Kellie Elmore, FWF. TRUST

Trust (Low album)

Trust (Low album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t trust anyone, anymore. Nobody. What, you expect me to? What the hell do you want from me. If you can’t trust your own parents then who can you trust?  My old shrink told me I have

Don't Trust Anyone But Us

Don’t Trust Anyone But Us (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“trust issues.” No shit, bitch. I could have told you that first.

I trusted people when I was a kid, I was happy before I knew it was all bullshit. I used to laugh a lot too. I was innocent, maybe stupid. I played with my little brother Stevie and our dog Ginger.

Turns out my whole life was fake because I was living on a whole bunch of lies. I hate liars and I hated my parents. I was caught up in their friggin drama, those lying pieces of shit, crack heads, dealers.

Strangers started coming to our house, they looked scary, but mom and dad just told us to stay upstairs and shut our doors so they could be with their “friends.”

Our parents looked funny sometimes, it’s hard to explain. They slept during the day and were awake all night. I thought parents were supposed to protect us kids but it didn’t feel that way. My brother and I would make up stories about death,  knives with bloody edges, the sound of gunshots exploding, holes in people’s heads, murders and mysteries. I don’t really know why.

Finally, their friend Bobby told me all about the drug scam and why we had the money we did. He trusted ME and told me things, he became my friend, not theirs.  He used to play with my hair and call me pretty.

I was fifteen when I ran away with him because he said I was special. I wanted to bring Stevie but he said “No way” so I left home with him, promised Steve I’d come back for him and left in the middle of the night.

A year or so later I heard that our “parents”were busted and were in prison for grand theft, possession of drugs and drug running and I didn’t blink one eye, much less two. Let those bastards rot in hell is what I thought.

But, I cried for Stevie and the dog, all alone somewhere.
I stayed with Bobby for about a year but I knew Bobby was no good either. One night when Bobby was out of I escaped. I didn’t even care about Bobby and I just wanted to go home. I needed to go home. I knew my parents were in lock up because I sure didn’t want to see them. Not once.

When I got home I went to the court-house, trying to find my brother but they had no records. I was eighteen working at a local restaurant as a waitress, every night and taking a business class during the day.

After working there for almost a year,  I had adopted a new dog  called her Ginger 2 and was renting a room over the restaurant. I didn’t believe in happy or unhappy anymore, I didn’t bother anybody and they didn’t bother me.

I was working one night around 7:30  when a customer walked in. He took a seat at a booth and I was too tired to tell him booths were for two people or more. I went over to him to him to take his order his head buried in the menu.

Finally, looking  up at me were the same blue eyes and long eyelashes that I knew so well. We stared at each other for a few seconds in total silence. Then, we both burst into tears and hugged. We called each others name not letting go and sobbing. It was my baby brother all grown up.

Sure, I made a lot of mistakes in my life but the one, good thing I did was to keep my promise. Me and Stevie were together again, he trusted me, he knew that I would find him and I did.

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Come With Me, Sweet Julie (Carry On Tuesday)

spinning top

spinning top (Photo credit: Creativity103)

i’m julie and i’m 14, my world is turning around and i feel like im slipping into crazy like a snap of my fingers. im a spinning top, out of control, like all my colors mixed together: the colors green, yellow, red, orange, so fast yet i can see the the colors like the threads in my brain have gotten twisted and i can’t untwist them. i stopped speaking a few weeks ago, mom and dad been beating me, they were drinking all the time and throwing glasses across the room that shattered like angry chimes, i’ve been pretty much taking care are of myself for a long time now.

i ran away a few days ago and im not sure they even know i’m missing. i brought only my secret box that i’ve had since i was a child. i keep my favorite top, a letter from my brother, brian, a seashell, red fish candy, and my flashlight that makes me feel safe.

mom and dad once let me play with their bright colored pills like they were marbles on the old, scratched wooden dining room table. i got smacked real bad when they saw i scratched my name and brian’s and a heart on the table. i had big red welts all over my body. cops came and brian and i were sent away for a few days but then we had to go home. i miss my older brother brian but he went to college a long time ago, wherever that neighborhood is. i still write him a lot but he doesn’t answer me.i thought he loved me for real like i loved him.

