Remember when you could sit on your father’s lap and cry like there was no tomorrow? I remember my dad’s lap used to be my favorite and safest place in the world. He was the one I would run to after school. He was the one who attended all my parent conference meetings. He was the one who taught me how to add and subtract and how to read and write. He was the one who bought me everything I asked for. He was the one who took me to the park and played tag with. He was the one who attended all my school performances. He was the one who would take me to the doctor’s office every time I was ill. But, he was also the one who caused me the most pain in my very early years. He was the one who would touch me in places I wasn’t supposed to be touched. He was the one I had to go press charges on. He was also the one I loved even after what he did to me.

I remember the day I pressed charges on him. It was also the day I went to a foster home because my mom had a mental disorder. I remember being dragged out of the police station by a man I didn’t know. I remember walking into a big white van. Maybe that’s the reason I don’t like vans. I remember crying for my mom and thinking, “She doesn’t love me. If she did, she wouldn’t have left me here at the police station. She knows I am scared of them.”

I remember all three of the foster homes I used to live in. The first was by 42nd street. I remember that the only friend I had at the school was one lunch lady who looked like my aunt. My second foster home was by 10th street. I didn’t have friends there, not even a lunch lady. I had haters. I was the girl with straight, light brown hair and the one the teachers hated for talking too much. I wasn’t talking though, I was defending myself verbally from two girls who would bully me every day. My third foster home was in Northridge one block away from the E.T. Park. I remember I only had one friend in that school. Her name was Michelle. She was another seven-year-old, just like me. Except she lived with her mom and dad. I was only her friend because she would share her lunch with me. That makes me sound like a bad person, but I was seven, and I was hungry. The only thing I liked about that school was tetherball. I would challenge the girls and boys from my class, and the winner received a dollar from the loser. I always won. I would use that dollar to buy a snack or water.

I remember everything. I remember the phone calls that I received from my mom and dad. I remember the visits every fifteen days. I also remember that all the phone calls and visits had to be supervised by the foster mom. I remember talking in code to my mom and telling her how much I hated my foster parents. I remember her telling me I would be with her soon. That soon didn’t happen until two years later. I remember being back with my mom. But it felt like I was the mom all over again.

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