Okay now I should warn you, as much as I'm known for my goofy antics and sarcasm, this story is nothing to laugh about. If you've got a weak stomach you shouldn't read this. But if you're tough enough, please let me know what you think of it. By that I don't mean the story itself, just the writing and how I went about putting it together. This is a story I've been struggling with for a very long time. I'm not sure how to put it together. So any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and thoughts! I'll be responding to your comments so check back! Enjoy!
Of course you can’t remember things from when you were an infant, but as time goes by, you tend to remember things, little things. And after a while, you begin to put things together and you start to see now what you saw then but just didn’t understand.
For example, I remember the house we lived in. It was in Massachusetts. It was a small blue house. I’m not sure why, but we always called it “the blue house”.
“Do you remember your brother dangling you out the second story window by your ankles when you were a baby, Kara? You remember, at the blue house. You laughed and laughed until you realized he meant to let go.” Or, “Hey, I remember when your sister Ann made you eat a dirt pie in the back yard after a good rain when we lived in the blue house.”
We moved when I turned 5 so all the stories in this chapter pertain to, “the blue house”.
I remember it so vividly. The entrance was on the right hand side of the house where the drive way was. Once you pulled in, there was an old garage my mother only used for storage on the right. Past that was a swing set and some other miscellaneous toys. To the left was the entrance to the house. Two steps up and when you opened the door, directly to the right was the doorway to the basement which my mother used as her art room/extra room that she fixed up and rented out for money. Once you passed the basement door there was another short set of maybe four stairs and another door that led to the kitchen. I was nothing spectacular. We were never a family of means. The bathroom was off of the kitchen. If you passed straight through the kitchen, it brought you to the living room. It was small but comfortable. To the left was the master bedroom which was connected to the front door. Awkward, but I wasn’t the floor planner. Back in the living room there was a cubby hole where we kept all our toys for downstairs play time. I’ve been stuffed in it countless times by both my older sister and brother. Could be why I am now claustrophobic. But any way, there was a door that opened to the staircase going to the second floor. There were two bedrooms up there. My sister, Ann and I shared a room and my brother, Gerard had his own.
There was a good sized front yard where I remember my brother pushing me up and down the walkway on my little red tricycle.
I also remember coming home from the Big E with cotton candy and rubbing it in the mud and eating it. According to my mother, I ate everything I could fit in my mouth. Like egg shells, coffee beans, rocks, dirt, litter and whatever else you can think of. I guess I was the typical toddler.
Life wasn’t always as normal as it may sound. I also remember a very serious lack of supervision. There is definitely a problem when a 4 year old (myself) and a 10 year old (Gerard) are climbing up the ladder resting on the garage which is over 10 feet high and playing for an extended period of time on the roof of the garage. I remember blowing bubbles with Gerard and we were trying to catch the ones that the wind took too high. (I also remember putting those in my mouth.) All the while, my sister, Ann was on the ground coaxing us to jump. I know my mother was in the house, not paying any attention to her three kids playing outside. To this day, no one knows we did that.
I guess she had a pretty good reason for not paying proper attention to us. Drugs have a way of withdrawing a person. Of course, I didn’t realize at the time just what was going on in my home. I didn’t realize that my mommy was a strawberry. In case you’re not up with the lingo, a strawberry is a woman whose habits have overcome her and she begins to do anything for a fix. Yes, anything. I have clear memories of strange men coming into our house, acting in a not so nice kind of way to my mother who took it in full stride and disappearing into her bedroom where lots of strange noises emerged. And shortly thereafter the men would leave and mommy’s bankroll would be a little fatter. Either that or she would remain in her room and smoke her special medicine cigarettes.
There was a time when I had gotten very sick. I was standing up in my crib with a full diaper and a pain in my belly that would not let me rest. I cried and cried waiting for my mother to come in and check on me. There was a terrible thunderstorm outside. My bedroom window had no curtains so I could see the rain coming down and I could hear the thunder rumbling angrily outside. It seemed like I had been crying forever and the pain in my belly grew stronger. I wailed preying that my mother would wake up and come get me, but instead, her new boyfriend (my babysitter) came charging up the stairs with an angry face. Mike yanked me out of my crib and hauled me down stairs to the living room. He sat on the couch grumbling in mean words that I was not allowed to say or else I would be spanked and forced to eat soap.
I heard my mother yell from her bedroom, “Shut her up!”
“What do you want me to do?” Mike yelled back.
“I don’t give a shit! Just fucking spank her! Christ, I never get any quiet around here!” she answered.
I knew exactly what she was saying. I remember as clear as day, and I still remember the way I felt. Like my own mother didn’t care that I was in pain. She told her boyfriend to spank me for crying and she didn’t even think to care about why I was crying. It’s a very scary feeling to suddenly think that the one person, who you thought was your world, doesn’t really care, that they would rather hurt you than help you. It’s an ungodly feeling. I was horrified and just kept thinking that if she just came out for a minute she would see that I was in pain and needed her. But she never did.
Mike did as he was told, and as sure as my rear end reddened and a new pain began, I began to vomit uncontrollably. Mike jumped up, dropping me to the floor as I continued to vomit with an even newer pain at my hip and side from my landing.
“Jesus Christ! She’s puking, Donna!” he yelled to my mother in a tone drenched with irritation and disgust.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake! So clean it up! God! Don’t be such a fucking baby!” she replied without ever even getting out of bed.
Mike picked me up by my arms holding me out in front of him like I had the plague and ran to the bathroom. The vomiting continued so forcefully and frequently that I couldn’t catch my breath. I was so scared. I thought that was it. No more Kara. By the time he got the seat up and aimed me properly, it was over. I had nothing left. I dry heaved several times, but nothing else came up. The pain in my stomach had changed. It went from a horrible stabbing pain to a cramping kind of ache. It hurt to breath. I was so thankful to be able to breathe again but the fear had manifested into screams once I had my breath. Even that didn’t last long. Weakness took over and I couldn’t even move. I went limp and hit the floor, but not before hitting the toilet first. My teeth pierced my lower lip for the first time. (There were more times to come for my teeth to penetrate my poor helpless lower lip.)
I don’t actually remember the part that happened after that. All I know is what I was told from my mother some time later. Apparently, I was taken to the hospital where the doctors had to cover me in ice to reduce the fever that had been building the entire day. Influenza has been known to kill when left untreated. I was told I almost didn’t make it.