The Ladder (12)
Picking up from where I last left off in “It was Her”, we had arrived. We had arrived at some house after driving for days in a car. The older woman who answered the door led me by the hand to a filthy bathroom so I could pee. She smelled sour. I wandered out of the bathroom half asleep and scared. I had no idea where we were or what was going on. I was just thankful that mom didn’t take us back to John. For the first time in a long time I felt safe, although I knew I probably wasn’t. I found my way to a couch in the living room and sat down. Jessica played with some yarn on the floor in front of me. Mom sat at a dining room table smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee. The black lines from her mascara appeared on her face once again and I knew that something was wrong. Thats when I realized that this old woman was my grandma.
We stayed there with grandma for a while. How long we were really there I haven’t got a clue. Life was different, it was strange. There were lots of rules and things that I didn’t understand. Everyone seemed so damn serious all of the time. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to have fun and tried to only smile or laugh when no one else was around. I wasn’t your normal little girl anymore. Everything that I had already gone through had started to change me. I didn’t like toys that made noise because they annoyed adults. I didn’t splash in the bathtub and cried when an adult tried to remove my clothes for a bath. I didn’t talk unless it was necessary and I didn’t laugh or smile unless I was sure I was alone. Whenever I went to the bathroom I double checked the lock to make sure no one could get in. I couldn’t be in a quiet room because it brought flashbacks of being locked in that closet so I couldn’t sleep without a radio or TV on. I flinched whenever someone made a quick movement near me. I was about to turn 7.
My mom never left the house and every time there was a knock on the door my mom would rush us all into a back room. She would tell us to stay quiet and kept her ear to the door until my grandma said it was okay to come out. I wasn’t allowed to play out front and I was warned of a car that may someday pull up in front of the house. My grandma was really good friends with the people who lived directly behind her and they all had a plan. These neighbors would prop a ladder up against their fence when they were home and if this car were to ever pull up in front of the house, mom or grandma would just pop me over. I thought that they were trying to protect me from John, but it wasn’t his car that we were watching out for.
Then the day came when I saw the car they had shown me in the pictures. It pulled right up in front of the house under the tree. I could see it through the crack in the curtain of the front window. I ran and told grandma. Panicked, she picked me up and ran out the back door. The ladder wasn’t there. They weren’t home. Not knowing what to do, she ran into her horribly cluttered bedroom and made me hide deep under her bed. She told me that the bad people had come and that I was not to come out or make a peep no matter what was said. I could barely see out through all the piles of laundry all over the floor. I was scared.
There was a loud pounding on the front door which was followed by yelling and arguing. I could tell by the voices that it wasn’t John but I had no idea who these people were. My grandma was yelling and my mom was crying. I just lay there. I could hear the voices and footsteps get closer and I wanted to run away. Then I heard the bedroom door open. I held my breath. Someone was walking around the room but I had no idea who it was. All I could see was black boots. The closet opened and shut, Things were moved around and clothes were pushed over. The boots started to walk out of the room and then they stopped. They turned around and walked back to the bed. I though I would die when I saw eyes peering under at me. He lifted up the bed and a fellow officer pulled me out. It was the police.
He carried me down the hallway and passed my mom who was crying on the couch. He walked me out the front door and on to the lawn. That was the first time I had stood on that lawn since we arrived. I was scared. Why were the police taking me away? Maybe I didn’t keep John’s secret good enough and my mom found out? Maybe John was right and she hated me so the police were taking me away? Whatever the reason, they didn’t let me say goodbye.