had this one on top of the shelf, it was really cool. It had a little red sweater on and everything. Well, it was now making its way toward me. As I sat and cracked open the book, the whole shelf started tumbling down toward me, as I sat rocking. I think I had gotten about three words into the book and KABOOM! Night night.
The entire shelf had fallen in on me, and the very first things that collided was the bulldog sculpture and the back of my skull. I was knocked completely unconscious and laid pinned and bleeding profusely from the back of the head until my baby sitter finished her joint, and came looking for me. I remember coming to in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital, completely covered in my own blood. I still have a pretty gnarly scar on the back of my head to this day.
Another baby sitter of mine from this exact section of time and these exact apartments was a girl who lived a few buildings down. Now, I don’t really know a whole lot about her, and I believe that the trauma has blacked a little bit of this out, but what I can tell you is that I never wanted to go to her house. That much I know. I am pretty sure that she was like the last option for my parents, because of how much I hated to go there.
Ya know it’s so weird, how we can look back on our lives and see things for what they really were. I remember her being so over the top nice to my mom when it came to her being paid cash money to watch me, and she wasn’t ever really not “nice” to me. And she was always really pleasant to everyone in the neighborhood. But what she was was a fucking child molester. And every single time I was over there some weird shit happened.I remember one time, she walked me into her apartment, and immediately wedged some kind of kitchen tool into the corner of the wall and door, so that the door wouldn’t open. We lived in those section 8 / low income government subsidy places and they had those massive hinges and doors on the apartments, and if you wedged something behind the hinge it would prohibit the door from opening. Well she did this so I couldn’t open the door and get out. And then she proceeded to put some kind of porn video tapes into the VCR and made me sit there and watch it with her. I was like fucking 7 years old. Maybe 8. Was this normal? Of course it isn’t. It’s disgusting and vile, which I know now. But at the time, I was so young and innocent and impressionable that I couldn’t discern what was right and what was wrong. Plus my mother entrusted me into this woman’s care, so how would I know? I was still developing my moral compass and learning life as I went. And I am being exposed to trauma more and more, so what did I really have to judge my life against? It’s truly disgusting what people do to children behind closed doors. She would make weird little comments about what I was watching, and ask me questions about it. I didn’t know what I was watching. I just knew at the time that it was shameful, and that the adults in the videos were doing stuff to each other that involved their private parts.
It made me really uncomfortable. But I was what, maybe 8 years old? I couldn’t even articulate what I was feeling, or really identify it quite frankly. It felt weird, gross, and scary. Was this normal? You mean, your parents don’t pay a late teenage woman money to babysit you and she forces you to watch adults fuck each other and use their mouths on each other while she asks you questions like “do you like what you’re seeing?” and “Do you think you could do that?” No? Just me? Gotcha. okay.
I hated going to her house. She made me uncomfortable. Sure, sometimes she would take me down to the park and we would play on the jungle gym and swing on swings and play with sidewalk chalk. But that didn’t ever truly matter to me. I was able to block out the other stuff at times, which was a skill I learned right about this time and carried with me for decades. This is what I refer to as “getting into my space shuttle”- total disassociation. And the “Time Capsule”- total compartmentalization. Burying it. Hiding it. Stuffing it down as far as I could.
As if the videos weren’t bad enough, it wasn’t long until she started showing her body to me. Same ol fucking routine. My mom would struggle to find a sitter, and last resort and old reliable was always there to take my mom’s money, she would come down and take me by the hand while I pleaded with my mother not to make me go. I was a child and couldn’t speak up for myself as to what was happening down there. I didn’t know how to. Would anyone even believe me? Who knows. She would take me by the hand, I would put my head down in shame, or maybe not. Sometimes I would walk down with her willingly and happily- the times that she would bribe me by showing up with a toy and without words convince me that today was gonna be one of the fun trips, and we were gonna have fun and play together. And sure as shit, as soon as we would get inside, she would block the hinge, and take her top and bra off. She would walk around in her panties and smoke cigs on the phone for hours. Sometimes with Porn on the TV and sometimes she would put cartoons on. One day, in an attempt i’m sure to “break the barrier” so to speak she kept insisting that I needed a bath. So she took me upstairs to bathe me. She was topless and had her boobs fully exposed as she did so and spent a lot of time touching me in very strange and uncomfortable places. Once she got me out of the tub, she wrapped me in a towel and sat me on the toilet while I had to watch her shower and play with herself. She was fucking sick. She even made me “model” for her one time. I suppose she was some kind of aspiring artist of sorts, and made me stand in the living room fully naked while she drew very up close and very detailed sketches of my privates. She did all of this totally naked. It was very uncomfortable for me. I began to fully realize that this was absolutely not supposed to be happening. And it was wrong.
I devised a plan. Not to tell on her, because I didn’t know how to, who to tell, what to say, or if they would even believe me. But to run away. The next time I was to be baby sat by her I was gonna find a way to escape. I waited until she was well into her topless phone conversation on the phone one day. And made a B-line for the back door, which was not wedged shut. I probably would have gotten away with just being a silly kid and wanting to “run outside to play” but I made the mistake of shouting over my shoulder as I ran, “I’m tellin on you!” and she proceeded to snatch me up by the arm just before I got to the door and pulled me back into the kitchen, and then the living room. Now I am terrified. She began screaming and scolding me as she put her clothes on and hung up the phone. The next couple minutes are a bit blurry, because I was in full blown survival mode at 8 years old, but I must have said something to make her mad. The next thing I know is that she is throwing me against the couch in the living room and spraying some kind of mist in my face. I had no idea at the time, but all I remember was that it burned and hurt like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. Like tiny little needles all over my face and all over my body. My eyes felt like fire and like I was being stung by thousands of tiny little bees.
My baby sitter. A young adult woman from my neighborhood. A woman who was not only entrusted with me, but paid to take good care of me. Was spraying me directly in the face with fucking mace because I was about to run away and tell someone that she was molesting me.
I believe something came over her, and she may have realized what she had just done. And that this was not a small deal. Because then she began to panic. I remember laying there squirming and bawling and wretching in pain. Not knowing what just happened or what I could possibly do about this. I had just tried to escape, and she forcibly stopped me. So what was I to do? I had never felt so helpless and defenseless, and vulnerable and scared in all of my life. I was truly beside myself in paralyzing fear. Why is life like this? What had I done to deserve such treatment? I peed myself. I cried. Everything from here was a blur. The next thing I knew I was surrounded by EMTs and paramedics. They were washing my little face off and the neighbors were outside and there was commotion and panic everywhere. Especially inside of me. My parents finally came driving up, as I am sure someone called them and had them come home. I remember them finally getting me into their arms and I felt safe again. I had never experienced such shock and fear.
And the thing that makes the whole thing particularly sick, is that the baby sitter had the fucking evil in her heart, she had the fucking audacity to turn around and blame the whole thing on me. She told the EMTs and police and my parents that I had gotten my hands on her keys which contained the mace canister and accidentally sprayed myself in the face with it, thinking it was perfume. And they fucking believed her. The only thing I could muster from my little mouth, was “No I didn’t, no I didn’t, no I didn’t”. But it didn’t matter. I was 8 and she was like 18. They took her word over mine. Thank God that my parents saw the mace thing as instance enough to never use her as a baby sitter again. God only knows what would have happened.
Be careful with your kids. Listen to what they’re not telling you. Ask questions.
Sometimes trauma looks like a toy and a trip to the park. We never really know what is going on behind closed doors