“I held my breath, and my heart leaped into my throat with every swerve of the raging car. My eyes clinched tighter and tighter to avoid my front seat view. Will we make it home alive? My stepfather, Cory, was hunched drunkenly over the steering wheel, his eyes as wild as a rabid dog’s. There was blood all over the front of him, and his hair was clumped and matted where the blood still flowed from his scalp. Every minute of two he swore and punched the dash, causing the car to swerve on the highway. I glanced down at the speedometer. We were doing 110.
My mom had run off with an old boyfriend and I couldn’t exactly blame her. Cory had been beating on her, again. Only this time, when he came looking for her, we were at my Aunt Dorothy’s. Auntie had been so afraid for my mom that she hit Cory over the head with a cast-iron frying pan and called the police. Of course, when the police showed up, Cory was long gone, and us with him. There we were hurtling down the road while he screamed at the top of his lungs. We had already been to several places looking for her. Cory went from looking as if he planned to kill her when he saw her next to crying and talking about how much he loved and needed her. My younger siblings sat silently in the back, petrified. Whenever I glanced back at them, their eyes were huge with terror. I felt sorry for them.
To this day, much of my childhood is cloaked in fog. Memories of my early upbringing come up detached from time and place. When I was very young, my sister, Shiloh, dropped me off at school as she did every morning. I remember sitting on the swing set long after classes had begun, watching a group of ants trundle about on the ground by my feet. This was not an unusual activity for me. I spent a great deal of time lost in thought, daydreaming while the world rushed by, because the daydreams were safer than reality.”