Watching the light from underneath the door, curious as to when daylight was going to end. Thus, hindering my ability to see what little I could, but in hopes of freedom. Streaming beams of that glorious sunshine would flow under the door and illuminate silhouettes on the base boards. These beams act as my own flashlight, to see what accompanied me in the confined space where I was scrunched up. Pulling my wrists apart to relieve the tightness of the dish towel that kept them together, I give up hope and turn my attention elsewhere. These are the moments in which my mind would wander into an abyss of thoughts.
Trying to remember if I had left my G.I. Joes figures at my cousin’s house down the street. There, beside his house, was a lot with tall, heaping piles of sand. They made great fortresses and bases when the Joe vs Cobra war was in full swing. Burying my casualties with dignity and honor, along with humming Taps as I laid them to rest. Of course, they could be resurrected upon the next skirmish, which freed up space in my toy box at home. That is, if that damn Jamie didn’t go dig up my dead Joes.
Hunger was starting to set in. Being that the last meal was dinner, and here it is, nearly a day later. Thinking of how I had the chance to swipe a couple of pieces of bread from the pantry before my brother had caused the commotion earlier in the morning that landed us where we were. Always hard to get an older sibling to listen to you. That leaning his bike against the shelf in the garage would cause it to collapse. How did I know what would happen? I noticed from grabbing the oil for my bicycle chain several times that it was flimsy as hell. Always being careful, operating like a ninja in the night when doing anything in the vicinity of that scrap of wobbly metal. My brother doesn’t think much. Always just doing, instead of thinking. It is weird, he is usually the reason I am always in these situations.
Looking for something to rest my head against, I pulled some folded sheets from the linen shelf. Using my teeth to clutch them, I jerked them down like a dog wrestling with a toy. Recognizing the print on the sheets, they were my Star Trek sheets. I really liked those sheets. Last time they were on my bed was when I had food poisoning. Always eating what everyone else ate, I somehow got food poisoning. Do not even remember what caused it, just remember the pain and frequent trips to the bathroom across the hall. Then waking up in a pool of diarrhea early the next morning. I had taken those sheets and tried to get them to the washer. I had gotten on the stool to put them in, and she caught me. She saw what I had done. She started gritting her teeth and her eyes just switched to anger. Grabbing the sheets from my clutches, she pressed the soiled portion into my face and kept smearing them around while hitting me in the head.
It is funny how when I am in here, that our dog always lays right outside the door. She is a good dog. Always sleeps at my feet. Warns me when she is coming. I remember picking her out. She was one of ten puppies. She was hyper, mouthy, and kept grabbing my shoelaces. Thought she would be perfect. Little black ball of energy. She is a sassy one.
I can hear my brother trying to get my attention from another room. Just noticed the light from underneath the door has dimmed. Must be time. I’ve had to pee for a while now. I know what happens when you mess yourself.
As the doors swings open, the usual phrase comes out of her mouth. The one that states this is all our fault and she hoped we learned our lesson. The smell of the air outside of the tiny closet after being in there for hours is crisp and fresh. Not having to smell the stagnant air of the closet as well as cardboard and moth balls.
Seeing the closet door across the house is open, assuming my brother must have beat me to the dinner table. Waves of adrenaline overcome me from the open-air smell, having to pee, and the sheer urgency for food and water. All at the same time. This sparks a weird feeling. A feeling of slight panic but extreme rage. This calm but fierce fire builds inside me as I focus my gaze in on her very intently, realizing, not yet.
This is my every day. The hot tub being the only change of frequency. We were not supposed to be in there and we knew it. It was a scorching hot Texas day; we were hot and sweaty. The hot tub was full of cool water when it was not turned on. All we saw was a cool place to relax and chill. We had been locked out of the house, as usual, so we decided to take a quick dip. Then my brother had to get loud and rambunctious. This always gets her attention away from her soaps and the telephone with the two-mile cord. She came outside to the patio, gritted her teeth and scowled. Before we could vacate our refreshing find, she grabbed and slammed the lid down on top of our heads. I remember the pain. What I don’t remember was her locking the lid shut. We had about a hand’s length of space between the water and the closed lid. We were in there for hours. We passed time by playing little games, seeing who could hold their breath the longest. Then it got tiring and hard to hold ourselves up. We had to get on our knees on the edge seat of the hot tub to somewhat relax and keep or mouths above water. Yet, it was still hard to keep our heads sideways or tilted back in the space between the water and lid. As it got unbearable, the sun started to set. This was always our savior most days.
I remember when this was all scary and confusing. Well, I was only four when this started. Now, just a few years later, this feels normal. This is my life.