nobody knows this secret room, except brian. we found it many years ago but we didn’t tell anyone. my stomach makes noise and i eat a graham cracker and suck on it slowly and i have a bottle of water. daddy hits both mama and me a lot, he hits me with a belt and i’m never sure why. it hurts too much.

i fell asleep, cuz my head was hurting so bad, i thought i heard voices coming towards me so i hid extra special deep. ever since mama burned my hand on purpose on the stove the nice lady visited, she said she was finding me a new home but not if she couldn’t find me.  i was shaking so hard i couldn’t stop. she left but some hours later i heard footsteps again but not hers, unless she changed her clickety -clack shoes.

it was late and someone walked right next to my exact hiding place. i got ice cold with fear. i heard breathing,  right down low where the secret lock was and i heard someone say my name, i was terrified, what if it was daddy again?  “Julie, honey, it’s Brian, your brother, no one else is here, just me. I promise. Please come out.” i wasn’t sure if it was a trick so i stayed. He softened his voice, barely a whisper and said “Julie,  it’s Brian, I swear. Please come out Julie I came here as soon as I found out, I’ve been looking for you for years. I’m so sorry sweet Julie, I just got your letters because I moved a few times, but the second I got them, I flew down here and called the police on mom and dad. I swear Juls, I have never lied to you before, have I?

“Julie, he whispered, I’m going to prove it to you with a letter, ok? Read it, tell me what you think”he slipped the letter by the one opening that was very narrow. i looked at the letter and it was some legal paper that said i was going to stay with brian and his wife deborah. brian had gotten married? and he was my legal guardian now. is it true? i asked brian. “Yes, it’s true, you goofball, now get out of there, come with me and give me a big hug.” So I crawled out and Brian picked me up and we hugged for a long time. We were both crying too and he said he had to fatten me up. He told me to pack my things, we were never going to come back here. our old mom and dad were in jail. Tonight we were staying in a hotel (a real hotel) and i asked him if I could jump on the bed. Tomorrow we were flying to my new home, Deborah would be my new mom but I could call her Debbie if i wanted to and the best news yet, I was going to be a big sister!

i thought i should tell brian that i was feeling crazy before, real crazy and he laughed, he said he felt the same way when he was with mom and dad, they were bad people and did bad things. he promised if i still felt crazy he would take me to a doctor but as soon as he said it, i looked up at him and grinned. the next thing he said was, “Darn, I’m hungry, let’s go somewhere to eat, sis.” and wasn’t that the nicest thing in the world to hear.

The show must go on (Carry on Tuesday)

parents

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)

I never said we were an unhappy family, it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, to the people in our homeland, India, we lived “the American dream.” My younger brother and I were born in India, we lived with our parents and grandparents together in one room. We knew no different, the only thing we knew is eventually we were going to “Merica” but we had no idea what that meant. My brother and I just assumed it was a neighborhood nearby.

Now, fourteen years later, we live in New Jersey and own a small white house, with black trim. My mother was afraid, she said, “to be perceived as too gaudy.” We have a front yard that is nicely manicured (my father brags to people back home that we have hired a gardener.)  My mother has the flowers, arranged in red, white and blue rows, perfectly, with soldier-like precision.

Everyone seemed to have acclimated to our new life, except me. I’m seventeen years old, did they think it would be easy for me? As in India we had to continue our very traditional ways in New Jersey. “It is expected of us” my parents would tell me and my little brother, Rakesh to carry on our culture with pride. At the same time my younger brother was getting beaten up in the playground each afternoon.  I refused to call him, his Indian name here, so I made up an American name for him in part to annoy my parents and in part to give the kid a chance at surviving elementary school. My parents were furious but I didn’t care, as soon as Rakesh became “Robby”  life got a little easier for him.

If they wanted obedient and silent children than they should have never left India. My brother and I wanted to stay in India when we were children but of course they never asked us how we felt. We knew we had no choice anyway, we always did what our parents told us to do, there was no options. We were never allowed to talk back to our parents, in fact, we were not able to talk at all until we had been spoken to.  Back home we would not even know the concept of talking back to one’s parent’s or anyone’s elder, it was not done, it did not exist.

