You know, I don’t think 7 years has ever felt longer. Today is the 7th anniversary of the day that I was taken away from my mom. Some people ask me how I remember the exact date when it was so long ago, and honestly I don’t know, but I do and every year it hurts just as much. Every detail of that day plays over and over in my head like a broken record, reminding me of how scary it was. I wont give every detail, because doing so would create a book, but I’ll give the gist of it. I was staying with one of my friends at the time and it was the second to last day of school, but it started just like all the other days. We got up, got ready for school, and were on our way. From the time I got to school things just spiraled. My friend came into my first period and told me her mom was picking her up, that she was sorry, and that everything would be okay. She was terrified and wouldn’t tell me why. About 10 minutes later the office aid came to retrieve me. I had been to the school office multiple times throughout my jr. high career, like pretty much every day {what I was a “troubled child}, but walking in for the first time that morning was like walking into a funeral home hosting my own funeral. I knew that the moment I entered that door I was trapped. I sat there for all of first period and half of 2nd period while a police officer and caseworker pounded me with question after question. I couldn’t even think straight, all I knew is that I had to get out and I had to not say anything. I had a test in 2nd period, my final, and I took it–questions still pounding in my head trying to make sense of themselves. I don’t think I passed but history had never been, and still isn’t, one of my strongest subjects. It was hard. I had to walk into a class of 28+ students and pretend like my world was okay, like it wasn’t crashing around me–but I did it. My friend went home sometime that morning so she missed lunch. Her mom came and got her and left me there, defenseless, friendless, and alone. She called and told me everything would be okay, that was it. After lunch I was called back into the office. I had to talk to the principal. He asked me to talk to the police again. I didn’t want to because I was tired of being asked things that I couldn’t answer, things that I had no choice but to lie about. It was as if the only way they were going to get me out of my mom’s house was by getting me to admit to the allegations against my step-dad. I lied. I said nothing happened and at that moment every thing inside of me crumbled. I was tired and worn out. I went back to the last few minutes of third period. In 4th period I had to make up my last final, Science. The funny thing is, I was kicked out of this teachers class for half of the semester, so I wasn’t given the material and I passed with a B. The bell rang for us to go home and I waited with my friends. I didn’t know who was coming to pick me up or where I was supposed to go. I was frustrated and scared. My friends and I were walking out the front door and as we passed the office we noticed that there were a multitude of police officers standing in there. Jokingly, my friend commented that they were there for me. Not even a minute later I was called to the office, they were waiting for me. You know, it’s embarrassing to know and hear all of your peers think of you as a druggy or slut or a whore, they call you names and laugh because you are a little different. But it’s all rumor, none of it’s reality. It’s hard. However, walking into an office where police officers and case workers are waiting for you is a step beyond, because then it’s all reality. It wasn’t a joke, and I had no idea what waited ahead. I went in and no one would tell me where I was supposed to go or who was picking me up. Then I got a phone call. It was my step-mom, a woman that my mom would have killed if she could have. She was calling to tell me she was coming to pick me up, that she was at the corner. In the midst of the conversation my mom walked in and started screaming at me. She was so mad. I didn’t know what to do. I had police officers, the principal, teachers, and my mom all surrounding me, arguing. I hung up the phone and the police, my mom, and I went outside where the arguing continued. Out of all the vehicles my mom and Unakite could manage to get their hands on, they came to pick me up on a motorcycle, with no helmet. Imagine, 3 people on a motorcycle, because that’s not against the law or anything. The police officers wouldn’t allow me to go with my mom and she kept getting more and more upset. Eventually, Unakite’s mom {my step-grandma} showed up and my mom pleaded with the officer to let her take me home, in the car. I didn’t know why but they wouldn’t let me. The fight got louder and more involved and I just stood there and watched. I watched as a group of people fought over me and I didn’t have any say in it. I watched as the screaming got louder, the crocodile tears emerged, and the violence ensued.  Eventually my mom told me to go back into the school and get my stuff because we were leaving, regardless of what the police said. I slowly walked in, grabbed my bags and when I turned around to walk back out my mom, Unakite, any my grandma were all driving away. They just left. For the first time in a long time, I broke down. I cried real tears. I didn’t know what else to do. I was angry,confused, sad, and terrified. I remember as I collapsed the vice principal grabbed me in her arms and just held me, this coming from a woman that had to deal with my constant bad behavior. And then a teacher took over. After the initial shock I just kind of shut down. My friends mom called and asked what was going on and where I was going but I still didn’t know and I really didn’t want to tell her, I was mad at her because she left me. While I sat there, one of the police officers came up and offered me his lifesavers, a gift for officer appreciation week. Without thought, I took them and stuffed them into my bag. As I sat waiting for them to figure out what to do with me, the picture of my mom driving away played over and over and over in my head. They decided to take me to the police station, in a police car, while all the other kids waiting for their parents watched. I didn’t get the front seat either. I was shamed to the back. Looking out the backseat window, watching all the kids watch us drive away, I don’t think I had ever felt more guilty in my entire life. I sat in the police office waiting, not knowing where I was going, and scared. The officers offered me food on many occasions but I wasn’t hungry, or thirsty. They joked that they wouldn’t poison the food like my mom did, that the food was safe to eat. I just stared, blankly. I don’t know what I was staring at or what was going on around me really because I wasn’t there. I was so lost, so confused. They interviewed me again, and again I lied. I denied that Unakite, or anyone else, ever touched me inappropriately. I talked about the physical abuse and about my mom being gone, but I lied about being touched. I was terrified. After multiple attempts to get me to eat and drink, and many horrible jokes about my mom, the officers finally just left me to be in my own little thoughts. At about 8:30pm a case worker showed up to pick me up. This caseworker wasn’t a stranger, I knew her from both earlier that morning and from an incident in which she accused my brothers and I of lying in the year previous. I was upset, I didn’t want to go with her, but I did. I sat in the passenger seat and blankly listened to the caseworker talking to me about where I was going. I didn’t hear a word she said, and quite frankly I didn’t care. When I arrived at my “new” home I was greeted by one of the other foster children as she introduced me to little Michayla, a newborn who had just arrived as well. She showed me to my room, a room with 2 beds neatly made, blank walls, and an empty closet. I closed the door and sat. Just sat. I didn’t know what to do, what to think, or where to go. I came into a home where my language wasn’t spoken, with nothing but the clothes on my back, and I was left there–alone. I’ve never, to this day, been more terrified. Though the terror still reigns with me often, it has never been as intense as it was that day. It’s been 7 years since that has happened and it’s a miracle how much I have changed and grown. It seems like just yesterday. In the long run, 7 years doesn’t seem like very long. But when every single day is a battle, 7 years feels like an eternity.

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One thought on “An eternity…

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