Chapter Nine

It seemed like we were in that back seat for years. The heat kept getting hotter and it made me feel like I was crying, but I swear I wasn’t. Water just kept running down my face. I looked at my little brother and his face was wet. Maybe he was crying too.

I really had to go pee. I didn’t want to make anyone look at me so I squeezed my legs together and I chewed on my bottom lip, maybe this would make the feelings go away; but sadly it didn’t. I think it may have made things worse.

With a softness in my voice I said, ” I have to go pee mama. I can’t wait much longer.” She looked back at me with an empty face and then looked at her companion. ” I wasn’t planning on stopping for another fifty miles yet.”

“Oh George, I could use a pit stop too. I need to powder my face, this heat is just going to make my make-up melt and you know honey, how you like a pretty face.” She purred as she spoke to him and he gave her an extra minute of looking at her face, then shook his head.

He continued driving until he saw a rest area. He pulled in and parked. Shutting the car off, mama got out and took my brother and me to the restroom. That man got out too and he stood at the side of the car and lit up a cigarette.

I peed almost before I sat down. When I got done I walked out of the stall and watched my mama change my brother’s diaper. I thought to myself, why is he so red? I am not red. He had tiny, red bumps all over his bottom. I didn’t dare say anything. I really didn’t want yelled at or slapped when others might see. I just hated myself for crying in front of others. They always looked at me so strange and then they would stare at mama. Usually they just walked off but I never forgot those looks. Sometimes when I was alone in my bed at night, those looks would bounce all over the walls and it made me scared. I would hide under my covers and wish for light.

When we finished our business and left the restroom, I think his name was George, yes, that was what mama called him. Well, anyways, he was drinking something out of a brown cup. I sure would like something to drink and I bet my brother would too.

“Donna, are you thirsty? Do you want some coffee? It’s real good.”

“That sounds good George and can you get a bottle of soda too? I’ll split it between the two kids.”

George did as she asked. Mama and us kids went back to the car. She took my brother’s bottle and unscrewed the lid, dumping the curdled milk on the pavement. She poured half the liquid in his bottle and putting him back on the seat; she handed it to him. He must have been real thirsty because I bet he drank half of it right down!

Mama got me situated and took the can I had from earlier. She shook it upside down, and then filled it with the other half. I don’t know what it was but it was real cold and I liked it.

George came back to the car and got in and started it. Without another word the car began moving again.

To be continued…

Sometimes Others Just Don’t Get It

Am I crazy?

Lazy or just plain dumb?

Should I return to my crib

And suck back on my thumb?

Sometimes a human can toss a knotted-less rope

My hands are too slippery and I miss that chance

To make others understand

I don’t want to sing to your dance.

What were the right words

To say unto you

That you may hear my truth

In all that you do.

So many others hit walls and are stopped

They try explaining their feelings to a non-ticking clock

We return to our homes and we wish they’d live in our shoes

I wonder how they’d feel and what would they do

.Invisible illness and anything rare

Is something we fight straight from our chairs

Every day praying someone will understand

We’ll keep our hope until they raise their hands.

Written by,Terry Shepherd09/30/2021

Chapter Eight

The car started and I felt us moving. Neither of the people up front were talking to my brother or me so I looked out at the fast, moving trees. It was hot outside and before we took off, mama had opened my side of the car and rolled my window down half-way then she went to the other side and did the same thing.

I stuck my hand outside just a little bit and soon got yelled for it. How did anyone know I did that? I looked around and then I saw eyes staring at me. Those big, brown eyes that looked hard, like steel marbles, like my dolly’s eyes. Oh, that’s what that was, a small mirror that must have some magic to it, because he could see what I was doing from the front seat. I pulled my hand back in and then I put my thumb in my mouth and drifted off to sleep.

Every once in i a while, I was shaken awake by bumps and a dirt that sort of made me cough a little, then the road would seem to get better and I would fall back asleep. It seemed like just a little bit of time because I was woken to a jerk at my hand. “Get that damn thumb out of your mouth! What are you; a retard?” I quietly, without crying, sat very still.

