Plan to Escape (9)
Picking up from where I left off in The Scent of Watermelon, my mom was still pregnant and had been released from the hospital and John was released from jail. My mom didn’t seem like my mom anymore, she seemed empty to me. I would try to talk to her but she just wasn’t there. As an adult I realize that she was preoccupied. Her mind was somewhere else. She was planning her escape, a way to get away. John would kill her and I think she knew that.
I remember that moment in the car well. My mom and John were in the front seat and I sat in the back next to Jessica’s car seat. I believe that we had just come back from grocery store because I recall my mom saying that we had forgotten something. They argued a bit because John was wanting to drive back to the store and was quite upset about it but my mom insisted that she just run back herself. I begged her to take me with her and cried when she refused. I don’t know how I knew something was wrong, but I did. I stood on the porch and cried as I watched her drive away and leave me with him. I knew she wasn’t coming back. How did I know that?
I’m not quite sure how long it took for John to realize she was gone but eventually he realized that she wasn’t coming back. Jessica and I were left home alone for hours and when he was home he was on the phone trying to find her. Then something changed in him and I’m not quite sure why or what had caused it. He stopped obsessing over trying to find her and instead turned his attention and aggression back at me. I was sitting on the floor in my room with my Raggedy Ann doll when he came in. He told me that it was my fault my mom had left. I had made her so mad that she wasn’t coming back. He had lost his wife and since it was my fault, I had to pick up the slack. At that moment I was terrified and yet I had no idea of the entirety of that demand. I was made to clean, sometimes cook and fetch his beer. I took care of Jessica, which was nothing new to me anyways. But when there was nothing in the house for him to eat, it was me that he took it out on.
He flipped out when there was nothing in the kitchen cabinets. He was drunk or high or both, not sure. Dragged me by my hair to the storage closet and locked me inside. If he couldn’t eat than neither could I, at least that’s what he was yelling. The fact that I was being punished for something that I couldn’t control and had nothing to do with no longer shocked me. I was tired anyways so I looked at this as a break, at first. I didn’t realize that I would be in there for three days, and I definitely didn’t and couldn’t imagine what was coming next.