Another excerpt from MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD. The complete MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD ebook will be available for purchase on Amazon Kindle in August 2016! Be on the lookout for updates! Here's the Amazon Kindle Pre-Order Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01IFSFDY6?pc_redir=T1
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Sometimes before Marie went to prêche, dragging me along we would stop at Burger King. Out of all the fast food brands Burger King was my favorite. In the morning, I would get French toast and a small orange juice. Nothing said good morning like French toast. Looking back at it, I think Marie buying me breakfast was her way of buying my cooperation. At the Central Square, Burger King there was a tall dark skinned medium built male that wore a short-sleeved Church type shirt, black slacks, and semi-casual black shoes. He had an accent only a fellow Haitian would recognize. From time to time, we would see him and he’d take my order. I assumed from his attire in comparison to the other employee’s uniforms that he was the manager or something . . . I was right! Soon “Hi can I take your order” turned into “Hi how are you doing?” Friendly conversations turned into numbers being exchanged. Jean Burger King I named him. Jean was his legit name, Burger King for the obvious employment. I could see he had an interest in Marie just like all the others, through me they thought they could impress her. Sadly, they were mistaken because I had no influence over her. She liked what she liked and she used whomever to get what she wanted evening me . . . I just wondered how long he was going to last and what he was willing to do to ‘win her over.’
Jean started off by giving me discounts on food when my overweight thighs rubbed against each other to place my generic order of breakfast food. If it was after midday a Whopper meal replacing a medium soda with a medium vanilla milkshake was certain. Soon he brought daily leftover food to the apartment after closing. My piggy butt didn’t object to the bargain food, send them to me, I didn’t care. Yet, something about Jean was too eerie, that “I’m watching and molding you” but I brushed it off because I wasn’t ready to confront “IT.” One example of his creepy vibes was on one of my trips to Burger King. I ordered my usual, he took my order and after he looked at me with the same face the fox in Three Little Pigs looked at the pigs, he proceeded to say, “You shouldn’t be eating this food all the time. You need to watch your weight.” I didn’t reply. I sucked on my vanilla shake and waited for my sandwich and fries. When it was ready I snatched the lunch paper bag logo and vehemently walked out the door knowing that his eyes were laser attached to my backside. Jean closed Burger King around 10:00 P.M. He lived in Dorchester which was forty-five minutes away by car and an hour plus by public transportation depending on where he lived in Dorchester, but Marie only lived ten minutes away. He knew if he called begging Marie if he could sleep over because of the travel back home and him working 12-hour shifts that it would appeal to her female nurturing side and she would give in and allow it. He was right about Marie allowing him to spend the night but not about the nurturing side.
When Jean spent the night at Marie’s, she would give up her bed to sleep with me. She hated sleeping with me. She complained about me kicking and hitting her in my sleep. That was her reason for escaping from my bed when I asked, practically pleaded for her to sleep with me in my room when the loudness of silence in the sacred night became too intense. The city street lights couldn’t resolve my fears. Jean acted hopelessly and a whiny, he desired Marie to cater to his neediness. “Soeurette” “Soeurette” he slurred. Her name wasn’t Florence the maid, she felt he was trying to take advantage of her. He wasn’t trying, he WAS but for some odd reason she straddled the fence between throwing him out and play into his hand. A typical night with Jean Burger King there started off with him coming over with that day’s leftover food, depending on the time he appeared, I may or may not eat the leftovers that night. He either came to the door complaining or acting like “Mr. Funny Guy.” If Jean Burger King was complaining he wanted Marie to mother him by providing food because he “Hadn’t eaten all day” (H) on his long shift, as a manager, at one of the biggest fast food restaurants in the world. Marie didn’t want to give in easy into his dramatic two stars act. She had to berate him about how this was his last night coming over here. “I don’t allow people to come into my home after a certain hour. You complain too much.” (H) And most importantly what was he going to do for her in return.
Jean Burger King was used to the turmoil of dysfunctional relationships because he didn’t skip a beat with his mouthpiece, “Ou konnen mwen travay, lè mwen geyen ou jou off m’ ap rele ou.” Marie felt indifferent about Jean Burger King. On one hand, she didn’t believe him because he was repetitively inconsistent but, on the other hand, she needed to play nice with him in return he’d cooperate with her to giving her rides. As asked she microwaved leftover Haitian food for him. He then pushed his luck by asking for a drink. Marie didn’t buy alcohol; she didn’t drink coffee for that matter, but she knew what he meant. She offered him water, but he wanted something flavorful like freshly squeezed lime juice. Marie didn’t like being told what to do and how to do it, she snapped back at him, “Oh kisa rèv sa ou vin la pou? Mwen se ji sitwon.” “Pa vin la pou ban m’ traka.” She in a full diatribe mood blowing up smoke but maneuvered her enraged self into the kitchen to make some lime juice.
