Chapter five part one
Mama found a nice, big, brick house across town from my grandmother's land. It stood at the corner block with some of the thickest, healthiest, green grass that started in the front of the house and made its way around the back all the way to the other side of the house. There was plenty of room and it was big and spacious inside. Dean lived with us and to be honest I didn't care for him to be around us at all but him and mama seemed to be getting along and she was home with us more so it was more comforting that way. They would have little spats here and there but nothing to be frightened about.
We loved the summer, especially when the scorching hot sun would finally go down and we would go outside into a somewhat cooler yard to play in the ditches. Some nights would be extremely humid but on the cooler nights we were thankful and enjoyed the light breeze. We loved looking for tadpoles, frogs and crawdads. If we looked to hard we would sometimes find a snake but never touched. We even had a couple of brindle pits that we played with from time to time. When we acted out we were disciplined by our mother, that is until she went back to work. The man that we began to call daddy would watch us when she did so. As time passed that is when the arguments started to escalate and the beatings began once again.
If we weren't getting beat physically, it was mentally. One day Dean brought home a couple of rabbits for Wayne and myself. I was so happy to have my own pet for the very first time. Mine was all black and had a shiny, soft coat of hair that I loved to run my hands across that reminded me of corn silk. It's eyes were big and had a glassy look to them and if you stared hard enough you could see your reflection glaring back at you. They even had their own cages to dwell in when we weren't playing with them. A few weeks later Dean comes home ranting in such rage and he and mama begin arguing. It was in the middle of the day and as I think back alcohol may have been an issue. Every time he had something sneaky up his sleeve he would show that sneaky grin of his letting us know he had something trifling up his sleeve. Whenever he did this it would send a chill up my spine creeping me out. On this day he made us all cry as he continuously grinned staring at me and Wayne with amusement. He walked into the laundry room and moments later walked out with our rabbits in each hand storming through the house and into the backyard. At first I was confused at what was happening but knew whatever it was couldn't be good. He suddenly tossed our rabbits to his brindle pits as if they were tasty treats and begins yelling, drawing attention and demanding that the dogs attack. The same dogs he used in his dog fights when gambling. As we watched in terror we cried and screamed hoping that he would stop this foolishness and that is when I realize there is an audience of neighbors and also people that had stopped in their cars watching in awe. Some shook their heads in disappointment as others were actually getting a kick out of what they were seeing. This made me weep even harder as I watched our pets being ripped and torn into numerous pieces. As the dogs gripped their teeth around the poor rabbits necks and heads you could see flesh and patches of hair separate from their bodies while being torn apart. Once it was finally over I just stared at the rabbit's body parts as they were scattered all over the backyard.
There was another time he brought us home a Saint Bernard. From the time I laid eyes on him I was in love. That was until that love was violently stripped away! This dog was no more than a live teddy bear my brother and I hugged and loved on. He comforted us in our time of need and I can only guess this made Dean upset. Seemed as if he couldn't stand to see anyone in that house happy and content. Once again we cried and watched through my mother's bedroom window into the backyard as he let his dogs free from their chains to attack my dog. They sank their teeth into him and yanked and tugged tearing chunks of flesh and hair from his body like he were being shredded alive. This beautiful dog was now drenched and covered in his own blood as he falls to the ground exhaustion and pain and as he could take no more. I watched as he finally gave up, laid on the ground, panting loudly and finally exhales his last breath. As time passed we healed from this but not over the physical abuse.
Mama and Dean would fight and argue constantly. Half of the time it was because of Wayne and I. He would say little slick comments and acted as if he hated us making me feel as if the sight of us disgusted him. He would beat us with this huge belt that we nicknamed "The Bullet Belt." A belt that held rows of rifle bullets. A big brown leather belt that I had grown to hate as the months passed. Oh how I prayed for the worn out leather to tear so that I wouldn't have to deal with it any longer. That belt was one of my worse nightmares and at first we used to play with it but as time passed I would just stare at it with disgust and fear. Dean would beat us with that belt and with such anger. Leaving our skin sometimes slightly cut open, badly welted and bruised. Sometimes tiny speckles of blood would pop through our skin. There would be other times bruises were not all the way healed before we were rewarded new ones. Constant reminders of the so called dumb shit we would do. As a young child I knew what getting the taste slapped out of my mouth felt like. First come the sting and shortly after the numbness.
Summer days were blazing hot. Colorful, shimmery, yellow dragonflies would swarm by our heads, sometimes stopping just to buzz in our ears like they had something to tell us as we played on the grass that had ant hills which looked like piles of sand. Even though we tried our hardest not to step in one, we always wound up in one. The anthills sometimes came all they way to our knees and when this happened we knew to run straight for the water hose. Halfway there we would scream from the biting and stinging of these fire ants. The pain was horrific from these insects having a feast of the lower part of our legs. There were days we knew the rain was coming and the sky would become awfully dark and the smell of dampness was in the air. We stayed out as long as we could until the steamy wet rain would begin to fall and fill the ditches with thick muddy water. My favorite part of playing outside was after it rained. I would find clay and make all types of mud pies and pretend that I were at a bakery of some sort. You didn't have to look hard for the tadpoles. There would be many of them swimming up and down the ditches with there tiny tails flapping back and forth.
My father Jonny would sometimes pass my house as if he were in the neighborhood visiting someone but it was never me. He drove a black, small model truck and when passing me by long and hard but with a smile. There were many times that I would play outside and look up and see him passing me by. There were even times I would run inside my home from embarrassment and wondered why he never came for an actual visit. One day as I played in the yard he pulls up with a woman in the passenger seat. I noticed the woman is holding something but I can't quite make out what it is. Jonny calls me over to the truck and even though I am hesitant I still walk over. As I came closer I notice that this woman is holding a baby. Jonny says to me "girl you getting big." I nervously say "my birthday just passed." He laughs and says "how old are you." I respond and say "seven." He then tells me "this is your baby sister." I smile as I look at her to cover up the pain inside because it hurt me down to the bone to know that I was his daughter too. I felt he didn't care enough for me to put me in his truck and ride around town and show me off. He gave me thirty three dollars that day and I gave it to mama and she took it and brought my first bike. A baby blue bike that had a long banana seat. The handle bars had blue, pink and white strings that hung from them. While riding my bike one day I looked up to see Jonny parked on the side of the road watching me. I bashfully hopped off my bike and while still holding on to the handle bars and walked as quickly as I could into the carport. Maybe if he tried spending time with me and spent time with me I wouldn't feel the way I did but I guess he had his reasons.