During this time, my father was still active duty in the Air Force. He would generally be gone by the time I woke to go to school, and wouldn’t get home until a couple of hours after I arrived home. I treasured those few hours; I knew that within only one hour, or so of his arrival home, he would be drunk. Once I heard the garage door open I would rush to my bedroom to take refuge from the hell I knew would soon be cast upon me.
Now, let me just remind you; Jay was not a happy drunk, in fact he was quite the opposite. He was a mean and nasty drunk and somehow seemed to have a knack to make me the mouse in his eye of the tiger. Every time he got shit-faced, I would be a target practice for his amusement. He’d find something to hone in on me about. Whether it be that the dishes were not done to his satisfaction, I left my shoes in the living room, I forgot to do something he told me to do…whatever he came up with wound up being a nightmare I would have to bear.
My mother dare not interfere, which, as you already know, was for the betterment of the incident. It still hurts to know that she was petrified of him, so much so, that she too was a trapped and caged animal unable to make the decisions to change it all, once and for all. I knew it was all fucked up, but I could do nothing to convince her to leave the man who brought so much grief and terror to our family. She, it turned out, was more afraid of him than I ever had been. She always believed that God would work things out. God never did.
Once, I remember her going through the house with a bottle of olive oil, anointing, his stash of vodka, or whiskey, beer, or whatever kind of alcohol he had in the house, speaking in tongues. She truly believed that the power of the Lord would save the man who was not a savable man. I could see the hope in her eyes; I could smell the disappointment that would come of it. I felt so sorry for her.
Just as I knew it would before I bound the bus to hell, the life I lived became unbearable. Name-calling, back-handed; lip swelling smacks, belittling, and bullying were as normal for me as it had been always. Drunken nights of his sick amusement on my behalf became the normal, once again. I knew all of this would soon be my reality before I boarded the bus back to Mississippi. I could go on and on of the wrongs that man bestowed upon me, but what’s the use? I should just leave it as simple as I can. He was inhumane and cruel towards me and a father no one would be happy to claim.
Escape plans muscled their way into my tortured mind. I had the hardest time realizing that my mother watched it all happen and did nothing. My options were limited: Kill myself and submit my torturous life to an unknown reality, or get the fuck outta there as quickly as possible. I was a God-fearing kid, so the latter would have to work itself out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…Nanny used to tell me that, I think it may be in the Bible, but I’m not sure.
There was a gas station that my mother frequented on her way to work. All of the attendants knew her well. Plans were made with a girl from school who I was friends with, to drive me to the Biloxi Greyhound Bus Station one evening after dinnertime. It was my time to escape. You gotta do, what you gotta do, after all.
I called the little convenience store, pulled off an Oscar winning portrayal of my sweet mother’s voice and told them that I would soon arrive with a sixty-dollar check. I bought a carton of cigarettes with part of it, gave my friend a little gas money, and had just enough for a ticket back to Houston. Following the old adage, “Desperate people do desperate things,” I was outta there. Jay had been beating me up, tormenting me and making my life a living hell. I was a captured cat in a cage bound for euthanasia. It was the only chance I had to get away. Yes, I broke the law, I think you may have too, if you were in my shoes. Freedom, this time would turn out to be but a brief moment in time.
I took the Greyhound Bus back to Houston and went directly to my friend Kyle’s house. His was the only place I felt safe, I trusted him and his family. Knowing my mother would be worried sick, I called her ‘collect’ to let her know I was okay. It was the mistake that warrants this part of my story. Upon receiving the call, and most assuredly at my fathers insistence, my mother told the operator I was a runaway. I quickly hung up the phone, thinking that if I hung up, the call couldn’t be traced, you know, like they do in the movies. Damn movies, they lie!
The next morning I was awakened by two Houston Police Officer’s. I mean they had full guns drawn; the whole bit. It was very scary, as you might imagine it would be. I was taken downtown and to juvenile jail, where I traded my clothing for an orange jumpsuit, awful plastic sandals and a blanket. I stayed there for about a week, until my father came to pick me up. Jail seemed like a better alternative.