When I was around 5 years old my Mom moved my two brothers and I, from Santa Cruz to Sunnyvale, because she got a job working in Nordstrom’s shoe department with benefits (perfect for a single mom with 3 young children). My Grandpa helped my Mom with a downpayment on a home in a mobile home park with a pool and plenty of neighborhood kids to play with. As young, immature, and sometimes neglectful my mom could be, we were really enjoying our new life. A short time after my mom started working at her new job, she started dating a man who worked maintenance at the mall Nordstrom was attached to. We will call this man Jose. He was her type exactly: dominating, controlling, and charming. Meeting him I was nervous but a little excited about the thought of a man being around, especially being that my two brothers and I had dads who weren’t in the picture. Soon after meeting him, he was moved in and my mom was pregnant.. with twins. Being the oldest of two boys I was thrilled at the possibility of one or both being a little sister, lucky for me one ended up being a baby girl.
After the twins were born is when the abuse started. The stress of being in a relationship with my mom, a person who he never truly loved, the burden of having to take care of 5 children, plus his violent nature made day to day in our house terrifying. He hated us, for existing, for not being his – he couldn’t make us go away. He loved to “joke” with me as my mom would say. He would tell me how ugly I was, tell me to put my hair up, have his daughter punch me in the stomach to show me how much stronger she was than me. He never really put his hands on me expect for when he would throw me on the ground for fun. My brothers got the brunt of the physical abuse. He would threaten to kill them, tell my brother with ADHD how “retarded” was, push them around… anything he could do to instill as much fear in them as possible. But our mom would always say it was only joke, and that we were overacting if we cried or wanted it to stop. I guess it wasn’t as funny on the days she would have us hide in my closet so we wouldn’t be in his way.
There would be days we would come home from to school to find the house torn apart. Our beds thrown, the drawers to our dressers pulled out, plates broken and scattered across the floor, holes in the walls, the toys our grandparents got us for our birthdays and Christmas broken. In one of his rages, when he was destroying the house my grandpa payed for, he destroyed the antique china cabinet that my grandma had gifted my mother. My grandpa never made back the money he put into the mobile home because of how severe the damage was that Jose caused. We did not stay in the mobile home long, we ended up moving from Sunnyvale to Cupertino, in a house my grandparents again helped pay for. One day when we were making a trip to get some of the last of our belongings from the mobile home, my mom and Jose told all of us kids to wait in the car while they went inside alone. After we had been waiting in the car for some time, and my my little brothers cheeks were turning red because he was getting too hot, I decided to go inside to get my mom. I went through the back and opened the door that went to where their bedroom use to be, and my mom was on her back naked and Jose was removing himself from being on top of her. He always made a point to let everyone know how much of our lives was in his control.
We hated him, but we also didn’t understand what was happening. When he would take away our dinner for being too loud, my mom would convince us why it needed to happen. We trusted our mom, we loved our mom. He would take the McDonald’s he got on his way home from work into the room where only himself, my mom, and the twins were. We believed there was a reason she wouldn’t leave the room to check on us, to see if we were okay. My mom was obsessed with the idea of someone being hers, no matter how cruel and unloving that person was. I have to remember sometimes that she was hurting too. He would get mad and hit her, yell at her, he did everything he could to dismantle her as person. One day on her birthday he threw a gallon of water at her face while he were in the car on the way to her birthday party. The day went on like nothing ever happened. Usually after they got into an explosive fight, they would lock themselves in my moms room and have sex so loudly we would all go outside so we didn’t have to listen to our mom moan. It happened so often that our friends across the street would see us all outside and say, “Is your moms door locked again,” and laugh.
When I was 11 years old we finally got away. Jose got a job in Florida and only had room for my mom, the twins, and my little brother Andreas to come. My mom sent my brother Nick and I to my grandmas in Boulder Creek, and said she would try to come back for us in 6 months. Sadly, for my mom, Jose left her a few months later for another woman he ended up moving to Florida with. My mom, and 3 siblings followed us to my grandmas, where my mom was too depressed to be anything but available to the twins and her delusion that Jose would soon come back to her.