I am a Creative Writing major at Belhaven University in Mississippi. I was focused on writing fiction, but within the last year I have developed a relationship with God. Now, I am here to tell my story of survival as a testimony to God.
One day during the summer, my father was on edge and watching us carefully. It was always contagious, so when my father was on edge, we all were. My brother was walking around the trailer and he seemed agitated with the mood surrounding us. Walking out the front door, my brother mumbled something under his breath. Immediately my father sprang from the couch and screamed, “I heard that!” Coming back inside, my brother looked him square in the eye.
Three Rivers and a Blessing
It was Cecilia’s third visit to the small white church with the red and black motorcycle on the roof above the entryway. EVERYONE WELCOME the sign read, and right above that, THREE RIVERS BIKER CHURCH. Cecilia had decided to wear khaki dress pants and a simple wool sweater vest that was the hue of a bursting raincloud combined with a long-sleeve white button up blouse underneath. Last Sunday when she attended the church, she had realized that no one here dressed elegantly. Even more so, she had noticed that most everyone, including the women, wore jeans. And there was not a drop of makeup or piece of jewelry in the place. Cecilia judged by the glances of the others that her bright blue satin dress and diamond earrings were a bit much, and she had vowed to blend in more this Sunday. Not just because she was new to town seeking a home church and every other church was forty-five minutes away, but also because she thought maybe that was the reason behind the nearly seven-foot-tall three-hundred-pound biker, Kiran, intently watching her the last two Sundays.
I didn’t mourn my father the day he was buried. I had too many feelings to sort and process before I could be sure of what I felt. What was I supposed to feel? Should I be sad I lost a father? Or should I be glad I was rid of my abuser? I was numb as I watched my Uncle Lee pierce the brown soil with his shovel over and over until the hole was deep enough and just wide enough for the box of ashes.
His Fatal Plan Set in Motion
It was a hot summer day in Mississippi when we piled in my mother’s car and began the road trip from Yazoo City to Gulfport to see my father. Throughout the trip, there was a great deal of silence as my mother drove and my brother and I sat stiff with anticipation. It would be our first encounter with our father after my mother left him and he flooded and destroyed our home and set our family photo albums on fire. I stared out the window while my thoughts poured in like a dozen or more bullet trains with no crossing in sight.
Quarter For a Hug: Anxiety
As much as I enjoyed spending the day with my grandmother, there were occasionally parts that I didn’t like so much. I felt that I was close to my granny, but so were many other people. Although my grandmother had several kids and was a grandmother and great grandmother, she had just as many people that loved and visited her who was not blood related. She often had unannounced visitors stop by while my brother and I were there. When a vehicle pulled into my grandmother’s driveway, the fear and anxiety that I once felt during lunchtime in school would settle over me sending me into a panic. The last thing I wanted to do was have someone talk to me forcing me to talk back. Once when my Uncle Lee stopped by, I ran to my grandmother’s kitchen and quickly crawled beneath the table. I drew my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around my legs. Hiding my face, I lowered my head allowing it to rest on my knees and closed my eyes. Soon, my Uncle Lee was in my grandmother’s kitchen. He squatted next to the table and peered at the tiny, frightened child that hid beneath.
It was another typical weekend night. My father was already three sheets to the wind and was headed toward a blackout. My mother was in the small house that we rented in Yazoo City, Mississippi staying occupied and distracted with household chores, and my brother was tucked away in his room where it was safer. I was left sitting in my room hoping for a peaceful night when I heard the dreaded, “Honey girl! Come out here!” I closed my eyes and fought to keep the tears from flooding down my face. My chest felt heavy and my heart raced. I let out a small whimper. So tonight, I was the one my father chose to come keep him company. I always hoped it wouldn’t be me he called, but so did my mother and brother, and it had to be one of us. I didn’t understand why someone would want the company of a child, but I wouldn’t dare to ask. I took a deep breath and got to my feet. I eased my way outside making sure not to walk dangerously slow. I spotted the little white Toyota pickup truck that he called “Yodi” parked in the driveway and made my way to the passenger side. I climbed in the old, squeaky truck, barely seeing over the dashboard, and sat erect and trembling. Please God. Please God. Please help me.