Just another hot night in Texas.
At least, it started as a normal Friday night for me.
Sunday should have been my 12th birthday party. And I was stoked, so very excited. Because I get to go to my Aunt Tiff’s house for the day. Just hanging out and swimming in their new pool.
By the way, let me introduce myself.
My friends call me “Hawk.” Well, they call me “Hawk” now – after they changed my name from Michael to “Hawk.” They call me “Hawk” – cause I’m in a wheel chair. And I’m real smart. Get it? Like Stephen Hawking. Get it now? Anyway just call me “Hawk.”
My full name is Michael Wayne Hawkins. They call me “Hawk.” Hey, doesn’t matter anymore. It’s kinda a cool and sad joke all at the same time. But my friends mean well.
You can call me “Hawk,” too.
So it was Friday night.
And I wanted to be alone in my room. But my step-dad had other plans.
He wanted me to go for a ride with him. To talk. Jeesh!!!
My self-absorbed step-dad wanted to “talk to me.” About what? Talk to me – which was just his code for trying to make me say in some way how much I appreciate him and respect him for all the shit he is doing for me and my mom and my little brother and sister.
Doing shit that I don’t care about. And then I’m supposed to ignore the hell he creates for my mother by screaming at her and berating her.
I say it’s abuse. Because of what I’ve heard about abuse in school. And on the Internet.
He always counters by saying,
“But it’s just VERBAL abuse, you little shit.” Yeah, right. Just VERBAL abuse. “Sticks and stones may break my …” And the rest of that bullshit nonsense. Verbal abuse hurts. A lot.
Well, it’s Friday night.
So I went with him on that damn ride. I didn’t say much to him. What do you say to a guy that never listens and just wants you to tell him how much you appreciate him for the nice house and cars and braces on your teeth? I was quiet. The ride didn’t go very well. I could tell his was seething mad underneath his stupid scowling face. He’s just a little six-year-old in a forty-year-old body.
Yes, just another normal Friday night.
This is what it’s like behind the closed doors of our newly painted house with the freshly mowed and manicured lawn and shrubs. And the two immaculately cleaned and detailed matching “His and Hers Mercedes” setting in the brick-cobbled driveway. Mom’s Mercedes is metallic gray with red leather interior and a special license plate – “MY BENZ” – pretty classy, I think. And His is a cold Black Benz. With black interior. Looks cool, but real mean, just like him. He just finished the final nightly polishing of both of the Benz.
Gotta look good for the neighbors.
That’s what he’s thinking. After dark he always moves the cars in the garage so that they don’t get any morning dew on them. Heaven forbid if any one scratched one of his precious toys. It could be the end of his world. Or the end of the person who scratched his Benz. Ha! I’d like to see that day.
Like I said. Just another Friday night.
I wanted to go to my room. Bad. I wanted to go to my room REAL bad. Especially after another uncomfortable ride with him.
I like my room.
Reason is – I don’t like to hear both of them arguing. And I can pretend I am somewhere else. Usually it’s him yelling, and my mom is defending our “bad” behavior. Like maybe we spilled something at the dinner table. Or my sister left a book on the couch. Or my little brother left some Legos on the floor. Or I forgot and took the trash out AFTER supper cause I forgot to do it BEFORE supper.
I was gonna do some more work towards my Eagle Scout (I got serious and started on this at a really young age cause my uncle told me how good it would look for college) requirements tonight, but … shit! The screaming from downstairs was drowning out any thoughts I was trying to have. I didn’t know if my head was going to EXplode or IMplode.
Either way would be fine by me.
Just so I didn’t have to hear the constant droning of their arguments.
I told my grandpa about him – the step-dad. And how overbearing he is. And how he abuses – “just verbal” – my mom.
And my grandpa said he won’t let this happen again. But …
Well, grandpa didn’t understand how really mean this new step-dad was. Grandpa said it won’t happen again. But the monster was still here. In the house. And has been here for more than two years now. One more time.
Friday night. And the screaming just got louder.
Who would be next? My little sister and little brother. My little brother just adored this monster. My little brother was his favorite and the only one he didn’t abuse.
