My life was all beginning, little middle and no end of infinite sky. All kids are pokey little balls of urine and shit and I wasn’t no different fit. Not a bit. A quick wipe down with a chequered dish towel and I was left to get on with it. Things moved real quick. I learned how to yowl and scowl. Then I learned how to chuckle and bite. Then I learned to hold on. Holding on is real important in our family saga.
Holding and hitting. It’s like a family tree of mama, papa and me. But we weren’t lonesome; no siree. I had some sisters and they had me. That’s like one of those rhymes we’d learnt at school. We didn’t do much learning. We was too busy growling and growing with our heads in the clouds. Papa had to shake it out of us now. He told us if somebody hits you, you always hit them back. But I never did get to hitting him back –as you’ll see.
My sisters - they did plenty of hitting and kicking- off for free. They was an Apache nation of hitting. No song and dance. No time to circle the wagons. No romance, religion or second chance.
If I come to the good times I get real tired. Some things are best left uninspired. I knowd what my eyes see-ed and bad news growed for free. If they said they’d nailed a man to a tree I believed the bible and not the story of the blissful family. But if god existed and he wanted to make me real happy he’d have cancelled man’s Christmas party.
Christmas was too much of a test for hungry eyes. Our hymns was raised voices. Set-tos without no stage. No angels. No applause. No apparent cause. My sin was I was an inquisitive child with no spunk or get up and go. An inquisitive child had only himself to know. I askd my sisters what was that thing growing down below.
Well, the hullaballoo was immense. The pleasuring intense. I’d finally caught their attention. They cornered me in the kitchen like a crab they intended to snack on and grab. They made me pull down my panties and show them and give some satisfaction of common garb.
‘It’s a snail growin’ into your belly.’ My sister Jo pulled down her pants to show she never had but one way to wee.
‘It’s a worm that will eat your bum.’ My sister Phyllis bent down her knicker elastic to show she never had one, or nothing to see.
‘It’s a snake that will surely poison you unless you cut off its guts.’ My sister Annie liked to dance. She stepped clean out of her knickers to show how smooth and how she could prance.
Mama’s shearing scissors were dropped at my feet. ‘If I cut it off will it die?’
‘Oh, yes was the cry!’
I’d never been in an ambulance before. Now I’ve been in a score or more. There had to be some moral I’d surely figure. Heaven and hell and a slick sticky red finger.
There’s nothing to be done said one grave face. Make a boy a girl to take his place.
I had to find me a new family. One that doesn’t scream and shout. One that likes my little girl pout. The best thing that ever happened to me: psychiatrists, social workers, and my new mummy and daddy all agree.