My heart sunk. I just knew that I was gonna get another beating for talking to them even though I don’t say anything. I went into the locker room and locked myself into a stall. I figured if I don’t come out they won’t bother me. After 1 hr Mrs. Williams came to talk to me. “Sweetie you must come out its gonna be ok” I stated no I just want to go home cause I’m gonna get in trouble if they find out that y’all even spoke to me. So I stepped out and went with Mrs. Williams to the office and sat down to talk to the caseworker. I’ll never forget her name was Mrs. Taylor. She was a frail old woman who looked like a librarian. She was very inquisitive and very demanding of answers. She had this notebook where after every question she would write something down. I know she could tell that I didn’t want to talk to her. After about 10 minutes I seen my little sister came walking into the office. But I was refusing to answer her questions I just nodded no to all her questions…….
The next day I kept remembering the phone call my dad received. It was told to him that his father died. He would have to go back to St. Thomas bury him. The look on his face was a sad one. Henry proceeded to tell me that I am his first born child. So I would have to be the one to take care of him or bury him if need be. I would be the sole heir to everything he inherits. That placed a bigger burden on me. Why me? What makes you think after all these things I would want to do that? In my mind I always wished he was dead. All day at school I was angry. Angry at the fact that I just learned in class what molestation was. I was in a state of shock because that’s what they did. I got to Mrs. Williams class and sat at the sowing machine. As I began to sow I started to cry. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I stormed out the classroom and sat in the gym alone to think. A while later Mrs Williams came to talk to me. Sweety what’s wrong? I stated that I didn’t want to talk. She handed me my notebook back and it read:
Dear sweety,. When you hurt I hurt. When you cry I cry. You are like a daughter I never had but always wanted. As you get older never let anything get you down. I’m always here for you and with you. Just know if I had it my way I would adopt you. But you be strong and never shed a tear. Write in this journal and this will be just between us. Love you sweety.
Love Mrs. Williams
A counselor Mrs. Timmerman entered the gym letting me know that a case worker wanted to talk to me. The look on my face was a horrible one…………
The next day was a good day at first. Grandma had to go to work so we got taken to our great grandmother TETE. She was a scary woman. You never seen her but you heard her. I feared her because I felt like she was a ghost or something. She always seemed to know what we was doing and she was upstairs in bed. Word had it she had no legs. The house was a creepy house it was the biggest in the neighborhood. I always liked looking at the bubbles coming out of the washing machine.It wasn’t hooked to a drain back in the day it was just lying on the ground when it drained. This day we didn’t know our parents was coming up. Yep a family reunion was planned. We would all travel to the park and party. I met all kinds of people but I still never felt like I fit in. I felt like I was just placed in this family. Then we played volleyball, dodge ball and whatever ball you thought about we played it. The hot dog what a snack. It was the best invention yet. I love mines with ketchup and mustard.If you burn it a little it taste better. So after the reunion we went back to Grandma’s house. Rochelle told my mom about my period coming on. My mother wasn’t pleased. My father just looked me up and down whispering it’s time now. Whatever that ment it didn’t sound good. Grandma made it home from work. We cooked and ate. We went to sleep with our things packed to leave the next day. The next day we said our goodbyes and packed up in the car. It was a long ride home. I was ready to get home to see Noah. He always made me happy. We got home unloaded and was allowed to go outside to play. As I walked around the house I always sat on the back porch. I could see into Noah’s back yard. We always talked back there quietly. When I didn’t see him I got worried. My only friend gone. I hear my father calling for me. I run around to the front of the house and go inside. Dominique get my medication and let’s go. My mother shot passed me as I went to the refrigerator and stormed out. As I went into the room Henry locked the door behind me sit on the bed. The phone rung when my father answered he began talking in our dad side of the family language. I understood everything that was said ………
One day the game wasn’t so fun. So the next day we woke up to go to church. The church van came and got us. There was this church we went to it had actual ATMs inside. You had to pay to get in. My grandmother gave them $25.00. Grandma why you had to pay for us to get into church? Edna replied it’s Gods house don’t ask questions. We sat inside it was singing and dancing and preaching. They must have passed the collection plate 3 times. I already didn’t like this church. As I sat I read the offering slip. Bank account number, w-2 form, work info. Why they gotta know all that to join I dont work. After service we got back home and sat in the living room. Grandma went in the kitchen and cooked. Greens, yams, baked macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and fried gizzards. I didn’t eat those. Afterwards we went and played. She called for me to come inside. I went and got the bow box and sat on the floor between her legs as she did my hair. What colors bows you want. Silver I replied. As she finished up she asked me to go get Lidia. I went outside but I didn’t see her. I walked down the street didn’t see her. I went back inside. Grandma I don’t are her. So I sat and watched TV. At 6 pm Tiffany cane to the door Dominique come on it’s time for the game. We ran around the neighborhood knocking and running again we got to the old man house and they knocked and ran. I ran on my grandma’s porch and sat in the chair I didn’t want to be a part of this. No one came to the door so they knocked again he yells who is it. They all giggled in the bushes. James knocked again harder this time. He opened the door this time with a shot gun. I looked in shocked. You kids better so playing at my door before I shot one of you and he pointed the gun straight into my face. Grandma stopped outside yelling why you pointing that gun at my grandbaby she sitting on the porch she didn’t do it. He went back into the house. That night Donnie Rochelle Lidia was in the living room grandma talked to us all about playing and to stop playing that game. We all went to bed right after….
