these memories are very present this week and you know why.
yesterday, a facebook friend (we have never met, but have exchanged text messages, spoken on the phone and commented on one another’s facebook postings) wrote a beautiful perspective about telling women “Just leave him. Take your kids and go.” to which i replied, ” i remember my mom packing boxes and hiding them in the closest and under our beds. i remember going to the post office to ship them. i remember her taking my brother and I out of school and receiving our school records. i remember not knowing what was going on. i remember the long train ride to Memphis. i remember us still being scared he would find her/us. i remember he did. i remember being secretive about everything. i remember being scared for a very long time.”
then in the wee hours of this morning i wrote, “so this is what happened. it was not the first time but it was the last time. (this is my last memory of her being hit/slapped/punched by him and the last memory i have of him beating me or my brother.) he slapped her so hard she slid across the floor. two of her children, four and five, tried to fight back for her. he beat them too. (she is 4ft 11inches and he is more than 6feet tall .) i remember her calling her mom, but she would not come. in my mind, my memory, she began within days secretly packing boxes and hiding them in the closets. then she came to our school one day and withdrew us. when we got outside grandma was waiting with our boxes and infant baby sister. grandma took us and our stuff to the train station. we boarded the train to Memphis. we were all scared. he had hit and beaten us all except his daughter, my baby sister. the train ride to Memphis was cold and long. we got there without any issues. my great grandmother awaited us. i remember it was winter time. the man, my mother’s husband, did track us down. he kidnapped my baby sister and threatened my mom. i do not recall the details in between but i do recall being terrified that he would hurt us again; that we were not safe; and we were not free. we did get our sister back. he did leave. but we were left with the fear he could come at any time and hurt us. and knowing we had no place left to go.“
my mother, grandmother and i have never talked about that time. over the years i have put bits and pieces together about this man and that time in our lives. the thing that stays with me from our story is if he hits you once he will likely do it again and that children are often abused in these domestic situations. my mom could not have left Kansas without the financial aid of my grandmother and great grandmother. i wonder if people knew. i wonder if people ever told my mom, “Just leave him. Take your kids and go.”