When I was 4 years old I hitchhiked to Florida with my mom. We started at the north end of Rte. 1 and headed for the Keys to meet my aunt, cousins and brother who had driven down in a van beforehand. I don’t remember much of the trip. One thing that sticks out was we had to walk extra far in the woods to sleep in Georgia so we wouldn’t be seen by the police.
We didn’t meet up with my aunt and them because J____ turned tight and hit the curb and flipped the van on it’s side. None of the adults in my family talked about this unless we overheard pieces when they were drunk. Us kids pieced it together ourselves. When the van rolled my brother was tossed around in the back unhurt. A_____ got glass in her head from the driver’s side window. My cousin was 7; old enough to take the weed and stuff it in his pillow.
Someone got arrested down there but nobody can figure out who. I think it was my mom because I spent a year in foster homes. I remember I lived with a black family and the white kids would throw muck over the chain link fence and say it was shit. I knew it wasn’t shit. They were just standing in a swamp.
I lived with another family. I think they were rich. They had 3 kids of their own and me. They had a single level house with a good size yard. Right on the inlet. We could step outside the back door and walk in the water. We had to be careful for rays. That’s what they were always telling me. I could always see them. The water was clear. The older brothers caught a sand shark. Pulled it right up onto the lawn. Nobody knew how to process shark so they had a freezer full of chunks.
I got my wisdom teeth taken out. All four of them. I don’t remember; gas. They did a funny thing. Instead of putting the teeth under the pillow to get money from the tooth fairy. They set up a mason jar on the floor and a chair. I was to kneel on the chair and for each tooth I dropped in the mason jar I got a quarter.
They did another strange ritual. We sat around the coffee table in the living room; candles burning and had a seance. Looking back, I don’t know if they actually believed in it but at the time I believed they believed in it. I saw the devil’s face in a candle flame that night. I don’t think I slept for nights afterward.
I believe I was frightened that night because of a family I lived with for a short time before that. I don’t remember much of them. What I remember is their Southern Babtist Fire and Brimstone Church. Where I was a sinner just for the act of being born. And I had to repent or I was sure to spend an eternity in hell. Even with that, many are called but few are chosen. Even if you spend your entire life doing it all true. You may still burn in hell. It took me 20 years to get over that shit.
I know they couldn’t afford bail or a lawyer so I have no idea how everyone got home. I remember being so happy when my mom showed up after so long.