It was like my step-dad was …
… keeping my brother clean and polished, unbroken, unscratched – like a new toy. Like he treats one of his Benz. Untarnished by verbal abuse or the other stuff that I think he was doing to my mom. I thought, but I wasn’t sure. Cause sometimes on a real hot and humid Texas day, my mom would wear a long-sleeved shirt. It was too hot for that. I thought that was kinda unusual. But, hey, what do I know. I’m just a “little shit kid.” That’s what my step-dad says. “Grow a pair of fuckin’ balls,” he says.
I forgot to tell you something else that happened.
Three months ago my little sister had enough. I guess that’s why she did it.
My little sister tried to “harm herself.”
I think with a kitchen knife. I wasn’t at home. I was away at scout camp that weekend. So I don’t know what really happened. No one does. Everyone in our house lies about stuff.
My little sister’s counselor isn’t even sure what happened. And no one in our house is allowed to tell the truth. The truth? It doesn’t look good to the neighbors and doesn’t sound good at church.
And that same week, she (that’s my sister) was put in a mental institution. They don’t call them mental institutions anymore. Health care “something bullshit” name. Sounds like a frickin’ health spa name or something. Stupid fucking adult world. They can’t be “honest when the shit gets real.” That’s what grandpa says.
My little sister was sent away …
… for two weeks for psychological observation. The neighbors thought my little sister was away at a math camp. She’s real smart. And I was forbidden from telling grandpa any thing about it.
I think my little sister was trying to let people know about what happens inside our house. What else could she do? Poor kid. I shouldn’t have been away at Scout Camp that weekend. Maybe, if I had been at home, he won’t have hurt her. He would have hurt me instead. I should have been there for her.
I heard my step-dad telling grandpa that he put my sister in that hospital to “protect the rest of the family.” My step-dad lies all the time. And grandpa is just stupid enough or blind enough to believe him. So she won’t “hurt the rest of the family?” What a line of bullshit!!! And my dumb ass grandpa believed him. Adults really are stupid. Maybe, they just don’t want to see what is unpleasant.
Couldn’t my grandpa see what was really happening?
He says he cares. Bull!!!
And sometimes I believe him. But he has abandoned me, too. Like my friends. And like my real dad did.
Could my whole family be so blind and stupid? Yep. They sure are. Blind AND stupid.
Well, somebody has to do something to protect my little brother and sister and mom from this second monster.
Oh, I didn’t tell you about the first monster yet. My real dad. I miss him, but he was mean, too.
Like I said, the first monster was my real dad.
A couple of years ago the police shot and killed him. I don’t think they should have. But they did. I was sad. I don’t understand everything; but my grandpa was really, really happy about my dad being dead. My little brother and sister still believe their real dad died in some kinda accident. Just more family lies.
But later grandpa told me.
The police shot him while he was doing something bad to a woman and her 4-year-old daughter. Nobody in the family will tell us what REALLY happened. Maybe someday I’ll get the courage and look on the internet about what happened to him. Not today though. My life sucks enough without knowing about my real dad. Besides, I want to believe in somebody.
My real dad shot by the police. Now this step-dad. What next?
Not again. This time I’ve GOT TO DO something.
It’s Friday night.
I’ve got to work on my Eagle Scout stuff. They’re still arguing in the kitchen.
So I can’t go into the kitchen to get a knife or something to kill the bastard. Like my sister tried. At least, my sister had the courage to try. She almost did it, too. But he overpowered her. And changed the whole story so she had to go to the hospital for “observation.” “To protect the family.” And made my mom lie about it, too.
That fuckin’ bastard would have sent my little sister to jail if he could have. I cuss a lot for a 12-year-old. I learned that from my grandpa. He said it was OK to cuss a little. Just when you’re mad.
But somehow I’ve got to “take a bullet” for my mom and my siblings. And it’s got to be now – right now – before things get worst. Based on the rising volume of the argument, it seems like this night could be the worst night.