As I got ready for school I had this thought in my head. How to get out. Go pray talk to God is all I heard. I made it to school. It was a good school for the most part. Summer was about to begin. I was sad because I had to say goodbye to Mrs. Williams. She assured me I would see her next year. After school we headed to Virginia to Grandma’s house. We get there I was so happy. I felt safe I felt happy. We got to play outside I wasn’t locked in my room. But I kept having these sharp pains. Grandma Edna just said you’ll be ok go take a hot bath. With yo hairy self. I smiled and sat in the tub. I closed my eyes and just thought about being here forever. I opened my eyes and all the water in the tub was a dark red. It reminds me of my father’s blood. I hated it. I let out loud screams I thought I was dying. I couldn’t move and I cried and cried. My grandmother came running in the room. She seen the blood and assured me I was gonna be ok. She closed the door and spoke with me. Did anyone touch you. I didn’t answer I just cried because I was hurting. My mom came in and said something is always wrong with you. My grandmother stated I think this her period. We went to the hospital where doctors did some poking and asking questions. I was just 8 yrs old.The doctors said I had a hormone imbalance and it’s causing me to start my cycle early. She will be ok. We get home Rochelle talks to me about pads and tampons. Mom refused. I went to bed with my grandmother. The next day Rochelle showed me how to change pads. We went outside. Across the street stayed a boy name James. He was cute he always spoke to me. On this day we all went for a walk. We talked and talked. I felt happy as I did when I would talk to Noah. We played he taught me how to play checkers. My little sister Lidia came and played with us sometimes. Donnie was always mad. Later that week I came to play with James and he wouldn’t talk to me. But when Lidia came out he jumped up and played with her and Donnie. Rochelle was gone with the city girls and Henry III was playing Nintendo. I was confused. I asked grandma before she went to work why James stop playing with me. She said” don’t worry baby he will” Donnie came in the house for water and said nasty girl haha James likes Lidia now. He don’t want no one that bleeds that’s nasty. And ran out the house. I knew then that this was gonna be a long summer. I sat on the porch and looked around at all the kids playing. I met a girl named Tiffany she came and sat with me. Hi I’m Tiffany. Im Dominique what you doing. We playing down the street at the park you want to come? I got up and told auntie Robin she said go ahead be back home before 7. We went to the park and played all kinds of games I had slot of fun. It was a long walk home but I made it one-time but Lidia and Rochelle wasn’t in the house. I looked out back and seen James give Lidia a kid on the cheek I just closed the door. Grandma made it home I was so happy because she always have me candy. I helped her cook and bathed. We had my favorite baked macaroni and cheese. I went to sleep. Next day I woke up and we cleaned up the house. I went outside to play and the neighbor next door was a old man. Bitter never spoke. Buy he had a bad habit of coming outside in his drawers. Lol later that night all of us neighborhood kids decided to play NIGGER KNOCKING. what that was I’d when you knock on the door and run. We got in the bushes alot of times it was a fun game ……..
