“Your mom left because you did nothing but cause problems and she might never come back. I hope you are proud of yourself.”
I was let out of the storage closet three days after A Plan to Escape. I wish he would have just left me in there. John was realizing more and more that my mom wasn’t coming home and he was getting more angry. The drug and alcohol use increased and so did his temper. His sister warned that he couldn’t leave us kids alone at home anymore because people were starting to notice. Maybe they should have looked a little harder.
The neighbor started keeping an eye on us from time to time. John made his money from the drugs so he didn’t even have to leave the house if he didn’t want to. People came to him. He wasn’t joking when he said that I would have to pick up my mom’s slack. He lost a wife and I was now the replacement. He handcuffed me to the radiator in his bedroom. He told me that it was for my own safety.
“You better not tell anybody. This is our little secret. If you tell, your mom will find out and hate you even more. They will take Jessica away from you and then you’ll have no one. That’s only if they even believe you. You’re a little liar. Everyone knows that.”
I took a vacation, in my mind, and let myself go numb. I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I lay on the bed and stared into the box fan that spun in the corner of the room. The sound of the rotating blade drowned out the noise of the hell I was living. I escaped into the fan every time I needed to. It’s all I had. Then he moved me to the bathroom. I really don’t know why. I was attached to the pipes behind the toilet and layed on the cold floor. I watched him shave in the mirror and secretly hoped that he would hurt himself. He didn’t. He brought me paper and crayons to keep me quiet. Something had to be occurring in the rest of the house. I used the hours I was left in there wisely. I taught myself how to write, or so I thought, the way that all little kids pretend to. I thought my jumbled letters were real words though, that they made sense. I had a plan.
John finally let me free to walk around the house but I was still to keep up with all of his demands. Letting me go was a reward for promising to be quiet and keep the secret. The day came when John had to go somewhere and Jessica and I were taken to the neighbor. They had a table just my size with 3 small chairs. I sat there with paper and crayons and drew a rainbow, but then I realized that this was my chance. I wrote out a message on a paper that I was going to leave on the table. I thought that the neighbor would find it and come and save me. That way, I wouldn’t have “said” anything and really didn’t break my promise. My mom would still love me, if I could find her. I left the message on the table when I was picked up.
“He hurts me”
John had a reward for me, he said, for being such a good girl and keeping our secret. I was going to be allowed to stay up and watch “Thriller”. Michael Jackson’s music video “Thriller” was a big thing. I loved watching the video and fantasized that the zombie people would crawl out of the TV and take over my house. I’d rather be a zombie. I sat there proud to have sent a message and was just waiting to be rescued. It wasn’t until years later that I was old enough to realize that my “message” was just a bunch of jumbled letters and never really said anything at all.
Shortly after the video was over though, there was a loud knock at the door. My heart raced…………………………….