Keeping with the theme of not bashing people, but exposing the truth… here we go.
Most of my friends know at least a slice of my life when I lived in Texas. The basis is that I have a sister, who is 22 months older, and a brother who is three years younger. I didn’t know that we were “half” siblings until some jerk in the third grade told me that. To me that was my sister, and my brother. My sister lived with her dad about 30 minutes away. My brother lived with EDF (that’s the pseudo name for “mom”). I lived with The Sperm Donor (“dad” though he was hardly a dad). I lived in Elgin, a town outside of Austin. EDF and my brother lived in Houston. There was garage apartments right next to my grandparents’ house. Not big or lavish my any means, hence the term “garage apartments” but it fit the bill- and when I came to visit I thought they were supremely cool.
Sperm Donor had a trailer, which was the norm for where we lived. There was a chicken coop in the back yard, a pink Barbie Jeep, above ground swimming pool- everything to bribe a 5 year old to keep a secret.
At some point the secret was told and Sperm Donor went to prison. I went to live with EDF in the supremely cool garage apartments. The best part about living with EDF was my brother. Living with Sperm Donor was like being an only child, so lonely and I had to occupy myself. My brother and I would walk over to my grandparents’ house and my grandmother, tired of us tearing her house apart would banish us to the back yard. She would put a bowl of goldfish on the steps and some juice or water and lock the screen door when we got too crazy. She would come out to check on us. Once my brother peed on the tree in her front yard and out of nowhere you heard Granny yelling “Put that thing away! Not on my tree!” Those are the best memories, and also why I love goldfish.
Eventually EDF met a guy. At some point we moved to the house in front of the garage apartments, still next to my grandparents. It was a yellow house with “burglar bars” on all the windows and doors. That was my first house to live in. At this time I was going to the same Catholic school my brother was attending. But I ended up running away from my 2nd grade teacher and got in trouble. The financial burden of putting two kids through a private school was too heavy for EDF and my brother and I left. Which was probably a good thing because I distinctly remember that school giving me the freaks.
The guy taught me to ride a bike. And I rode that bike straight into the back of his vintage-ish car and busted out an expensive, exclusive headlight… whoops. I knew they guy had gone to jail, but even to this day I am not sure what it was for. Throughout the years he cheated on EDF with “The Whale” (no, seriously, that’s what we called her). Brought home drugs, constantly was at a loss with money, and had a serious temper. He would scream and yell, complain that someone’s “salad was greener than mine” and would walk into the kitchen after work and question “why is my kitchen cold”. He did have good days though. I think EDF was so miserable with him, but depended on his “income” so much that at some point she started doing drugs with him just to tolerate what she could. EDF and I really never got along. I had this idea in my head living with the Sperm Donor that I just wanted to be with my mom. I remember looking into the popcorn ceilings over my bed and trying to make her face out in the popcorn. I would day dream about her brushing my hair, or laying with me at night. But reality was far from that- and as an adult I see that she was just trying to survive.
This epiphany came to me when I turned 18 and moved to California. I was at Wells Fargo opening an account and they asked if I had bought a house or a car…uh, no! But turns out EDF used my identity to open new accounts for the electricity (and other things) so she could try and keep the lights on for her kids. I called her in a fury and her response was “what was I supposed to do? I did what I had to do in that moment”. I hated her response. She could have asked my grandparents for money, she could have broken up with the guy- she could have done a million other things. But now 5 years later I see she really was just trying to make a miracle happen out of nothing. This doesn’t excuse her, and my crappy credit that I had to build back up and reap the consequences always serves as a reminder. But at least I see where she was coming from.
The guy became increasingly angry. We had morning inspections of our rooms. At night the kitchen had to be spotless before bed. The rule was that I was not allowed to go to bed until the guy had checked that my “chores” were done. This usually meant come 9pm I would bang on their bedroom door while they were getting high and had to wait for the guy to come out and tell me all the things I did wrong.
The guy had some good things about him. At some point we got along, but now I realize the times we got along was because he was seeing The Whale again, and so he had other things consuming his mind.
Eventually the guy went to be with the whale after copious fights and me threatening to call the cops on him after he had EDF pinned up against a wall, fist ready to strike. EDFs face was pure fear. Tears, anger, and then the realization her kid was about to call the cops. She said “no, don’t call them! Please!”. That was my final straw. I think I was 16, about to turn 17. I lost all respect for her, and for him. Soon after she went to stay with a “friend” for a week or two and by the time she came back the guy had gone with The Whale.
She called me at lunch my senior year of high school. Asking for advice. She called her 17 year old, asking for advice. And I reamed her. “You are calling me at school, for me to tell you something I have been telling you all along. Leave him, and be done with it”.
By the time I was 17 I knew I only had one year left and I was DONE. I remember one day EDF and I getting into an argument. I got straight up to her face and screamed every nasty horrible thing I could have. She was shocked. I headed for the door and she said “if you walk out you will not be coming back”.
I think after this I called my gramma, my saving grace, and she picked me up.
EDF calls sometimes, I never pick up. I don’t want to say something that I regret, and most of what she tells me I find out later is not the truth. Sperm Donor is still in prison. God only knows about the guy. My sister is killin’ it working constantly and saving for a house with the cutest fur babies. My brother is married and in the Air Force.
Somehow, we all turned out moderately okay.