In the preparation process, she bloviated about how she didn’t need to do this for him or how she had better things to do. She had worked in the morning, and his chicanery was interfering with her sleep. When Jean realized that he was tap dancing on being expelled from of her apartment, he stopped his crybaby ways and ate his meal and drank his juice. After devouring his dish, that’s when he wanted to get frisky with some foreplay. Mommy didn’t entertain his shenanigans for a minute, definitely not in a sexual manner. When he knocked on my bedroom door, hoping for her to be a willing participant in his “I need you” calling. She flat out rejected him, “Mwen se temwen Jéhovah, mwen pa nan sa.” She reminded him that she fed him, and if he wanted more, he was shit out of luck. Jean cooled his need for sexual healing because her desire was colder than ice. Early the next morning, Jean would get up and go to his place or shower for that day’s work schedule. Physically you could tell Marie despised having him around. Her mentality was, ‘who is this low-grade peon doing in my home demanding perks that he did not earn,’ but she knew better than to rock the boat. She played along with Jean in the uphill battle to get what she wanted, when she finally couldn’t get all she could or if he pissed her off one too many times that’ll be the end of their arrangement.
August sun shined brightly, carefree souls roaming effortlessly heading to this place and that place, never fully reaching their destiny, their full manifestation. Marie hounded Jean down for the past two weeks to get him to commit to going clothes shopping with her. It was him who boasted about discount deals that he knew at an outlet center in Revere. Marie calculated that if she spent money there for my back-to-school shopping she could get more for her buck at the outlet versus hopping from retail stores at the Galleria Mall or a plaza. Jean came to the apartment in his old borderline broke down 1990 something red Honda. His whole mien was “the super charismatic funny guy” which irked Marie’s nerves. She smelled his powerful bullshit oceans away like his cologne, but I sometimes liked when he came around. He turned the focus of her animosity of me and shield me from her verbal bullets.
The car ride to the outlet was long and hot. Jean blasted his radio to Jam’n 94.5 which was playing reggae music by Sean Paul. Marie couldn’t stand that kind of music, to make matters worse, Jean’s stereo quality was janky. The grainy sound of static killed the sound quality. She either way wouldn’t have liked it. She criticized his taste of music and asked in a rhetorical manner why he listened to that music? “Ou pa renmen bon, mizik dousma, 106.7. Mizik saj, mizik bon moun tande . . .” Jean let her complain without detouring her onto another topic. When Mommy felt passionate about something, she won’t drop it for anything. She ran her mouth like the Road Runner to everyone she believed she could control or manipulate into doing what she wanted to. She took it as testing boundaries of people she viewed as inferior or dispensable to see how far she could go without being repudiated. If you gave an inch, she’d examine how many moves she can pull before she got a yard, but Marie could only try it with those of arms length.
I always loved car rides, for a ten-year-old I was incredibly deep. Being your own confidant turns you very antisocial very quick. That antisocial behavior will drive you insane or give you the gift of discernment. I was constantly in an in-depth critical analysis of the world as I knew it. Evaluating the darkest corners of my mind and all my secrets. Comfortably stacked one on top of the other. My outlook on my meager life and what I longed for in the future. Lost in the multiple shades of green leaves, puffy blue clouds, and gray man-made boulders decorating the highways stretching of miles. I thought about how fifth grade would be like. What Thalia did during the summer. Would I ever have the family yearned for? I played GOD creating situations that suited my fantasy. My ideals that I held dearest, the ones that gave me hope for a better tomorrow.
