Iím okay now
††††††††††† Iím okay now.
††††††††††† But you donít get over seeing a thin like that. Especially when it happens a lot.
††††††††††† Iím not saying I hated all of Mommaís friends. Some of them reminded me of Poppa in some ways. Some of them even treated me like a son. But all of them had one thing in common: they beat Momma.
††††††††††† I didnít always see it all.
††††††††††† Sometimes all I saw were the bruises and black eyes.
††††††††††† Most people didnít even see that much. Momma always covered them with long sleeves or stayed out of work until the most obvious hurts went away.
††††††††††† Yet never once did she press charges.
††††††††††† Sure, I stood up to these bastards. Especially when I was young and stupid. I figured they werenít men enough to pick on a kid like me.
††††††††††† I was wrong.
††††††††††† Sometimes I had to go to school looking worse than Momma did, feeling like I owed something to somebody, but I couldnít figure out to who.
††††††††††† Then I smarten up.
††††††††††† I figured if Momma wouldnítí do anything about these guys, why should I?
††††††††††† She just had too many of them, strutting in and out of her life like they owned her†† -- and me.
††††††††††† After a while, I even got to wondering why she always brought the same kind of man home.
††††††††††† But by then, I had my own problems.
††††††††††† I was anxious all the time, always quick to get peeved at someone when they wronged me at school or on the street.
††††††††††† Sometimes all I wanted to be was invisible, not wanting anybody to see or hear me. I didnít think I was worth much anyway.
††††††††††† I went to the nurseís office a lot, too Ė not for scabs or bruises, but for stomach cramps that bent me over better than any punch ever did.
††††††††††† Sometimes I couldnít catch my breath.
††††††††††† The doctor the nurse sent me to called it asthma and gave me pills.
††††††††††† But the pills always made me pee in bed. Ė and for a 12 year old thatís pretty humiliating. Even when I wasnít, I dreamed I was. So I stopped taking the pills.
††††††††††† But Iím okay now.
††††††††††† I guess I grew out of it.
††††††††††† Getting out of Mommaís house helped.
††††††††††† Getting married and a family of my own helped, too.
††††††††††† Yet I canít tell you how upset I got when my own son strutted up to me with his hands in fists and told me if I didnít stop hitting his Momma, he would kill me.
††††††††††† Of course, he got the beating of his life. But Iím no fool. No one would see any marks.