Twenty Five Minutes

Like I said in my last story, my foster-father called me Michelle once too many times, and I finally had the courage to not only run away, but actually met one of my brothers to meet me on the South Ferry terminal on the New York side and headed to my real father’s home out in West Hempstead Long Island.  Now my father was very happy to see me, but knew something had to be wrong for me to do what I did without the knowledge of both my foster parents.

I remember him hugging me at the side door of his house and all three of us we upstairs the second floor of the two family house he shared with his wife Pat. His wife was very friendly and gave me a warm hug but just as concerned as my father why I ran away. We all sat down in the kitchen where I started to tell him how my foster-father was treating me for years, but never told him about the beatings. I felt that had I told him, he would have contacted Social Services and I would have found myself back at the Orphanage home, or worst, another foster home.

That was my thinking back then, and I can’t explain it any other way. I remember Star Trek on in the living room and my dad made my brother and I a root beer ice cream float, where he told me that we will talk more Saturday morning over breakfast and that he was going to call my foster-father and  find out what has gone on there all these years living there. He seemed pretty upset, so I think that’s why he didn’t want to talk about it at least for that evening.

I didn’t say much after that and all three of us and watched Star Trek as Pat ordered us pizza for dinner. I remember looking around my father’s living room and  to see pictures of us on the walls. There were pictures of  our school pictures on the wall as well as some pictures of us when we were small. I  wondered at times how he must have felt knowing his children were scattered about in foster homes and at the orphanage as well living in the projects with my real mother in NYC.

I also wondered if he ever thought about if he ever wanted us back as a family now that we were a little older, so I asked him that night, and I will never forget what he said. He told my brother and I who was living with him that he dreamed of one day owning a big house and yard and having us all live with him as a family. He wanted that more than anything else in life. To this day, it no longer mattered to me anymore why he haven’t told the truth about why he left us back in 1967 to be with another woman or why he felt he needed to lie to me when I was about twenty-six  years old.

Never mention his whereabouts the day my we all were taken from the only home we ever knew by Social Services and  placed in a shelter for two weeks till they figure what to do with us. The only sad thing about this all is my father died on the side of William Floyd Highway alone a broken man with broken dreams….I guess it was his time to pay the piper. I may not believe in a God, but if there is one, my father had a lot of explaining to do as well as my real mother.

They made their choices for whatever the reasons they may be, but still had to explain one thing and one thing only… why they were failures as parents. Saturday came along and it must have been about 9 in the morning when my brother and I woke up finding our father making pancakes for us for breakfast. He sliced some apples and folded the pancakes over them then  flooded them with syrup…just the way pancakes should be made. When we all sat down, he let me know that after breakfast he was going to call my foster-father and  have him a few words for him that he may not like, and that’s exactly what he did.  

Within a couple of minutes on the phone with my foster-father, my father let him have it, and from what I could remember, my father started raising his voice and telling him to knock it off calling me names, specially making fun of my legs. He went on to explain to my foster-father how he and my mother couldn’t afford braces for me, as well as the medical conditions with my other brothers and sisters. Yep, even the day we were born, just about every one of us had some kind of birth defects, with my oldest sister and brother having the most serious conditions.  After a few more colorful choice of words my father had for him, my foster-father asked if he can speak with me which my father agreed, and he gave me the phone.                                                                                                                                  

I got on the phone only to have my foster-father call me a rat for running away and telling on him. I could hear his wife talking in the background to give her the phone. She got on being a lot more rational than her husband and asked when I was planning to come home. I told her that I would be back sometime after that evening and take the bus home. With that she told me she loved me and we both hung up. I saw my father upset, and he promised me that if my foster-father started with the name calling again, he was going to come to the house with my social worker and have me removed but never said to live with him.

Where did he think I was going to go if that was to happen? Either way, I never told my father anything after that. For some reason, as much as he said how much he loved me, I  didn’t think he was going to let me live with him. The only place I saw myself was back at  St. Michael’s Home or another orphanage called Mount Loretto that was on Staten Island also, and no way was I ever going back to either one of them that’s for sure. 

That evening my brother and I headed back to New York City and he stayed with me till the ferry came to take me back to Staten Island. We both said goodbye and he walked away going down the escalator while I got on the ferry. I looked back to see if I could see him, but he was already gone. I found a seat in the front and waited for the boat to pull out of the dock. I had  twenty-five minutes to think what I was going to do before I got to the other side.

I was thinking of different scenarios what was going to happen when I got home, and none of it turned out good. Maybe I was thinking to hard and it wasn’t going to be as bad as I when I got there. But, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I had to think of something much more daring than just running away to my fathers out in Long Island. I needed to get everyone’s  attention and so scared that they would have to feel sorry for me and forget that I ever ran away to begin with. What I did next not only got their attention…… but made things only worst.                                                                                                                                                                                


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