Maybe even the end for my mom. It’s been real hot this week in Texas. And she’s been wearing the same long sleeve sweat shirt all week. That’s odd. Maybe this is the night that I get the courage to do something.
God, I wish grandpa were here like he said he would be. Doesn’t he know? Aw, fuck him, too. Grandpa just don’t care anymore. Grandpa cusses a lot, too. So can I.
It’s ALL UP TO ME …
… to do something. To stop this madness. It’s got to be something decisive. Something really good – I mean really bad. Something FINAL. Something NO ONE can misunderstand. Something my step dad can’t lie about. Something that grandpa and all of my friends and neighbors will clearly see.
I have decided what to do.
I’m finally going to do something brave.
I’ll fix that bastard now. Finally.
I have the courage now. I’m standing on the banister to the staircase of our three story house. This should do the trick. No one can stop me. Not now. Good. It’s too late to stop me.
The two wild people are in the kitchen and still screaming and screaming. And screaming. I’ve got to protect my mom.
I am the only one who …
… can protect my little brother and sister.
My brother and sister are in their rooms pretending to feel safe and pretending like they don’t hear.
I’m standing on the narrow banister. It probably won’t hurt much. I hope it doesn’t hurt much
It WILL be messy.
Messy. Real messy. I like that part the best, because the ass-wipe step-dad will have LOTS of blood on his new and freshly vacuumed WHITE carpet.
In fact, he’ll probably have it cleaned and vacuumed before anyone can see it. Maybe even before the ambulance arrives to get my dead body.
I discovered later from grandpa that he DID wash and clean the carpet – before grandpa arrived. What a message that is. His parents came, and they didn’t even question him about his priorities. They are clueless. Controlled by him. Probably afraid of him, too. He used to be a cocaine addict.
Oh, I forgot to tell you how I know this. And what I did that Friday night.
By now, you have already guessed that I took a nose dive from three stories. Head first. Arms at my side. I knew I would die and save my mom. And my little brother and sister. But, in case you’ve never done this, let me explain how this really works. So don’t feel stupid if ya don’t know. I had never done this either.
This is how it really works.
Have you ever tried NOT TO BLINK your eyes when someone quickly puts their hands in your face? Almost impossible not to blink, right?
Well, now I can tell you it’s the same if you try to land on your head. From 3 stories high. Trying to break your neck and crush your skull. It’s almost impossible NOT to put your hands in front of you.
According to the x-rays and the doctor’s explanation, I must have used my hands at the last nano-second. Grandpa told me the doctor said there were no compression fractures in my wrists but I had broken my arms, both legs, one hip and some facial bones.
And brain damage. Spinal cord damage. That’s the part that really sucks.
And lots of blood on the carpet. I really liked that part when grandpa told me. But that made matters much worst. I didn’t know anyone could get so mad about some stupid blood on the carpet.
I lived (yuck!) …
… and I left blood and bone fragments on his clean carpet. Yeah!!! He was mad. Real mad about the blood. In a rage – AT MY MOM? I heard that from grandpa. I don’t remember the actual event. Brain damage, remember.
I might be able to walk some day. But I didn’t die. That sucks. I really fucked this up. Because step-dad is even more mad than ever. And he doesn’t use me as his target anymore. He can’t really. What can he do to me now?
Grandpa said that security guards had to remove my step-dad from the hospital that Friday night while I was in emergency surgery. Grandpa said he was screaming at my mom about what a poor parent she was. That I “needed to grow a pair of fucking balls and be a man.” That’s a quote from him (the monster) according to grandpa. At least now, one of his rage attacks is recorded on the hospital video system. And he cannot re-enter that hospital again.
Grandpa said that …
… he (grandpa) has been kicked out of a bar before, but he’s never been kicked out of a hospital. Grandpa says, “It must take some kinda special stupid to get kicked out of a hospital emergency room.” Like maybe a crazed cocaine addict. Recovered addict? Right!
The next day grandpa came to watch my younger brother and sister while mom was with me in the hospital. And in the surgery room.
