breathe, dip into the water and go under it all and hold yourself alone

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Foster Home

My mother had just given birth to my sister. And I was three.

Momma was going through a paranoid phase wherein she worried every man was a child molester or getting there. She called up her dad and accused him of diddling her, despite having no real memories of that ever actually happening. But just because he was a pretty nasty guy who she considered very capable of that and she figured she'd probably repressed the memory on account of it being so traumatic. He got angry and called the cops. He told 'em they should go check her out right away because he heard she was burning her children. And they zipped over. We didn't have any burn scars because he was a liar. But there wasn't any food in the cupboards and my sister was really thin. My mother claims that this is my own sister's fault for never wanting any milk. Apparently she would hardly suck the tit. I'm guessing that momma's milk wasn't the most nutritious by that time cuz she'd just finished weaning me and so her body was pretty spent. (I stayed on the boob as long as she would allow it.) She's diabetic, and the pregnancy had left her very frail. So if Dominique didn't want the milk, there's a possible reason. I hope that my mother is honest and she didn't mean in her heart to neglect my sister. Because the thought of starving a baby is just the worst, baddest thing ever.

Anyway my dad didn't buy enough food and my mom didn't fight him about it. She wanted to lose her preganancy fat. He's just the kind of man, as I have seen in my years living with him, who feels okay with starving his family.

So Dominique and I were taken away in a van, while my mother stood at the top of the apartment stairs waving tragically, and I felt really sad as it was happening because something in the air was wrong. The lady driving us was entertaining my sister, making her laugh. She offered me a little bag of cheetos but I was too depressed. She said I was gonna get a new family now, but that I could see my old parents whenever I wanted.

But in reality, I hardly ever got to visit my parents. Towards the end, progressively more often. But not whenever I asked, like the lady said.

Anyway the foster home was clean, and my parents, Nancy and Bruce, were nice middle aged people. Nancy was fat and pale with coke bottle glasses, greying hair, and no makeup. Bruce was in shape, tan, dark haired and Jewish. I don't mean to give off the impression that he was uber attractive, but he was a little higher on the Hotness Scale than Nancy. They were a mismatched looking couple. Okay, so that sounds shallow and I don't even want to get into it anymore so just, whatever.

I thought his name was "Bruise" for the longest time. Not like just the way it was pronounced but the actual word, and it seemed peculiar.

She had this cute thing she did when she fed us string cheese where she'd pretend it was screaming, "Nooooo! Don't eat me! Aaahh! Please! Really! Stop! Oh, this is terrible! " as she peeled it and fed us the strings and when it was all gone she'd muffle the screams like we couldn't hear it anymore cuz it was in our tummies. And Bruce would give me piggy back rides when he got home from work. He inspected houses for people to fix or something like that. Nancy stayed at home.

These are the things that comforted me:

I had this little box that played pretty, tinkly music when you opened it. And also this really poofy little pillow that played pretty, tinkly music when you squished it. When I took showers there was this cool wind that would sneak into the bathroom and it made the hot water that much more pleasureable. I remember staring at the tiles on the shower wall. I can almost remember them still. And when I got out of the foster home and lived once again with my natural parents sometimes if I just stared at the tiles ahead of me it almost felt like I was in that same shower again. And then I would pick up that same mood I'd been in when those showers were mine, and I wouldn't feel so lost.

Lost, because just as soon as I began to feel comfortable living one way, that life was stolen from me. Twice. First life with my real parents, then with my fake ones. And so during unstable times, I remembered the tiles. I took myself to a place that only I knew.

And the worry dolls. I never told them my worries, I just held them in my hands. They were so foreign, and charming. One day Nancy just surprised me with them. She wasn't giving them to me, it was more like, "Look at these little dolls I've got. Aren't they neat?" But when I asked to look at them she would get 'em out. They just felt special.

When I was seven, and my sister was nearly four, we were allowed live with our natural parents again. My parents had battled in court relentlessly to get us back. This brief experience in a foster home is just nothing more than a glimpse of a life that could have been.

Pictures taken on our visits:















1 comment:

Veronica said...

Exactly.
This is written with such an even flow, such a flawless stream of consciousness. I'm beyond impressed. There are no bumps or trips in the rhythm. It just is. It's just perfect. It's uninhibited. And it absolutely holds the reader.
Please keep writing.

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