After months of Jack in the Box and Nine Ball my mother and I moved in with a man named Dale and his brother Dean. They lived in a brand new house in a brand new sub division... It was nice and had a large, lush, green yard. All the houses in the sub-division were identical, just painted different colors. The inside of the house was completely carpeted except for the kitchen and the air conditioner was always on so that it was freezing inside.
Dale was an average man with black hair and brown beady eyes. We gave him part of our welfare check and he let us stay in one of his empty rooms. Dale and his brother seemed "normal" to me and I couldn't figure out why they were helping us. I had learned by the ripe old age of nine that most of the time people don't do things for nothin'. Dale wasn't a druggie, I could tell just by looking at someone whether they were junkies or not by then too. I also didn't suspect him of having sex with my mother... so what were his motives? That was a word my mother taught me, "people always have ulterior motives," she would say.
I started at a new school and spent my afternoons watching Dean workout on his Nautilus machine. He was younger than Dale by at least 10 years (maybe in his late 20's) and had the same hair and eyes. I was his little buddy and I was soon working out on his Nautilus machine too. He use to put really heavy weights on and had convinced me that I was the strongest girl in the world! We made charts and tracked our progress. I was going to be a body builder! Sometimes he would help me with my homework and make me dinner too... I decided that if Dean wanted to be my new Dad then maybe that would be OK with me.
Dale was grumpy and quiet. He spent most of the time watching TV and reading newspapers. He had lots of secrets with my mom and they were always whispering so Dean and me couldn't hear. Whatever secrets they had, Dale wasn't happy about them. His whispers would sometimes come out as snarls with his face in a grimace. His constant agitation made feel like maybe I shouldn't unpack my suitcase...we wouldn't be here long.
One night my mother and him got in an argument and my mother took off. I was asleep in bed and Dale came into my room and put a desk chair by the side of my bed.
I knew what he was there for... and my mom was gone... I was alone. He talked to me in a low calm voice and said, "this is your mothers fault, I'm angry at her and you have to pay..." Fear filled up in my body and I felt my weight push me further into the mattress because of it. I was so scared and so angry! I'm going to tell on him!... I'm going to be OK... I'm going to be OK, I tried to console myself. He sat there for what seemed like an hour and the whole time my body was tense in anticipation for what he was going to do to me. I felt sick.
Then Dale flipped me over on my stomach while I continued to pretend to be asleep. When he reached his hand under the blanket and started touching me I jumped up into a sitting position. Then I took my scrawny little hand and slapped him in the face! I don't know where I got the courage. My heart was beating so fast and right away I regretted letting him know I was awake. Now I can't hide, now I can't pretend I'm not here, now this is going to happen to me, why... why did I do that!.... I started shaking uncontrollably and then all of a sudden Dean walked by the opened door to my room!
I opened my mouth and took in a big relieved breath of air. Dean wouldn't let this happen. I was saved! "Dean!... Dean!!! Please... Dean!!!.......... Dean?"
But Dean ignored me... How could he ignore me?...
All my hope evaporated then and something inside of me broke. I stopped moving, stopped breathing and I stopped thinking. I thought maybe if I was still enough I could freeze time, and what was about to happen to me wouldn't ever happen. I couldn't even let my mind acknowledge that Dean had ignored me, that Dean didn't care, that I really was alone. I closed myself off and went into myself. I was not there. I did not even exist. I was nothing.
I was nothing, I was nothing, I was nothing, I was nothing, I was nothing, I was nothing, I was nothing.....