In the front seat, there was rattle of paper and mama was laughing. I don’t know what about. The man had leaned over very close to her and I could see just a little bit of his hands touching her somewhere near her tummy. She jumped a little but then laughed. At least mama was in a good mood and for this, I looked at the back of that dark, curly hair of the man and sighed in relief.

Mama pulled out some sandwiches. She handed the man two, and she tore one in half and gave each of us in the back seat a half. Just like home, peanut butter sandwiches. I sure wish I had something to drink. I looked over at my brother and noticed he wasn’t eating.

I reached out to touch him to tell him to start eating but I couldn’t reach him so picked up the edge of my tattered book and hit him with it. That startled him for sure. He looked at me and I mimicked putting a bite in my mouth. He ignored me and turned his head towards the window. I couldn’t do anything else so I began eating my sandwich.

Mama must have read my mind because she handed me a can that had some sort of funny taste to it. I was thirsty so I drank it. It tasted like bitter or rotten something. She nudged my brother and gave him a bottle of milk, but from where I was sitting; it looked like there were clouds jumping around in circles in it. My brother didn’t want it and turned his head away.

To be continued…

Chapter Seven

My brother and I were placed in a car. We were in the back seat. It was early morning and I whimpered, just a little, because the sun was shining so bright in my eyes. I rubbed my eyes, as if I was going to make that brightness disappear.

I looked over at my brother who was sitting beside me. He looked different. I looked at his face and his eyes were masked. His skin looked white. I compared his skin to the skin on my arm and yes, they looked almost like twins.

His hair reminded me of my daddy. Oh, daddy, where are you? I haven’t seen you in, well I don’t know how long but it seems like so many forever days. My brother looked like my doll, skinny and stiff. Well, maybe stiff wasn’t the word, but he sure was quiet. I wonder if someone had told him to keep that big mouth shut!

Big blue eyes, long lashes, and lots of messy wavy hair. The picture I had in my mind of our daddy, sure made me think they could pass for doubles. He stared out the window and didn’t look back at me. I wonder what he saw that I couldn’t see.

When I looked down at myself, I was dirty. I remember daddy telling mama, ” Get those kids cleaned up. They look like dirty, little pigs. Get in there and give them a bath.” It sure didn’t look like I had had a bath, in fact, I don’t remember getting a bath for a long time.

My clothes were dirty, and my shoes and socks were gone. I don’t remember losing them, but I don’t remember wearing them either. I felt my tummy growling. I think I am hungry, but since no one was paying any attention to me, I would keep quiet. It had been a long time, but when my thumb found my open mouth, it felt good.

There was a man in the front seat sitting by mama. I know he wasn’t daddy because this man’s skin looked like mud. He must have been real dirty and when he looked back at me and my brother, I saw he had big, brown eyes and I think daddy’s were blue eyes.

To be continued…

It Was What It Was

Memories make you smile or cry

They can be hidden for years gone by

And then out of the blue, they pop in your head

Sometimes you laugh, other times you wish you were dead.

You get the dusty scrapbook out

You stretch on the couch and look about

You suddenly remember something you’d forgot

That favorite word or forget me not.

Memories can be the most beautiful things

Or they can turn and make your heart sting.

But isn’t that what’s part of getting old

We can live for today or remember the story told

.Written by,Terry Shepherd09/28/2021

Chapter Six

Sometimes we get used to a certain schedule. We don’t always like it but somehow we adjust and that is how I felt at that small age. I didn’t understand that this did or didn’t have anything to do with love from a parent. I only understood that it was.

I could barely remember the way life was before my new life; it had seemed so many life’s ago and I even learned to accept the pain. I learned to always watch over in the direction of my brother. Seeing him there near me, was like a pacifier being inserted into my mouth when I was younger.

My brother was very quiet. I don’t know what happened to him when they picked him up and took him out of my sight. Did people do the same to him as they did to me? Maybe my brother was strong. I never saw any tears. Maybe he learned how to go to someplace and play a game like I did when I went to the Fairy land.

