Here it comes. The arguing, the screaming. Do they know what they are doing to us. We are hiding from them. I am the oldest I must protect my younger brother and sister form them.
It has gone silent I think he left. Soon she will look for us. I can see her shadow under the closet door. She is calling us one by one. My brother grips my shirt tight as he lets out quiet sobs and my sister (the youngest of us both) buries her face into my younger brothers lap. Trying to keep her cry to her self.
The closet begins to swing open. I can feel their pulses getting stronger. And at that moment the back door slammed shut. KABOOM!
He is back. He starts calling us. Screaming for us to show our selves before he gets angry. We were afraid of what was to come.
She is trying to protect us from our drunken father. But she can only do so much.
Just then the closet door flew open and he stared at us for a moment and pulled me up by my arm, and said, “You nasty little girl. What do you think you are doing?” I kept silent looking at the floor. He still had my arm and he became angry. “When I tell you to show yourself, I expect you to do it!” he shouted.
My little sister cried, “daddy let her go, please?”
He began to chuckle and threw me to the floor.
I must have lost conscience because when I awoke I was in my room with something tight around my head. There she was staring at me with tears in her eyes. But, she said nothing to me. I tried to speak but nothing came out. It was hard to move. My head throbbed and the room spun. What was wrong with me? Was I going to live to see another day? I knew I had to live. I had to protect my younger siblings from our drunken father. Since my mother failed us all at providing protection.
Mother was still staring at me. Around her eyes were red, I am guessing she has been crying. I tried to sit up, and she held me down gently. “He is gone. He went to work. Your brother and sister are napping. Everything will be okay for the moment,” my mother said. You should go back to sleep, you need to rest.”
Rest? How long have I been asleep? I don’t remember anything, after I hit my head. I tried to speak again but I couldn’t my throat was dry. So dry. I felt dehydrated. I reached for the cup my mother put on my bed side. When she seen me she grabbed and helped me. “Why does he hit me? I would rather him hit me than the younger..” She cut me off at that moment and said “he shouldn’t hit any of you, but he does. Why he only hits you I do not know. I am sorry. It wasn’t always like this. It just started. It will get better and we will be happy again. You believe that don’t you?” she asked in a puzzling voice.
I shook my head. “Mom this time I passed out, next time I may not wake up. Besides what if next time it isn’t me. What if it is Johnny or Issy?”
She started to sob. There will not be a next time Ella. If you are that worried then it is time we end it. It is time to stop this abuse. I love your father, but I know what he is doing to you three. I am sorry I haven’t been protecting you. It will change. I will make your father join AA meetings in order to stop his bad habit. I will talk to him when he gets home.”
I fell back asleep.
When I awoke I could smell dinner. I tried to get up slowly, my head still throbbed. But, the room stopped spinning. I walked toward the kitchen. I could hear my mom humming. (She used to hum, a few months ago when dad wasn’t an alcoholic.) She looked up at me. “Hunny your head is bleeding again.”
I started to feel dizzy again. I threw up and lost my balance and fell to the floor. I was conscience. I could hear the kids playing up stairs. But everything sounded muffled. I had to get sick again. My mother was at my side trying to get me cleaned up. I pointed to the garbage can and she ran to get it. I was very sick.
Mother put me on the living room floor with the radio turned on low.
I heard the door open and close again behind him. He stared at me on the floor as he took a sip of his Vodka. He chuckled to himself. Mother ran to greet him. “What the hell is she doing? Shouldn’t she be helping you? Little girl get up. You know the rules! Help your mom, and when I walk through the door you greet me. Just like a daddy’s girl is supposed to!”
I tried to get up but I fell right back down. Finally I got my balance and stood up. As soon as I stood on my two feet I threw up all over the floor and passed out again.
I don’t know what happened. When I woke up I was in a hospital room. My head hurt worst than ever, and my arm ached from the IV.
The nurse glanced at me, “You’re awake.” She said happily. “Here take this it will help with the pain. You should really be careful when you are climbing trees,” she giggled.
I cleared my throat and took another sip of my iced water. “Tree?”
“Yes, your mommy said you fell from a tree,” she said puzzled.
