Nothing was the same anymore since the last time I ran away to my father’s house out in Long Island. Spending a week in the hospital over a fake illness only strained the relationship between myself and the rest of the family I was living with. The truth be told, I can’t even remember the last time I actually felt like part of that family anymore. But I made the best of it no matter how uncomfortable it became living there. Even at the dinner table, not much was being said about anything.
I would just sit there, eat my dinner, clean up after myself and out the door I went to hang with my friends. Thanksgiving of 1978 was no different. I decided that I wasn’t going to go to Brooklyn after dinner this year to visit family. Why should I ? Nothing was the same anymore, and I found no reason to go like I have done so many times in the past. Continuing living in this foster home was taking a toll on me and I wanted out as soon as possible.
I was done with the beatings and name calling as well as being around a family that I truly felt didn’t want me in the first place. When I was about 17, that’s when I found out that how I was picked because the system didn’t separate siblings…need I say more…but you already knew that from a previous story. Anyway, when I was asked if I was going, I made it very clear that I wasn’t. That’s right…I said I wasn’t going and had my reasons.
When asked by both my foster parents what they were, I didn’t want o get into the details, but made it clear I no longer felt part of the family and wanted to just leave it alone at that, and suggested we can talk about it the next day. At this time, everyone else was upstairs getting cleaned up and dressed, but for Linda who wasn’t going as well as her brother Barry. My mother was in the bedroom clearly upset as she was getting ready while my foster-father and I were in the kitchen just sitting there saying nothing.
Then he asked the question I was hoping he would. He asked me if I wanted to leave his family which I replied without hesitation that I did. I remember the look in his eye’s when I said that, because he looked not only surprised, but bewildered that I didn’t put any thought answering him. Not only that, but I continued to tell him exactly how I felt and that I wanted to speak with my social worker as soon as possible to be removed and placed in a group home.
He just sat there listening at first, but then started with the guilt trip how he took me in to give me a better life, which I uninterrupted by reminding him of the beatings and all the name callings I endured by him which only made matters worst. He started yelling at me how selfish I was being and ungrateful. That’s when I finally admitted that I no longer thought of him as a father or wanted to even call him Dad anymore.
There was silence for a few seconds and then he just got up from his chair and walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. I was sitting there alone and upset, but one thing I wasn’t doing was crying. Through all the years of crying, I no longer had any tears left in me.I just sat there by myself for a few minutes when his daughter Linda decided to put in her two cents and comes storming into the kitchen where I was still sitting and started yelling at me, not loud, but in my face telling me how good her family has been to me while crying hysterical but coherent enough for me to understand what she was saying.
What annoyed me the most me was that she wasn’t even looking at me during the who time yelling at me. She was looking off to my right most of the time, as if she was yelling at someone else other than me. I found that not only odd but downright strange even at this moment while I’m typing. She said what she had to say, then walked out of the kitchen still crying. To be honest with all of you, I didn’t give a rat’s ass what she said or how she felt.
For that matter, I really didn’t give a shit what anyone thought anymore…this was about me. If they only knew how many times I thought about burning their house down when I was alone, I would have been out of there when I was 13 and not 15. Only once did I think about burning it down when my foster-father and I were alone while he was in the living room watching a Met’s game while I was upstairs in my bed room. It was a Saturday and my mother went out to the store with her other daughter Sandy and my little brother.
Linda was out with her friends as well as her brother Barry with his. That just left us two in the house…alone. I sat there on the bed thinking ways to do it without getting caught by anyone. So I went outside and to the garage where the gas can was sitting next to Barry’s mini bike. I opened up the can…only to find it empty. Disappointed, I closed the garage door and put the heavy chain through the handle as we all did when leave and squeezed the old lock together than went back inside the house….He had no idea how lucky he was that day.
It was Friday after Thanksgiving and I called my social worker Mrs. Cardwell and told her that I no longer wanted to stay in with this family any longer and wanted to be removed as soon as possible. I remember her telling me that I had to stay there till they found a place for me, but if I felt threatened in any way, they would come for me immediately to place me in a temporary foster home till they found a group home available.
I don’t know why I didn’t just do that, but told her that I would stay till she found a place for me. I then passed the phone to my mother and went up stairs to my bedroom. After a brief conversation with my social worker, she hung up the phone and I could hear her whispering to her husband that it might take a week for me to be placed in a another home. A week….might as well said a year. All I could do was lay on my bed curled up in a fetus position wondering what was going to happen next. I knew this much, it had to be better than living in this foster home……or was it?