Lessons (2)

Warning: Contains content not suitable for all ages or readers.

After my middle sister and I left my mom’s, it wasn’t to live with my grandmother as I initially thought. Instead it was to live with my Aunt…and I don’t think we were with her for 3 months before she was mad enough to say she should have just let us go into foster care. We also got used to her saying she would send us back to our mom’s, we can go live with our father, or whatever she had given us she can take right back. But, we had a clean room and house, our laundry was always done, real food was always available for all the meals, and our clothes and shoes were exactly what we wanted. We also were back in the safer area of Northeast Philly, with a school that had lights and textbooks.

We were with my Aunt for about a year before my mom moved into the same part of Philly, making it possible for us to live with her again, and stay in the same school district. I also started seeing my father again. My Aunt had somehow found him to try and get child support, and my middle sister and I actually started to spend some summer’s out in Mexico. Back in the States, my mom hadn’t really changed. I was almost 11, waking up in the middle of the night to feed and change my baby sister, then getting up to go to school, and coming home to try and make dinner. On the weekends I remember a nice amount of times walking the 4 blocks to the laundry mat, by myself, carrying two huge trash bags of laundry. We also had a ton of roaches, like all the other places my mom lived in, and couldn’t watch any t.v. because it was in the living room…the living room was where my baby sister’s father lived, so we stayed away from him.

My baby sister’s father was not new, he was around from the time I was 5, but he and my mom would drink, or get high, and have the most crazy fights. Hitting, breaking things, and the loudest yelling would take place during these wars. I remember so many nights of my middle sister and I being made to get dressed, wait at a bus stop, check into a hotel, and have only a few hours sleep before having to get up for school the next day. My mom would leave him for a bit, then take him right back. And this went on for a decade. I just didn’t understand why two people that seemed to hate each other kept getting back together. Now I realize it was a combination of having no where else to go, and being lonely. My baby sister’s father eventually became one of those homeless men you see sleeping in the park…and he died alone, after hitting his head on a curb.

The summer I was 12 years old, I went to Mexico with my middle sister for a visit with our father. He was living in a 3 bedroom home, but he had his wife, her 4 kids, our baby brother, and my father’s father, all living there. Throw in us two, and it was your typical Mexican household. I had liked how we did wash on a scrub board, visited the open markets, and swung on a tire swing out back. What I didn’t like was how my abuelo came to my bed at night, but by then I was used to people trying to touch me, so I would just keep blocking him with my ninja moves until he left. That was the last time I went to Mexico as a minor. I refused to go again.

By the time high school came around, my Aunt found out we didn’t have gas, which meant no cooking or hot water for baths. So, she offered to take my sister and I back at her place. We accepted, and it was slightly different this time. She moved to a bigger house, and it was an easier transition since we were all older…maybe wiser to certain buttons. When I was 15, my mom went to jail for pushing my baby sister’s father over a railing, so my Aunt also took my baby sister in. I was again giving her baths, feeding her, and trying to figure what to do with her. She went back to my mom a few months later, but because I “helped out”, my Aunt sent me to California the following summer, so that I could visit my other Aunt and her family. We traveled almost the entire coast of California in a week, and it was probably one of the best times of my life. But I also got to see things weren’t peachy for my cousins either.

Senior year of high school couldn’t finish fast enough. At the beginning of the year there had been a small get together at the house of one of my “friends”. It was mostly boys I had known for years at school, but you throw in alcohol, and I guess we all have the potential to be someone else. That was my first time becoming black-out drunk. One of the boys decided it would be o.k. to take me upstairs. I couldn’t fully recall everything that happened, just bits and pieces here and there. But after, one of the other boys tried to intimidate me by saying he still had my underwear while we were at school the following week…and there were pictures taken of me completely passed out, luckily fully clothed. I acted like I didn’t care and it blew over, but it could have turned out so much worse. And it showed me not everyone is your friend, even if they act like it.

The end of senior year had me forgetting all the bad stuff. I was going to be starting a new life in college, and leaving all the mess behind me. I had applied to only two colleges, and got accepted to both. Between scholarships, grants, and loans, I was going to Penn State University, main campus, without even having to pay for food. I actually went to my Senior Prom, was on the Yearbook, and had two jobs. Things were normal, and I was ready for life! The excitement of living on campus and getting away from everyone had me ready to take on the world. But, of course, life doesn’t always go as we hope, and I just had to push through the next chapter.

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