At the outlet, they were only selling sneakers, mostly Reeboks. The kind of sneakers that I named “Rat-Face.” The sides of the sneaker caved inwards like a point, like a rat’s face . . . hence the name. I originated from humble beginnings, brand names were scarce, designer names were tenuous. I didn’t know of the labels until later, in fifth grade to be exact, well I learned the emphasized importance of labels in fifth grade. I spotted blue stripe Reebok sneakers for $45 or so, amazed at the price, Marie allowed me to get another pair of sneakers. My logic was to buy another pair of the same exact sneakers. It made perfect sense to me. My favorite color at the time was a light blue, I thought buying the same sneaker twice was somehow cool, like you know I really liked the color blue by the fact that I bought it twice. Like some type of weird consumer loyalty thing. Marie’s attitude to me wanting to buy the same sneaker twice was ridicule. “Why do you want to buy the same sneakers? Why not get one and get another sneaker that looks similar? Why the exact same sneaker?” (H) The more she spoke the more exasperated I became, like ‘shut the fuck up. Let me have this,’ my face expressed. Jean must have read my expression because he swooped in and said, “Kite li pran sa.” Marie being the narcissistic mother that she is she couldn’t allow this day to be about me only. She needed to look for items that she too wanted . . . for herself. I’m a quick shopper, I don’t spend hours roaming aimlessly rummaging through any and everything just to do so or to find an unsuspecting “can’t live without” essential piece that’ll complement any outfit. I’m not that person, I’m in and out. Grab it and let’s go. I don’t even have the patience to try on clothing in the fitting room.
On the flip side, Mommy could and did spend all day shopping too. At the least she wanted to find an item that looked good on her, if not that, to castigate clothes that wouldn’t look right on her or to look at the sales price of items she deemed too expensive but kept tabs on them if they ever go on sale. I hated this about her, like get what you need and get the fuck out. Why must I suffer this futile shopping trip that will mostly end up being a waste of time, but nonetheless I, of course, said none of this to her. I kept my lips shut. I walked around with her for what felt like hours. Being overweight, my thighs rubbed like crazy, and the last thing I was looking forward to was physical activity even on a small scale. Jean found what he was looking for and bought himself a pair of sneakers, Marie didn’t find anything that piqued her interest. She paid for my twin sneakers and was ready to go. Back to the car we went. The car ride back appeared a lot more peaceful, Jean still obnoxiously blasted his music. Mommy chastised him for his choice of music and asked if he would take her clothes shopping for the school year. Jean fronted like he had to check his schedule and see if it was feasible to take her school shopping. Marie knew Jean well enough to understand he needed “encouragement.” She bribed him with a home-cooked meal that perked his interest, but to play it off he held onto the defense that he might be busy. She advised him to call her that night to let her know if he could or could not. Marie pranced out the car, and I followed still feeling Jean’s eye on me.
Jean obliged to taking Marie to go school shopping in exchange for her home-cooked meal. Marie decided to go to the South Bay Mall. The South Bay Mall is located in Dorchester where Jean Burger King lived, so traveling distance wasn’t an issue. Marie chose all her favorite stores to go into, and I knew the experience would be a debacle from then on. She was very controlling, and she loved to play dress-up. I the human mannequin, and she the wayward fashion stylist. Marie was VERY old-fashioned. She prided herself on her “traditional values.” However, I was caught between two worlds. I liked some old fashion looks like the 80s to 90s era maybe a few revamped 60s and 70s attires but Marie liked the “old maid look” something of the Mormon Church or a few essential pieces out of the Amish collection. I was ten; and I wanted to look ten like all the other ten-year-olds, not like a granny. Marie being bossy and way too “hands-on” I knew vocalizing my wants weren’t even going to be considered. Strolling into Marshalls, I behind Jean and Marie, I pretend they were married like a real family. To the outside, they did present themselves as a couple so why not make it temporarily official (?)
Marie walked around Marshalls like she owned the place. Picking and choosing what she liked, what she disliked . . . Then she remembered it was for me. Her choices were less than flattering. I chose my clothing styles, and she rejected them instantly, one by one she condemned them by saying “They wouldn’t fit you right.” “It’s too small for you.” “All your breasts will be out, that’s what you want huh, for all your body to be showing.” “Those pants are too tight.” (H) I couldn’t stand her negative objections anymore nor could I argue her down. I would have chosen a space suit and if it wasn’t up to her liking she would dismiss it automatically, no amount of “No look at all the space.” “It’s not too tight.” “I’m not trying to sell my body.” “I don’t know I just like it” was going to change her mind. It was pointless. The only thing we could agree with from the different stores we went into was the tracksuit I picked out after she depreciated my first two choices. The bag I chose was a go without complaint. A baby blue messenger bag made by Mead. I also was able to get school supplies from Staples. Five Star, the most expensive school, supplies you’ll ever buy. There wasn’t a point, though, because the first week of overpriced school supplies was going to be lost, stolen, or broken by the end of Friday. Why purchase so much unnecessary jacked up priced items? . . . Because I can.