My brother was too young to talk more grown up like me, so there weren’t conversations between us. Sometimes I caught his eye when I looked into his eyes. I knew we were speaking to each other this way but I didn’t know how to help. Was he asking me to help him, to help us? I don’t know, but things were about to change…

To be continued….

Chapter Five

The pattern was real. I mean every time I got hurt, my mama was surrounded by men. They had been handing her something each time and I finally heard one guy mention. “the money she was making.” I really didn’t know what that meant.

During the day hours, my brother and I were placed under the shade of trees. Different people would come and check on us. They would check to see if my little brother needed changing. Yes, he was the baby of the two of us. He still wet his pants while I am the older of us, I don’t pee my pants anymore.

If my brother cried, someone stuck a bottle in his mouth. I learned to keep quiet and sometimes I played another game I invented. I played, “I am asleep.” No one bothered with me but if I wanted something to eat; I made sure I was awake when they checked on my brother.

I usually got some sort of crackers and my brother got a bottle. Word was said to me when I was older that the reason I was a chubby kid was because I always had a bottle placed in my mouth. That isn’t true. Those people over there working under the trees seemed to like me and mama always said, “looks are real important.”

To be continued…

Chapter Four

That wasn’t the beginning of my new life. My old life of feeling sad and sometimes alone was hidden somewhere in the closet of my mind. This new life didn’t happen every day and I was no good at counting at such a young age but I bet it happened two to three times a week.

Each time it happened, I saw the same bunch of people and men and once in a while, women lined up and at the head of the line was a woman who I recognized as our mama. What was she doing, I didn’t know for sure but I was pretty sure it had something to do with my brother and me, because the bad and painful game always followed.

When these nights played out, I had been creating my own game. I was in a Fairy land and I had lots of friends surrounding me that made me feel loved and I smiled a lot. I learned to visit this place every time rough hands touched me.

I had little bunny friends, and singing birds. There were always lots of pretty green trees and their leaves always seemed to smile down upon me. The strange thing was, is that my brother was never there with me. He must have decided not to come with me or maybe he had found a better place or maybe those bad people still had him.

To be continued…

Chapter Three

These were not my mama’s hands. They felt rough and they were stronger than hers. Wait a minute. I never felt this before. I desperately looked for my brother but I didn’t see him anywhere.

Where is my mama? I can’t see her and I don’t hear her. Hold on, I don’t like that. You are making me cold. I want my mama. I want my brother. What are you doing? I didn’t wet my pants. I didn’t poop either. Stop it, I don’t like this. Mammmmmaaaa!!

I fell into a sleep and darkness took over my little body as the stranger with the bad breath and the rough hands did things to me that hurt. I don’t know when I woke-up, and all I really remember is feeling all alone.

I wanted my pacifier. No, I don’t use one of those anymore, but I do remember that they brought me great comfort at one time. I looked out from under the blanket that had been placed over me, and I saw my brother laying next to me with dried tears on his cheeks and he was asleep. Where is my mama?

To be continued…

Chapter Two

Eyes grasping for sight but the blindness of the dark skies and the flickering of sparks from fire pits was all about all the human eyes could take in. Strange voices, drunken slurs and sounds like a gruff laughter rang throughout the empty spaces.

Every once in a while I could pick out that voice, the voice of my mama. She was saying things I hadn’t heard before. I could hear her say her name, but it was different than what I knew her, which was mama. She was talking too fast and yet what seemed different was that there was no yelling or screaming. My mama only knew high pitch voices, that’s how I recognized her.

I don’t think I was sitting very close to her because I didn’t feel her body heat and there was no snacks for me to chew on. I looked up and I saw these balls hanging from trees. I was sitting close to or under some kind of tree.

I had seen trees from the windows before. Sometimes mama would put me in a chair and from that position, I could see the outside. I wanted to go outside, and this time I got my wish.

To be continued…