The next morning, my grandma told me I would be safe and that my mom and step-dad and sister would be moving to Missouri too. While they were moving, I'd stay with my Aunt and her family. Grandma had to go back to take care of grandpa. I would be without her. What was I going to do? She was my everything and now we wouldn't even be living in the same state. She would write to me and gave a jewelry box that played music. I recognized it off of her dresser and had rummaged through it so many times. An old friend to keep her letters in. There was an old strand of fake pearls and a broach still in the box. I would be brave because I trusted her. Trust wasn't easy to get from me.
The aunt spoke in a loud voice and she had a husband who drove a truck. Just as well. I didn't like husbands. She also drove a truck and we were going to ride in the truck to go clean the cab and go to the stockyard. While we were at the stockyard, I found a little baby goat that kept nibbling at my shirt. An old leathery man handed my a bottle and I began to feed the goat. My auntie asked if I liked that goat and I shook my head with enthusiasm. So she bought it for me. I could keep it in her back yard like a dog she said. Shut up. She really just bought me a goat?!!? We rented movies and went back to her home where we unloaded the goat into the back yard. I was still a little tentative. The goat would stay at her house when my parents came to get me, but it was still "my" goat. The auntie must like me.
When I was with my grandma, I chatted up a storm, but with other people I often stuttered so I kept pretty quiet. The auntie made a pallet in the living room floor. This was familiar to me. My new cousin and I waited while she put the movie and and soon she brought an enormous bowl of popcorn into us. I smiled and was in awe that we could eat in the living room. She left the room and we ate until we were sick. The movie was over and there was a LOT of popcorn left. My cousin started throwing his popcorn at me and bouncing all over the room. I hestitated, but quickly jumped in the excitement. I jumped up and down on the couch and he hopped from the couch to the chair to the floor. We threw popcorn at each other in a free for all and laughed and shouted. I was startled when I heared in a loud shrill voice "You kids quite that shit! Get the damn shop vac and clean this crap up. What the fuck are you doing"?!! My cousin scrambled just out of arms reach and I made myself as small as possible. I knew immediately she had her mean side and I wasn't going to get on it again. I knew what happened. I knew the drill.
For the rest of the week, I walked the line and kept quiet. I knew my cousin had his secrets too. I wondered what he did when the husband came home. He had a step-dad too and we all know what step-dads do to you when you're bad. I didn't ask him if he got stuff put in his butt, but I bet he didn't stay still like I did. My cousin was all over the place. I watched his face for signs that he wanted to talk about it, but he never did so I never did. I thought all children lived like I did. And while he went on to experience his mother's abuse, broken arms, etc. it would take me a few more years to realize that every child isn't punished in the butt.
It was only about a week before my mom came to get me. She drove me to the new house which was pink. I could see it as we drove up a big hill. We parked and walked up a gazillion steps to the front porch. The front door was old and heavy looking. It was painted brown. I walked in and looked at the old hardwood floors. Old painted shut windows. Off the living room was an old kitchen with an old white sink, a refridgerator and stove. To the left was my parents bedroom and to the right another bedroom and bathroom. I went into my room where there was a bunk bed. My sister would sleep in my parents room. I would finish up kindergarten in a new school. Every Sunday we went to the big Mormon Church. We sang "I am a Child of God" and learned about Joseph Smith and Jesus.
My sister was beginning to walk in a walker and was so cute. My Mom gave her a lot of attention and our new life was beginning. The school was not very far from my house. I went there for several months. I don't remember having friends there or the teachers. I only remember the playground. At recess I would get on the merry-go-round with the other kids and just spin my recess away. A watch came in the mail from my dad's parents. I was surprised my mom gave it to me, but she did. I wore the watch every day. One grey day I fell off of the merry-go-round and was on the inside on the ground where all the children's feet where. I was screaming and crying for them to stop, but foot after foot kicked my fore-arm until it bled. I had a big nasty wound that was bleeding from being kicked over and over. The teacher came out to get me and my watch was broken. No one cared about that watch or me. I knew no one really cared.
Day to day life went on. I would try to get my mom to like me by offering to entertain the baby or by pushing a chair up to the sink to wash up dishes. I liked washing the dishes and all of the soapy bubbles were fun to play in. I spent a lot of time in my room. I tried to stay out of the way. Winter turned into spring and then summer. I sat in my room one night and took my hand and pushed all the dirt and dust in the floor to the center of the room. My room was uncluttered with the minimal of things to do. When I finished I ran out to get my mom and show her what I'd done. "Look Momma!! Come see". My mother was very impressed and thanked me for being so helpful without being asked. I got my second hug and kiss that day. I finally knew how to make my mom like me. I was seven now and I had figured it out. Mom seemed happier and we continued to go to church.
My step-dad got a job as a police officer and became a deacon at our church. I was glad because he used to be a mechanic and always stunk of oil and grease. My mom spent a lot of time with her sister and one day she left to go shopping with her. She'd been gone quite a long time when my step-dad called me to come to him. I went over and laid across his lap. We were sitting in the floor. I wimpered as I knew what was coming. This time he repeatedly stuck a safety pin in my butt cheeks over and over. This was a new game. My mom walked in and caught him. I was crying and didn't even move to pull my pants up. She asked him what the fuck he was doing. He said that I had been scooting across the floor and had gotten a splinter. I went to my room and hid. She believed him and never even asked me if that was true. I probably would have lied to her anyway, so it really doesn't even matter. I stayed in my room and hoped I'd get a letter soon from my grandma. She sent them, but they didn't come often enough. I could never write her anything of meaning, but I tried to send mental vibes to her that I needed her really bad. I'd whisper in my mind over and over to her to come and get me. I'd whisper every night.