The next day I don’t remember anything. My head was still hurting and my vision was blurred. I sat up crying my mom came in my room. And said we gotta take her to the hospital… At the hospital the doctor asked what happened. Thelma told them we was jumping off the bunkbed when I fell head first. The doctor walked out the room. The social worker came in and asked some questions. She answered the same way. They pulled her outside the room the nurse asked me what happened I told them what my mom said. She took me to a big white room. It was a round thing in the middle with a table extending out of it. They placed me on it and the doctor said don’t move you gonna hear a loud noise but keep your eyes closed and don’t move. The white light that came about was a happy light. I was hoping that this would take me out if this world. Dang it’s over already. They took us back to the room and I layed there watching tv. Thelma said what did you tell them. I told them I was jumping off the bed and fell on the floor. But honestly I don’t even remember what happened. When I woke up had remembered everything. The doctor diagnosed me with migraine headaches and a blood clot. My mom cried but she knew that it was ok long as she follow doctors orders. She took me home I went to bed. I heard Donnie getting his whooping I just turned over and went to bed. The next day I was sitting at the table while Donnie was making him some noodles I remembered this day because he sat the fork on the eye on the stove. It turned red. I should burn you with this fork you got me in trouble yesterday. No I didn’t. He took the fork off the stove and went across my arm it burned so bad I started to cry. He then went across my nose twice causing me to have x marks on my nose. I cried and ran to my room. As I sat in my room he laughed at me and went outside. I seen Noah came to my window he asked how I was doing. We talked for a while I showed him my marks he promised he would help me. My mother stormed in my room… Why you talking to that boy what is wrong with you?!!!! I looked out the window my brother was laughing. Nothing he was just asking if I can come outside. I got a slap across my face and I sat and cried. Henry came in the room. What’s those marks on you from. I told him Donnie did it. I don’t raise tattle tails. I’m the only boy or man you are to talk to you hear me. Nobody wants you but me I’m gonna be your first and your last you hear me…. Yes daddy I understand was all I was allowed to say…….
When I got home apparently the school called because I was met at the door by my mother. She sent all of us to the living room. Who told someone that we beat you and don’t treat y’all right. We all denied it. Dominique why was they at the school today. I don’t know they asked to take me home and I walked away. I told you she talked to them said Donnie. I didn’t I really didn’t. Everyone got sent to their rooms but me. I got a whopping for lying. But I couldn’t fight against it. It was no point. After she whooped me my father whooped me as well. He then got a chair out of the kitchen and placed it in the closet. Sit in the closet Dominique don’t come out till I come get you out. As I went in the closet he slammed the door. Hours went by and as I was sitting in the dark I was planning my escape. I hated this house I hated my life. I’m was so tired if being punished for things I didn’t do. My brother a few times opened up the door laughing at me. When the house got quiet I snuck out to use the bathroom. I sat back into the closet on the floor and went to sleep. My mother came this morning to let me out. Let me put this cocoa butter on you. She went in the kitchen and told my father something then I wasn’t allowed to go to school. I already knew it was because of the welps on my skin. I was home alone and happy. I made me a sandwich and watched TV. Something I could rarely do. It was almost 3 I rushed to straighten everything up. And then there was a knock on the door. I peeked out the window and it was Mrs. Williams. But I couldn’t open the door. I slid her a note under the door she slid one back and walked a away. I ran to my room and read the note : hi my darling I didn’t see you in school I was very worried. I seen your sister and brother today. I asked about you they said you was sick. We can talk more when you come back to school. I hope all is well. The letter ment a lot to me. Because I knew despite what my mother said someone really cares for me. I hid my letters inside the bunkbed mattress so no one can find them. My sister was the first one home then she left. My brothers and sister came home next. I sat in my room. Donnie came into my room eating cookies I told him to get out. He started laughing and started fighting me. He jumped up and kicked me hard in the head. I just layed there couldn’t move. Rochelle came in the room picked me up and put me in my bed. Dominique Dominique oooooh Donnie you in trouble….. My mother came home and Rochelle told on Donnie. My mother gave me some Tylenol and started fussing at us. I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see anything……..
