At school I was to be rewarded for good conduct and good penmanship and Ms. Johnson had just placed more gadgets on the prize board. On that board was a gorgeous gold charm bracelet that I wanted so badly, but on this particular week I was not the only one to be rewarded. It was another female student and I who the teacher called to the front of the class to choose our prize. As I was reaching for that charm bracelet, this trick had the nerve to snatch it from the board.
Before I knew it, I was shouting in that girl’s face about my bracelet and how she’d better give it up or else. I was so outraged that I began crying. Ms. Johnson tried to reassure me and I can still see her giving that girl the look of disappointment, but I was still pissed. The teacher asked me to be a good sport and choose another gift. She pointed out a “pearl” necklace that I definitely did not want. I took those pearls and as I was walking back to my seat, I gave that girl the “I will see you at 3:15” look.
When school was over, I went into the basement at home and in a rage broke those pearls from the string and dropped them all on the laundry side of the basement floor. While I was in the sitting area of the other side of the basement, Rose came down to do some laundry and had not yet flicked on the light switch.
The next thing I heard was a loud bang and a whole lot of cuss words coming from Rose’s mouth. I got up to see what all the commotion was about and there laying on the floor was no other than Rose. She had slipped on those pearls! Before I knew it, I was laughing at her fat behind trying to get off that floor. She looked up at me, declaring she was going to get me for what I have done and she did. That beating, as I expected, was painful but it was well worth it that day.
Otherwise, like clockwork, I went from my bedroom to school to chores to the basement and then bed. That was my daily life in her house. Rose had me completely afraid of her. When my mother was able to call us on the phone, Rose would be on another phone listening in on our conversations to make sure I would not tell my mother about all the horrible things she was doing to Raffeal and me.
Ms. Irving would stop by for her monthly check-ups and would ask us how everything was going with the living arrangements. I would make sure Raffeal didn’t get a chance to say anything because he would have told the truth about everything and I did not want to make matters worse while living under Rose’s roof. So I lied with a smile on my face. The beatings that we sustained were not nearly half of the abuse we tolerated. This woman was more wicked than the wicked witch from Oz.
The woman who took joy from beating me was the same woman who went to church on Sundays. Yes, she went to church, but like my pastor says, “the devil goes to church too and his name was Rose.”
We never kept attending one church; it was always a different church. She was what you call a “church hopper” who just bounced from one church to another one. I am telling you, that woman would get up there at the altar and get the Holy Ghost, shouting, jumping and praising God. I think it was God, though there was no telling with her. How can you be a hell raiser through the week and a Christian on Sunday? I would just fall asleep and hope when I woke up that church and all her shenanigans would be over.
Then one day the senseless female went brand new on us. My brother and I were used to being able to eat at the wooden kitchen table but things changed when she splurged on a brand new glass dinette set. I must admit this table was stunning like a clear shining diamond and Rose made sure we were not eating at this new table.
When Rose called us to dinner, it was the worst thing ever — a plate of damn beans. I am sorry to sound all bourgeois, but I did not know about this so-called entrée until I started living in foster homes because Ms. Brown did not eat or like beans. Anyway, we tried to sit at that new table of hers and got a reality check very fast. She told us with a serious look on her face that we could not eat at her table. My brother and I looked at each other like what the hell is she talking about? So we asked, “Where we going to eat then?” She said, “Over there on the floor.”
Now let me give you a description of this area where she now wanted us to eat. There was a small step down from the kitchen that led either to the right and the back door or to the left and the bathroom. Right in the middle part of this area was the place where her big old dogs would eat their food. It looked like Rose had downgraded us from being humans to being her new pet puppies.
If you think this was bad, matters were made worse when she would deliberately have those dogs eat their meals at the same time we were eating our food. Many nights we did not get the chance to eat our food because the dogs would eat it and there were desperate times when we ate our food while the dogs were eating from our plates. Rose would just watch this madness happening as she sat at her beautiful table.
Passed Around By Man But Not Passed Over By God Chontate Brown Copyright ©2013 All rights reserved.