During the first part of the time my parents were divorced the first time, I remember living in Shannon Villa apartments. It was another two story apartment, but this one had three bedrooms and I didn’t have to share with my sister.
I am not sure if he lived there the whole time we did, or if he moved in after us. I don’t know if he lived there before us or if we all moved out at one time at the end. But, while we were living there, a man who was my mother’s boyfriend lived with us. As I recall, I didn’t like him.
While we lived at this apartment is when my memories of being hit a lot really start. I don’t know if I was hit a lot before then, but I remember it from this time period. I guess my mother was really stressed out. She had gotten a divorce and was raising two kids pretty much by herself. I can’t imagine a live-in boyfriend was much parenting help.
I was in third grade by now. My teacher was Ms. Elliot and I loved her. I went out through the sliding glass door from the kitchen every morning onto the small patio in our tiny fenced in back space. Behind the fence was a sidewalk that ran along the length of out apartment building all the way to the street at the end. Almost directly across that street was my school. So I walked to school almost every day. I was 8.
I remember one whipping particularly well, although I can’t remember what I did to earn it. My mother whipped me that time with a nice leather belt. My father and mother had these beautiful semi-matching leather belts. they had their names carved or burned or whatever into the back and all along the length my mother’s had roses and vines with red and green embedded in them. I fought against the whipping. Of course. I always fought. Every single time. Even though it always made it worse. The belt hit my face during this one whipping. I went to school for days with a rectangular bruise on my face and no one at school ever said a word or asked a question.
I remember some other whippings, too. Since I always tried to get away, my mother developed a way to whip me without my being able to run. She’d hold me facing her and bend me over and tuck me between her legs. She’d grip my torso with her knees or thighs or whatever. Then, she could hit my ass without me getting away. I always panicked and couldn’t breathe. I am sure she wasn’t really squeezing the actual air out of me, I could still scream and cry and beg and I must have needed air for that, right? But somewhere in my little brain a connection formed that if my torso was restricted no air could get in. To this day I suffer panic attacks and claustrophobia when I feel my space is too small or my clothes are too snug.
I don’t know where my mother worked during this time. I assume she must have, but I just can’t remember.
We visited my father off and on. I guess we saw him every other weekend since that was the court agreement, but I can’t recall for sure.