“Where is my mother?”
“She went to get something to eat. She will be back.”
“I need to speak to her-“
My mother walked in. “Hi, sweety. How are you feeling?”
“Tree?” I asked with anger.
“Oh, honey what was I to say?”
“The truth maybe.”
“Honey if they find out protective services will take you kids away from me. Is that what you want?”
“I want them safe mother.”
“You’re father will get help sweetie. He said he would. Please don’t say anything?”
“If I was your only child then I would keep quiet, but I am going to protect Johnny and Issy.” I said quietly.
The nurse was listening by the door. She heard mine and mothers conversation. She thought something was up, she just had to prove it.
I was in my room alone. Mother left after I told her I couldn’t stay quiet anymore. She was upset. But, what choice did I have, If he would have killed me who would look after Johnny and Issy?
The nurse walked in. “Ella this is Ms. Jenny Rose. She works with the protective services. Is it okay if she asks you a few questions?”
“Okay,” I said trying to sound cheerful.
“Hi, Ella.” Ms. Rose said.
“Hello. How are you today ma’am.”
“I am doing fine. Thank you for asking. Ella I am going to record this conversation, is that okay?”
“Um mm… I guess.”
“Thank you, can you state your first and last name please?”
“Is Ella your name or a nickname?”
“My first name.”
“Okay, just making sure. How old are you Ella?”
“I just turned 12.”
“Do you have any siblings?”
“I have a younger brother named Johnny and a younger sister Issy. That is there first names. Mother thought it was special to name us all nick names. I like our names. I got to pick Issy’s name. That made me feel special.”
“Are you close with them? What kind of stuff do you like doing and what kind of stuff do not like doing with them?”
” I am very close with them. I want to protect them from-” I stopped. I almost slipped. I took a deep breath and thought about her questions. We like to play tag, hiding seek, board games. Issy is still young so she is usually on my side when we play.” I thought about the last question. I enjoyed doing everything with them. There is only one thing that I do not like doing with them. But do I share that with her. Do I tell her I about hiding in the closet with my younger brother and sister? I began to talk again. I love spending time with Johnny and Issy. We love hanging out. No matter what.”
I cut her off. “I can only think of one thing that I do not like to do with them.” I stopped. I thought about it long and hard. I was about to say something when the door flew open. There he was my father.
“Excuse me?” Said Ms. Rose.
“This is my daughter.” He stared at me. “You will call your mother and analogize. Right now. Do not look around pick up the phone and do it.” His eyes were pure red. I wanted to cry. I was shaking uncontrollably. Where can I hide. I want my younger brother and sister. I want to feel them cuddled beside me. I want to know they are okay. I let out a tear. “Do not start your crying pick up the phone you nasty child of mine.”
“Sir I am going to have to ask you to leave.” Said Ms. Rose in a stern voice.
“Who are you a nurse?”
“No. Sir, I am Ms. Jenny Rose when you get home none of your children will be there and if your wife is smart she will be gone as well. Sweetie do not cry your dad can no longer harm you.”
I started to smile. “Wait, where is my sister and brother? There not home? Will I get to see them again? I hate you father, I hate you. You hurt me and now I will not get to see my younger brother and sister, I hate you!” I sobbed.
He was taken away by three security guards. I was still crying uncontrollably. I wanted them. I miss them. I helped raise them.
“Shh. Its okay. When you are better you will see them. I wouldn’t let anyone split the two of you apart I promise. Hold on I have a phone call.”
“Okay”, I said. I was feeling better now.
I was listening to Ms. Rose’s phone call. “Take them to the spouse abuse shelter. No, if the mother went there is no reason to put them in a children’s home. They been through enough. I have one child here. She is here for a head injury. Does her mom have a job? Well we will have to help them get on their feet. They all need a new start. I am glad everyone is safe in the end, Okay. Take care of them. Let Johnny and Issa know their sister loves them and can not wait to see them.”
She was off the phone and we continued our recorded conversation. I was happy. Mommy and my brother and sister are safe. I love my family. Soon we will have a brand new start and father will not be back around or he will go to jail for a long time. I am glad mommy decided to stay with us. I am so happy.