Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cypress Street (Ch. 4)

When ever I hear the song "Ooh Boy" it brings me back to Cypress Street.  I was obsessed with that song.

 "Ooh, boy, I love you so. Never, ever, ever gonna let you go. Once I get my hands on yooouuu." 

 I put on my own shows, I knew how to do the running man.  Everyone seemed to very much enjoy my performances and I was frequently called into a room to "show off my moves."  The people in the house would laugh and say things like.. "oooooie! Good job meja!"  No one could do the running man better than me...facts of life back then. :)

The people in the house consisted of about 11 men, women and children including my mother and me.  Me and my mother shared a room with a single twin bed in it.  Next to our room was a heavy, middle aged Hispanic woman and her two sons and a daughter who was around my age.  The room across from ours belonged to Rudy, the owner of the house, and his wife.  Rudy was short and Hispanic and the wife was a very thin white woman with dishwater blond hair.  Down the hall was his daughter's room which she shared with her boyfriend.  She was about 17 and obese, her room always smelled like sweat and dirty underwear. 

We all lived together in a crack house. 

It was a one story house painted an obnoxious peach color.  The front yard was fenced in and covered in weeds and dead grass.  Rudy was my mother's boyfriend.  I was never told this, but I came to the conclusion myself after walking in on them having sex several times.  I was afraid Rudy's wife would be angry if she found out, but then one time I walked in and Rudy, his wife and my mother were all naked I figured she was OK with it all then.

I started school while we were at Cypress Street.  I loved school.  We got happy face stickers everyday if we were good.  I would give them to my mom when she came to pick me up and she would put them on the window of her car.  My mother really didn't seem to care too much whether I got a sticker or not, but to me if I didn't get one it was the end of the world.  Nothing hurt me so deeply as not getting that sticker at the end of the day. 

I hated the end of the school day.  My mother would have to come and sign me out and pick me up.  She was always late though.  I was always the last one to be picked up.  The teacher would let me color and sometimes give me a snack.  Depending on how late my mother was, I learned I could milk the teacher by shedding a tear or two and she would give me another sticker too........I was already learning how to be my mother's daughter.


After school all of us children living on Cypress Street would play house and one of us would be Rudy, one of us the wife, and one of us my mother.  We would lay down in the bed groping one another and playing out our sick family dynamics.  Another game we played often was "vacuum cleaner".  We had no vacuum... but the main reason for this game was so that we could find "magic crystals".  We would get a penny for every handful of crumbs and sand we picked off the carpet, but if we found a "magic crystal" we got a bonus.  We liked this game......We spent many of our after school hours looking for tiny pieces of crack in the carpet for our jonesing parents.

I started having nightmares shortly after we moved there and because of one in particular I still can't sleep if the closet door is opened.  When no one is there to tell you there are no such thing as monsters, you just have to shut the door on them so they can't get in.  The earthquake of 1992 hit while we were there.  I remember running through the house in a panic, pushing my mother out of my way so I could get under the kitchen table like they showed us in school...... I had a strong will to survive.  I think I somehow already knew that as a child.. the best person to care and look after me was myself.

Today, I am not my mother's daughter.  I am a child of God.  This doesn't even feel like my past, it feels like some other poor child's.  Writing it all down and reading it back almost blows my mind.  God is so good.  I have been delivered from such an ugly world, my life is beautiful today.  I can't even describe how thankful I am.

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