My family is big on not wasting or breaking things. You better have a darn good reason why it’s broken or missing. I bet you are wondering why I never really came out my room. I always felt like I didn’t belong with my family. As if I was placed in the wrong house. I felt lost, hurt, and foreign. I loved to read especially mysteries. I often would imagine myself as a princess in my own little world. In my house silence was key. To speak your mind was if you was planning your own death. Who knew today was gonna be the day I see a cutie outside. Noah was his name he was popular in the neighborhood and always would come to my window and speak to me. We would have the best conversations. He would stand at the bus stop with me till I got on the bus. This particular day at school I was called to the principal’s office. A social worker was there she wanted to know why I wasn’t in school much. And why I was so frail and mute. I wouldn’t talk to nobody. So she asked me to write it down. I refused. I knew that if my parents knew I spoke to them I was gonna get my ass beat for days. I went back to class and sat in the back. I always kept this notebook that I drew my thoughts in. But all I could think about is escaping this life. I hated my life…….I will never forget my teacher Mrs. Williams she was like a queen in my eyes. She spoke softly but it was like she always knew me and how I felt. I would instead of eating lunch I would go to her class and sew. It was like my outlet. One day we was in the class room and she asked to see my notebook. I was reluctant at first but finally I let her see it. Then I just broke down in tears. She told me not to talk to her about it until I felt like it. As I sat in my next period I wondered why I was cramping so badly. It felt like someone was stabbing me. I played volleyball in school that was my favorite sport then I saw the same case worker appear in my gym class. When class was over school was out she asked to take me home. I walked away fast as if I didn’t hear her……
November 22 1987 was the day innocence left me forever. It’s almost Thanksgiving is cool outside cousins over the house. Tiffany and hazel was my first cousins. Me and Tiffany really didn’t talk. She was the type of person who you knew was shady. As the day went on me and hazel was playing with our dolls. Around 8pm everyone went into the living room we sat down watching tv. I really didn’t want to be around anyone. I went back into the kitchen and got a oatmeal cookie and went back to my room. My sister and Tiffany was getting ready to go outside with the neighborhood kids. Henry III was playing in his room. My mom my aunt Tammie and hazel left to go to the store. Lidia was watching tv. When everyone left my father came into the room . Get up now he yelled. I stood up. Why you ate all the cookies. Dad I didn’t I only had one ask hazel. Donnie said you was the last one in the kitchen. I started to cry as he held the belt in his hands. Turn around and drop them… I did as I was told. Henry whooped me felt like eternity. After he left Donnie came in laughing. I didn’t say anything. Did it hurt huh did it hurt. He ran out the room. Why didn’t I tell? Well I learned every time I told I either got into trouble for telling or they got away with it. I heard a car door slam. I ran to look out the window it was my uncle Lee. I sat back on my bed with my cabbage patch doll and my my buddy doll and started to draw. My father entered the room with my uncle. Lee said hello. She’s looking nice. I. got this bad feeling. Dominique get on your knees behind the door. As I say there my uncle pulled it out. I started to cry. Do as I taught you to do to me. I did it and my uncle pulled my hair and forced me to keep going. After he was done my jaw hurt so bad. My father came and told me your not done he pulled it out I had to do the same for him. Afterwards I felt so bad. What kinda childhood was this. I sat in the closet hoping no one would find me. Donnie came in my room my father came in my room. Dominique get out that closet. I stepped out pull your shirt off. When I did Donnie touched my chest. I had little lumps at the time. Put your shirt back on. Pull those down. I did and Donnie felt on me as he was being instructed by Henry. By this time I had no emotion. No tears no nothing. Pull those clothes up. They left the room. I say in my closet and cried. This is the worst thing ever. The day will come I shall get away. I went out of the room went into the hallway and looked for some Tylenol. I got the whole bottle and ran into my closet.. I couldn’t get them open. As I turned and turned the top it wouldn’t budge. God why can’t I exit this life. Why you put me here. What did I do. I cried and cried but I couldn’t get it open. I put them back in the closet in the hallway and sat on my bed. Donnie came in the room laughing at me. You nasty and ugly.. snatched buddy and ran out the room. I ran after him he shut his door and locked it. Donnie give me my doll. He wouldn’t open the door. I cried going back to my room. After a while he came and threw buddy in my room all cut up. Cotton littered the cold white floor, his head was cut off. I knelt down crying again trying to put my doll together. I knew if my mom or dad seen this I was gonna get into trouble……..
Happy birthday to me they sang. But how happy can it be when you get cut a piece of cake but turns out it’s icing. Eeewwww I hate vanilla icing. To day is a cold day. As I sit at the table waiting to blow out the candles hoping to make a wish to disappear. All that could go through my mind was being happy. After dinner I put my plate up in the sink and went to my room. As I laid on my bunk bed my father came in and said happy birthday. Your my first born daughter how do you feel. I felt like shit but I just said ok. He left the room. As I read my book The baby sitters club I noticed my brother coming in my room laughing. I told him to leave. I can go wherever I want to go. Donnie snatches my book and ripped pages out. Shouting dummy that’s why you can’t come out your room. As I tried to take my book back he ran out slamming the door on my hand. Tears rolled down my eyes as I held my hand. I looked down at the pages from the book and cried even harder.I often asked God why you put me with this family. Take me back. I left out my room and went to tell my mom what happened. She called Donnie in the room and asked him where was my book. He said he didn’t have it. Why you slam your sister hand in the door. Mom I didn’t do it she lying. She called me stupid and tried to hit me first I pulled the door closed. No I didn’t Donnie I showed her the pages he tore out. Y’all better stop acting stupid. Donnie give her back her book and y’all go to bed. I walked back to my room. Donnie brought my book back later with all the pages ripped out and ripped up. I tried to put them back but was unsuccessful. What a birthday this was…..