Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Our Secret House (Ch. 19)

My mother came and "rescued" me from the Mormons during the middle of the school year with a man named David.  I was honestly relieved to be going.  It was exhausting living there.  I was good at pretending to be normal; I learned to mimic others around me so that I could benefit from what ever situation I was in...  I was just like a chameleon.  But pretending to be Mormon made me feel like maybe I was evil... I had too much sin.  I wasn't good enough.  Years later my aunt would also get tired of pretending to be Mormon.   She would ask for a divorce, and then her husband would commit suicide.

The ride back to California was spent with me jumping up and down in my seat asking my mom over and over again about our secret house.  "Is it ready?!... Do I have a room?!"  My mother would just smile and tell me in a sing song voice, "you will just have to wait and see!"  I was so happy that she had came back for me, I felt like I could wait for ever as long as we were together. 

We ended up staying in a hotel for a few days because the house wasn't ready.  David paid for the hotel and spent a lot of time with us there.  He was tall, thin and blond.  He had a mustache and straight white teeth.  I liked him OK.  He had a daughter around my age and he would bring me some of her old toys.  

My mother always underestimated my ability to understand things I should not and had a bad habit of talking openly in front of me.  After three or four days in the hotel I had gathered that David was married, his wife didn't like that he "partied", my mother was having sex with him, and the house we were supposed to be moving into was David's.  David had a change of heart though and decided not to leave his wife.  That presented the problem of what to do with my mother and me.  David solved this problem by moving us into his Shop...

The Shop was a metal factory.  David owned a business that made metal works for different types of machinery.  The main office had a reception area with a couch that was connected to the metal shop by a long hallway.  Off this hallway were other offices, including David's.  David's office also had a couch.  In the very back office there was a pool table and bar.  My mother stayed in David's office. The couch in the reception area became "my room" and the metal machinery shop became our secret house.

I was enrolled in another school where I was ostracized because I wore dirty clothes and didn't take baths.  There was no bath at The Shop.  Changing clothes was hard because you had to be careful not to step on the floor barefoot.  Little slivers of metal were everywhere and they would cut you just like broken glass.  My fingers were raw and sore from hours of my mother picking at them with tweezers to get the splinters out.  Sometimes she would get the splinters out, but most of the time there weren't even real splinters in my fingers, just imaginary ones.  It's never a good idea to let someone high on meth amphetamines near you with a pair of tweezers. 

For dinner every single night David bought me fast food.  I liked Jack in the Box the most and ordered the same thing every time.  Chicken strips, curly fries and a cheesecake.  I hope I never see another piece of cheesecake from Jack in the Box for the rest of my life.  Dinner was usually followed by a game of pool.  

I learned the game quickly.  David taught me how to shoot and where to hit the balls to get them to move in the direction you wanted.  I learned about geometry.  In fourth grade I was at a 6th grade reading level, I was learning about the solar system, and was memorizing my times tables.  I could also break and run half a dozen games of 9-ball in a row.  David called me his little prodigy.  

During parties he would call me in during the middle of the night to impress his friends.  He taught me how to sandbag my skills in every first game I played with someone.  I could coerce them into taking a bet they would lose if they thought they had a fighting chance.  I thrived on the attention.  I imagined becoming the best pool player in the world and being on TV.  I was a cocky little thing.  I'd trick grown men into losing their money to a nine year old and then laugh in their face... My mother would laugh too, "that's my girl!" she'd say.

At night in bed on my couch I would think about how dumb all the Mormon's were... and how dumb all the people were that went to Dudley's gospel church.  There is no God.  It scared me to think that there could be a God, because if there was a God, he forgot about me.  How could God forget about me?  Everyone always told me, "Jesus loves you." 

If he exists, he must not love me... I thought.

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