We are all playing a role, in our new life here, like actors in a play. By the time we landed here I changed my name to “Annie.” My parents could scream but I did not care, I had to live in this society, so yes, I ignored them. I put up a sweet and demure face, I wore my traditional garb at home and changed into my “real” high school clothes quickly in the girls bathroom when I got to school. I changed into short skirts and tight tops. I pulled my long lack hair into a high pony tail and my friends taught me how to put on make up. I had it down to a science in no time. I only feared my parents coming in unexpectedly but I knew that would never happen.

If I had to stay in this country and honor my parents’ wishes I was going to do it on my terms, that is until I turned 18 and then they would have no control over me. I was counting the days until my 18th birthday. Until that day, and ONLY that day, this façade, this show will go on but after that it would stop, immediately. I had circled my birthday on the black and white calendar with a thick, red marker in boundless abandon, this was my secret. I will play the role of dutiful daughter, I will do whatever they tell me to do until my birthday.  The evening of my 18th birthday, I will slowly and quietly pack my things, while my ultra conservative, parents slept, in their separate beds with their overhead fans and ugly, green and white velvet bedspreads with inlaid crystals.

Having planned this for months the night of my birthday I will sneak down the steps and go out the side door. I will tiptoe quietly down the street where Brian, my boyfriend, will be waiting for me in his car. We are leaving together, we are moving to the Village in New York City, Brian has a friend who has an apartment there. If we don’t like it in New York we will go to Boston, or California, wherever we want to go. I will feel free for the first time in my life.

I have to laugh. They named me Ashmita, meaning rock born, hard and strong. What did they expect?

Running Away: My “Rachel Green” (Friends) Moment

Friends Season 2

Image by IvanTortuga via Flickr

It’s no secret that being an adult can be very stressful at times for a variety of reasons. It could be parenting, it could be employment or unemployment,  marriage, illness or a combination of the above.  Parenting, to me, is utterly delicious but not always easy especially when you have two teenagers in High School at the same time.  Adulthood in itself can also be extremely overwhelming; you are older and things are not as easy as they used to be.  Everything is harder and more difficult however, if you live with a chronic illness. Your energy level is low, you feel weak, you feel pain, tiredness and sometimes sad and discouraged. That is the world I live in.

My husband and I had agreed to meet for lunch in the city where he was working.  I was coming from one of  many doctor appointments and feeling very discouraged. I think I had been to my  Opthamologist who had to relaser my eyes for the umpteenth time for my narrow- angled glaucoma. Or,  It could have been to see my Rheumatologist who is in charge of auto -immune diseases for my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  It could have been both.

We ordered our food and then I excused myself to go to the ladies room. Once I got inside I saw a big, wide open window,   leading to the street. Yes, I admit it,  I had a moment. I had a Rachel Green moment ( for those of you who don’t know the tv episode of Friends, she climbs out of the window at her wedding and runs away). For a few seconds I pictured myself climbing out that window;  I was absolutely stunned. Shocked. Eerily quiet.  For a split second I thought to myself, “I could just leave through this window and escape.”   I saw myself in  France or Italy,  eating warm, dense, freshly baked bread, pulling it apart and dunking it in olive oil.  I laid in the soft green velvet grass surrounded by leafy, gorgeous trees and rolling hills. There were wildflowers of every color, purple, yellow, pink and white.  I was alone. I was another person and, I was happy, feeling marvelous and buoyant and free. Free of illness, free of worry, I had just stepped into the colorized version of my life; I had entered into my own personal  Wizard of Oz.

No one could have been more shocked than me!  I shook my head quickly at the notion, but as I was returning to the table (and confessing to my husband) I still saw that image in my mind.  The sweetest thing was the feedback my husband gave me which was “I don’t blame you!!” I would NEVER do it,  would NEVER leave my family, but the fact that the thought popped into my mind was absolutely startling.

My husband and I finished our lunch and my husband led me to the train, the pain in my eyes like sharp, steel wires under attack, unable to see clearly and with a severe headache that pounded  the entire right side of my face. I stumbled to  Starbucks and bought a cup of coffee and a densely rich, moist,  brown sugar and molasses cookie for the ride. As  the train doors shut, I settled in, seated next to a window, in a chair facing my home and away from the city. Taking small, sugary bites from my molasses cookie I tried to relax.  My back nestled in the old, worn, smelly quilted chair. I sat quietly, listening to the  slow, chug-chug beat of the train like a song that was stuck on only one phrase, repeatedly. I sat in the train, the 2:48  that was delivering me back home.