This whole weekend I tried so hard to remember something while we were living in the shelter for those two weeks, but I couldn’t come up with anything. So, once again I had to use a life line and call my sister to ask her what she could remember that may jolt my memory. What she said to me made me feel bad for my mother for a moment, but then it was quickly followed by anger, not at my sister, but at both my parents.
I wanted to try so hard to feel bad for my mother considering my father broke her heart and just skipped out on us. But being reminded of how mean she was to us when we were little brought back memories of the pain she inflicted on all of us, especially on my older brothers and sisters. What sickens me even more was that my father was no angel either, as seen through the eyes of my sister.
I can remember the punishments we received from my mother, but I also remember the weapons of choice she used against us, as well. If it wasn’t a belt it was the bottle of Hot Tabasco sauce she kept in the top cabinet next to the stove. When any of my brothers or sister did something my mother believed to be bad, out came the strap and the screaming would begin.
If the punishment didn’t need a beating, she would have us kneel against the wall either in the living room or the hallway with our hands up behind our heads, our fingers locked, and the tip of our noses just barely touching the wall. We would stay like that for what seemed like hours. When my mother wasn’t looking, we would put our arms down and shake them until the pain from holding them up for so long would go away.
As soon as we could hear her come out from her bedroom, we would put our arms back up so fast in fear that she would catch us. Now, I want anyone who is reading this to stop, and go to the nearest wall and give it a shot. Let’s see how long you last. By the way, hope you don’t have an itch to scratch.
Now, my mother wasn’t finished just yet. She would take that bottle of Tabasco sauce from the cabinet and pour some on her fingers and put it around the mouth of my older brothers and sisters, and when she did that, the screams would get louder until all of a sudden, silence would set in. I remember looking over to my older brother and seeing what looked like ketchup on his lips, and I can hear him crying, but so low you could hardly hear him.
There we were just in our underwear and a T-shirts kneeling against the wall with our hands above our heads with our fingers locked, and all I could hear in the background was my mother yelling at my other sister in the kitchen. Now, don’t forget I’m just 5 years old, but for some reason I stood up shaking and scared and slowly walked over to where my sister was screaming.
I peeked from the living room and looked across to the kitchen and I could see my mother putting her hand over the open flame and yelling at my sister in Spanish.These are a few of the memories that I’ve seen with my own eyes, and I will live with them for the rest of my life. So, the last time my mother came to visit us in the shelter, she was with my oldest sister Gloria. This visit would be the last my mother ever made.
My sister told me that my mother was hugging each and every one of us telling us how much she loved us as my oldest brother was crying and begging her not to leave us. The last memory Gloria has is leaving from one door with my mother, as we were led out to another door to a waiting van. My sister remembers looking back one more time and crying so hard, knowing that our family was no more.
The sad part for me is not remembering that moment as my sister does or the two weeks in that shelter. Hell, I don’t even remember the long ride to Staten Island. As I sit here in my living room typing this story, with the Giant game in the background, my eyes are watering up, so I am going to stop because my Queen is inside the kitchen, and I don’t want her to see that my heart is hurting…. yet again.