The summer before my sophomore year my dad agreed to me moving in with my aunt who lived in Houston, TX. The nonstop fighting was driving a huge wedge between my dad’s marriage and honestly, I think he wanted me out. My aunt happily offered her home to me and agreed to let me move in that summer. I moved in with my aunt and life started feeling a little easier. I spent that summer hanging out around the pool and chatting with my neighbors, and then I enrolled in school. This school was huge! I can’t express to you what a culture shock I went through. My home town couldn’t have had more than 6 thousand people in it, and this school was 6 thousand on its own. That means there were students everywhere! I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t a bit overwhelming, because it was.
“These words were like a dagger stabbing me in the chest and each little remark twisted the blade.”
I had such a new experience ahead of me and I couldn’t decide if I was excited or scared! I eventually made it to home room on my first day and met two sweet wonderful girls my age. They were both new to the school as well and had transferred in. We all bonded instantly and decided to have each other’s backs. I spent the next few weeks getting to know my new friends and hanging out with them during lunches. I also got really involved in the high school band and made 2nd chair in the highest rated band! I was so excited to be excelling in so many directions! My teachers seemed to love me and I got along with every person I met.
One day a few months in I realized that there was an issue with the social security checks I had been receiving as a benefit of my mother’s death. The issue was that I hadn’t received any check since I had been there. I had been in Houston for several months and it occurred to me that my parents were still cashing them. It wasn’t very much money, maybe three or four hundred dollars a month, but it was the principal behind it. I asked my aunt to take me to the social security office so that I could speak with them about this. I made the department very aware that I hadn’t been living with my parents for quite some time and that the check was meant for my support. I was upset because my parents hadn’t sent me any money, and they never even brought it up.
The department stated that they would need to take precautions and so they sent my dad a letter asking if my custody had changed. He was furious. He called me asking for an explanation and I was honest. I told him that I didn’t think it was right for him to hoard the money that came from my mother who was dead. He and I resolved our argument and he apologized and hung up with me.
A few weeks later my dad called and said that he was planning to come and visit me. My aunt was suspicious of his behavior saying that he was coming to take me away, and of course I didn’t believe her. My dad wanted me to be happy, or so I thought at the time. I happily helped him plan his visit and then proceeded to live my life as if nothing was wrong. It didn’t take long for my dad to arrive and we had a fairly pleasant first day. The next morning we woke up and he asked if I wanted to grab some breakfast from Ihop. So I told him I would need to make sure that it was okay with my aunt. I could tell that it bugged him a little for me to ask someone else’s permission, but he didn’t say anything about it.
We got to Ihop and sat down at a corner table. We decided what we wanted to eat and placed our order. I had always cherished moments with my dad where we could sit and enjoy a conversation, however I guess he had other intentions. He started asking me about school and pressuring me to tell him that it was hard. It was a hard school to attend because of the culture difference, but to be honest a few more months and I would have been fine. He began pressuring me into thinking about going home. (Mind games) He made it my idea. He told me that he missed having me around and that he was sad that I was gone. He also told me that he wanted to buy me a car and that he had talked to my step mom and she agreed to be nice to me! Could all of this really be happening!? Was my whole life shifting into some magical wonderland? I thought everything he was telling me was amazing. I agreed to go home after some convincing and we went to tell my aunt that I was leaving.
My aunt was furious. She started out not wanting to say anything and when I went to pack my clothes she came in and told me that she hoped my step mom beat me. She told me that I was an idiot and that I wasn’t good at making decisions. She told me that I was inconsiderate and that I was going to destroy my life. I was so upset that I couldn’t stop crying. My aunt had never talked to me like that before. I didn’t even want to consider staying with her because she was becoming a monster. She told me I would never make it and not to call her when I was upset anymore.
These words were like a dagger stabbing me in the chest and each little remark twisted the blade. I loaded my things into my dad’s truck and we left. I couldn’t stop sobbing most of the drive home, and dad seemed to be concerned, but it didn’t mean anything. The people I loved had turned on me and I didn’t know what to feel. All I knew is that I hoped what he told me about coming home would be true.
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