The drive home was calm. I too busy gawking over the items I bought, well Marie bought. Jean stopped by Burger King to get some leftover food. This was the time period when Burger King wanted to introduce a Value Menu and jumped into tacos and chili. I was ecstatic! The back-to-school shopping trip didn’t go as planned, but at least I got something and to top it off I got food. I waited until we got back to the apartment to dig in. At the apartment and in the kitchen, Marie began preparing food that she promised Jean in exchange for taking her school shopping. Jean and I sat in the kitchen talking, but he played too much. I had a bacon cheeseburger that had mustard on it and Jean threaten to do something. I became panicky to prevent it from happening. His joke-ish ways led to overstepping his boundaries and causing a problem. He was approaching MY personal bubble, threatening that he was going to do something and me quickly without thinking I touched my bag staining it with mustard. Needless to say I was furious, my brand new blemish free bag, when purchased, was now stained with this unusual deep yellow dot. Jean backed up seeing my expression and tried laughing it off. I was in no laughing mode; I sucked my teeth sighing, “You see what you made me do?” “Now my bag is messed up” I shouted at him. Marie jumped in to referee and suggested that I wash it off with soap and water. I ran up to the sink and draped soap and water on a dirty dish sponge. I fiercely scrub away at the stain, with each stroke I put more elbow grease into it. This stain defeated my efforts, and no change had happened. I was stuck with an almost perfect bag.
Jean slept over again, this time he woke up late to go to work and had to rush getting prepared. Marie had woken me up right before she headed to work. I had been awake in my room that was located at the end of the hall next to the living room. I didn’t want to be left vulnerable with Jean, but that day was here. I came out to the living room after hearing MTV blaring. I saw Jean nonchalantly ironing his white long sleeve shirt. He was partially dressed in his undershirt and slacks, with his shoes laced up. It was one of those days of the week, Monday perhaps and I wasn’t in the mood for the loud music. I had the summertime mind of eat, sleep, TV and repeat. I got up on high alert and headed to the living located right next to my bedroom. Jean rushed to get to work yet found time to gig to Sean Paul’s “Gimme The Light.” He started to swinging his hips and roll his body while ironing. He then turned to me and asked me to dance. On the couch frozen I stared at him with a stern face, replying, “No.” He smiled wide saying, “Come on, dance with me.” This is what I was talking about when I mentioned Jean overstepping his boundaries; but now he has a skeeve aura to him. He came in close, reaching his arms. This time he wasn’t asking, he was demanding. The look in his eye said it all. He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. I pulled my arm back just before popping it out of place, and I pushed him off. Jean forgot about his shirt, the iron steamy hot, clenching deep on to the cotton material. The steamy smoke indicating a burning emergency. The smell of the damage crisp shirt filled the air. Jean grew enraged. Mr. Manager looked flawed, not the image he wanted.
He sucked his teeth shouting, “My shirt is ruined.” In shock, I sat taken aback not sure what to do. He picked up his now cream-colored shirt, glide it around his shoulders, button it up and lost in his mind, completely pissed off. I didn’t dare say a word. My eyes locked on him, he unplugged the iron, grabbed his things and jetted out the door. I couldn’t move because what just happened was too real, too unreal to be honest. I sat there in an awake a coma, a paralyzing state. My brain stopped on system processing. Ten minutes later I threw myself to the front door locking it to make sure he couldn’t come back. The television was still on and, I turned the channel on to something less boisterous. I took the iron and rolled the cord around it. The board still laid out flat and propped I didn’t touch it. I found myself curled on the couch; my knees compressed against my chest. I rocked there in an upward fetal position . . . System blank.
As always the fun comes to a stop and Marie for whatever reason stopped communication with her male friends. For Jean Burger King, he became more loose with his mouth; crossing too many boundaries for Marie to ignore or glance over. She had to set him straight and shut him down cussing him out touching the innermost sensitive regions within his ego, blow for blow they went, but Marie had the upper hand taking no prisoners. Whatever Jean had to say to salvage the verbal ass-kicking wasn’t working. It was futile, whatever caused the verbal boxing match stayed a mystery because I never found out but what I did know was Jean got kicked out of the picture and, he was transferred to another Burger King closer to his home. I was relieved, no amount of Whoppers or bacon cheeseburgers was going to forgive what Jean had planned to do to me. I told Marie none, what can I say? The guy who was the Santa Claus of burgers, the same guy you invited to your home, the same guy who I had skeeve feelings about tried to get his morning child rape on? How could I say that without the hysteria and a black cloud full of questionable doubt? How can I say this without guilt, shame, and blame towards myself? How could I not have seen this coming and prevent this from happening? How could I share this confession that would be MY confession minus the Catholic priests?
Be Entertained. Be Enlightened. Be Loved. ✌