My mom, when she’d get so stressed out that she couldn’t stand my brother and I any longer, would play a game. Only we didn’t know it was a game. And it was one we often played when I was three and four and five and going into six years of age.

In this game, she would sit us down – me in my little wicker rocker with its green arms and frame, my brother in a stiff high backed chair – right there in the little anteroom between the living room and hallway.

Then she would get on the phone.

“I’m calling the Bad Boy’s Home to come get you,” she’d say, punching in the numbers. “I’m SICK of you two. I never wanted you bastards anyway. You two are SO bad!”

She hated men. Or males. Of any species. I didn’t figure that out until I was in my thirties. And she still hates us for being . . . men. Or whatever it is we are now. Cats get neutered, dogs get their balls cut off – and I’m sure she’d done the same to us, had it been legal, if she could of found a doctor to perform the procedure. (And yes, she hates my dad, too – they got divorced, once, but that’s another story for a different time.)

“They make you WORK at the home – you’ll be scrubbing floors and they’ll beat you like you deserve and they HATE kids like you and they’ll work your little asses to the bone. I’m calling them right NOW!”, she’d say, turning her attention to the phone.

And she’d make us sit there for hours as she talked to someone (no one?); me slowly rocking in my green wood framed chair, and my brother sobbing quietly in his own. I remember staring at the opposing wall; it was white, and there – there to the left, just a few feet, is the door ‘they’ will come through to get me. Occasionally my mom would turn her head and viciously whisper that the men were coming; they would be getting us soon – and by god, we DESERVED it.

And I want them to. Oh, GOD, I want them to. I sit and stare at the door, waiting for the knock; wanting it to open, wishing someone would come and take me away from here – and this madly insane woman.

Yeah, I was about four or five when it began. Or at least that’s as far back as I remember it going.

I would picture myself, on my knees, with the scrub brush my mom used to scrub OUR kitchen floor – only with me holding it. Hands hurt and wrinkled. Surrounded by suds. Didn’t matter if I’d be in the ‘bad boy’s home’ forever. I just wanted out of HERE. Didn’t matter if they beat me. I’d been beaten before; had seen my brother beaten even worse. The ‘home’ couldn’t be any worse than this. Not by a long shot. Plus – there might be other kids to play with. Sometimes. And there wouldn’t be any more of this endless waiting, listening to my brother’s agonizing pleas to be allowed to stay and constant sobbing. I wasn’t like him. I didn’t want to be here anymore. At least at the “Bad Boy’s Home” there wouldn’t be anymore of her endless screaming and yelling and . . . other things.

Just peace and quiet, and the soft sound of a brush scrubbing against the floor.

That’s what I wanted, sitting there, rocking away in my little rocking chair.

Someone come and get me, PLEASE.

Strange how I remember wanting that so bad.

Isn’t it.