NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. PLEASE DON’T READ IF YOU’RE EASILY UPSET.
“You can never tell.” My childhood theme song. “You can never tell that we did this.”
My cousin – or I had been told he was my cousin – was tucking his little penis back into his pajamas and tiptoeing off so as to not wake my father. I hated the game. I hated being touched where I was not ever supposed to let anyone except for the doctor touch me.
But robbie was my favorite cousin. So cute. I loved his blue eyes and would do anything so he would look at me.
“The game goes like this, I make sure you’re a girl and you make sure I’m a boy. But we can only do this after we go to bed.”
I wondered why penises were so soft? At age 6 I had no idea what a vagina even was and I didn’t like him touching it. But I did like the feel of the testicles.
Then one day, we were all playing in the “Game Room.” Robbie took my hand and pulled me into the dark closet. I didn’t like it when he shut the door. The air tasted bad in here. he put my hand in his pants and was trying to get his hand down mine. I didn’t like not being able to see.
Now I could hear jay and ricky outside the door.
“I thought we only played this in bed.”
“I want to play now.”
The light hurt my eyes when jay threw open the door. The look in his eyes, whole, conversations passed between us without uttering a sound. Our eyes barely locked before he was off running. Then Robbie went running. I was left alone, in a closet, with my pants messed up. Had I known then what I knew now, I’d have never left the tiny room.
Robbie was questioned by my parents – he convinced them that he had nothing to do with anything. Taking off our clothes was my idea and he had never done anything like that before.
I am being accused of falsifying statements about the treatment my mother gave to me as a child. I’m telling this story to my brother.
“He isn’t the only “cousin” who molested me.”
My brother tells me I have no right to use words like that. “There is such a thing as childhood curiosity.”
“Are you telling me that you don’t believe that I woke up with Duce in my bed?”
“If he did, then you let him in there. He’s not going to be stupid enough to do that with our dad in the house. You need to stop making this stuff up. You have the potential of ruining people’s lives.”
We’re throwing a party in the house on Boone St. We’re not wearing our swim suits like normal parties but we’re all dressed nice. My hair in braids. As usual, I get bored. Too young to play with the adults, too old to play with my little brother.
Actually, I hated playing with him.
I’m called in from playing in the yard with Oscar – only the best, kid dog that ever lived! We’re all sitting down to eat. The very tall, cute man points to my shoe and says,
“Jodie I think you have something on your shoe there.” I had stepped in dog crap and it was all over my pretty boots.
I’m in trouble.
My mom is literally standing there just screaming at me. How can I be so stupid? Why did I always ruin her parties?
When I grow up I will learn the phrase “could cut the air with a knife.” I couldn’t move. Every time I did, I did it wrong and she screamed more. The cute man just said,
“Jesus Jodie, if I’d known it was going to cause that much trouble I wouldn’t have said anything.”
I couldn’t look at him or anyone else. I went upstairs and pretended to be sick so I didn’t have to come down and eat.
My mother takes my braids and moves them around, dancing, singing, making me look silly. It makes everyone in the room laugh except me.
When Judith was a very young child, her grandmother dressed her up like Shirley Temple and took her to the bar where she hung out. She had “Judy” stand on the jukebox and sing for everyone. A pride and joy of the bar. Judy hated every second of it.
I tell my mom “I don’t like that, stop, and try to jerk away.” I’m slapped for not being a “sport” and I start crying. Everyone leaves the room. My mom grabs me and shakes me.
“You’re too embarrassed to play and joke around with your hair but you’ll pull down your pants for your cousin?” The shaking and the spanking. Always shaking and spankings when you made mom stop laughing. I’m told to “get out of her sight. She’s disgusted with me.”
I’m in Spokane and seeing my “crazy aunt” for the 1st time in probably the better part of 3 decades. She’s a mess and I’m sorry I met her. I ask about ricky and robbie. That’s when I’m told they weren’t my real cousins. Aunt betsy got pregnant in high school and went to mexico for an abortion which rendered her sterile. She had multiple adoption attempts and multiple relationships where every child was taken away from her due to her physically abusing all of the children.
She tells me; “I started getting better when I discovered that a huge part of my problem was that I lost 7 children before the age of 30.”
I had no, fucking clue what the hell she was talking about.
“But getting back to the boys….” I got to hear about what a successful business ricky had started. “But Robbie is divorced, living in L.A. He has a restraining order, can’t be within 50 feet of his own child.”
This neither surprises nor pleases me.
“He’s accused of sexually molesting his own son. Isn’t that ridiculous?”
“Well,” I said, picking up my drink and getting up to leave, “if he needs someone to testify for him, no one had ever best call me.”
My aunt froze and that’s how I walked away from her. If that’s the last I ever saw of her, I wouldn’t even think 2ce about it.