The bastard step-dad screamed at grandpa for walking on the wet carpet that he had just cleaned (where my blood had been). Grandpa told me, “That’s when I decided to buy a weapon. I didn’t realize how really crazy this ass-wipe man is. Hawk, I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening to you. This man fooled me once. Not again. This stops here.”
Fast forward. It’s six months later now.
Well, I’m out of the hospital now, and the crazy man (remember, the recovered cocaine addict guy) is back in the house. I’m in a wheelchair with some permanent damage. I can kinda sorta move my arms, but I still can’t move my legs at all.
The good news is that I got to celebrate my 12th birthday in the hospital with Aunt Tiff and some of the nurses. They were real nice to me. Grandpa and my cool uncle visited almost everyday. Grandpa looked like shit. He looked like a new kinda tired and angry all combined. He didn’t talk about my step-dad at all. Or my mom. Not one word. But I could tell he wanted to talk about them. I could tell. I know his face when he wants to say things but doesn’t.
I’m at home now.
But now I’m really angry with grandpa. He said he would NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.
The news in the neighborhood is that… I can’t friggin’ believe what I just heard. Evidently, the whole world thinks “Hawk fell down the stairs.” How stupid can they be? How clumsy do they think that I am? With my injuries and the x-rays and the doctor – it all proves that I could not have fallen down the stairs. This is just plain fucked. “FUBAR” is the expression grandpa uses from some war he fought.
And the crazy man is back.
Oh, I said that already. Un-frickin-believable. But I will say it again, because I still can’t believe it. I thought there were laws for people like him. But people only believe what adults tell them. People don’t listen to kids.
Mom’s working two jobs now to pay for my medical bills; because “he” says she is a bad parent, and it’s her fault that her “little fuckin’ momma’s boy fell down the stairs.” That’s what he says when he’s inside the house. He doesn’t say that to the neighbors or at his church.
Things changed from “JUST verbal abuse.”
To the unthinkable.
And the unimaginable.
Things they say and do in the movies that nobody believes really happens in a nice house!
And I don’t have the right words anymore to describe any of the things he is doing now. Actually, I’ve never read about the things that he is doing at night. While mom is at her second job.
Now he can do things TO me.
Not just words anymore. And he smiles while he does it. (Cause I’m in a wheelchair now. Thank you very much for protecting me, grandpa. You ass-wipe.)
He does things to my younger sister, and I can hear her screaming in the evening. And sometimes in the late night. While mom is at work.
While my little sister is still crying upstairs, he comes downstairs and smiles at me. He’s got this mean and kinda childish Cheshire Cat grin.
I wish I had died.
I should have done it right the first time. Now I don’t get another chance.
Where are you grandpa?
With your weapon? You promised. Some war hero you are. You lazy, worthless bastard.
Adults don’t care. They only see what they want to see. They want to see their kids and grandkids in their quiet neighborhoods and freshly mowed lawns in their “safe” gated communities.
Mom is at work tonight.
I am trying to sleep downstairs in my specially designed bed.
And I can hear the muffled screams of my sister. And the weird moans of my step-dad. Sounds like he’s putting a pillow on her head tonight. So the neighbors can’t hear cause it’s a cool night and the windows are open.
My little brother is forced to listen. He’s really too little to understand. He just knows it’s not right; he has no idea about what to do. He just plays the new video game the bastard just bought for him. While the little guy listens to his sister scream and moan. And cry herself to sleep. What else can the poor little guy do? I don’t blame him. My little brother doesn’t have much choice.
The good news is my little brother is pretty happy (pretends to be anyway), because he gets new video games if he doesn’t tell mom anything.
Anyway, both of the matching Benz (mom takes a bicycle to work to her second job to save money) are parked in the driveway tonight – freshly washed and detailed. And their wheels turned at the perfect angle – just like they should be. On display. To impress.
The matching Benz look good tonight.
And when he’s finally done with my sister, he’ll put the cars in the garage so they don’t get any morning dew on them.
Another peaceful night in our “safe” gated community.
The carpet is clean where my blood used to be.
And they still got their matching Benz.
On display. Wheels turned. Perfect.
This is the final part of a three part series. Return to part two.