You’re in the fifth grade. The world is a mystery. The tooth fairy is real. If you aren’t good, Santa won’t bring you presents. Being a cowgirl is a real life job. Getting a Popsicle is the highest form of reward. Times tables are the worst thing to happen to you. And monsters exist.
Now imagine being a fifth grader and learning that mommy is sick. Mommy has something called bipolar schizophrenia. She will be okay, but she needs love and she might act a little funny sometimes. But she’s still mommy.
Now imagine your older siblings being the only ones you can trust and rely on other than mamaw and big brothers who live far away and mommy, who is sick.
Now imagine mommy starts telling you things about your house. Things that frighten you.
Mommy is saying there are bad things in your house, your space. Mommy says there are monsters who follow you. Mommy says things are talking to her. Mommy says things want to hurt you. Things are after you.
Mamaw says mommy is just sick and she will get better once the doctor finds the right medicine for mommy. To just love her and maybe that will help her get better faster. Mamaw says your hugs always help.
But mommy cries and screams out that there is something behind you every time she sees you. She hides in her room, and when you go in, she doesn’t notice you. She just stares. She’s scared. She doesn’t respond to you. Big sis gets a bag of ice and rocks mommy back and forth “waking her up” with the ice.” She then starts seeing things again. She even says there are monsters in the pantry. Mommy says scary things, things that make you cry.
You don’t want to sleep alone, but share a room with a baby who still sleeps with mommy, so you have to sleep alone. Mommy says so.
You’re so scared. All alone at night. In a house where even mommy is afraid of. All you can think of is the monsters mommy speaks of.
You sleep next to the open door and open the door across the hallways to sis’ room. Seeing her bed from across the hall is comforting.
Now imagine big brother coming to stay at your house for a while. Big brother, so strong and brave and loving.
You’re comforted when big brother decides that, since you’re the only one who has her own room, he will sleep in there.
You’re so happy, big brother will help you. You get to sleep in your bed, not on the floor by the door. Big brother makes you feel safe.
You take a bath, brush your hair, and change into pajamas for the night. You head to your bed, excited to sleep in peace for once.
Now imagine waking up in the middle of the night to big brothers hands up the side of your pajama shorts on your private area.
You’re confused. You sit motionless, not sure of what is happening. You then move as if you’re waking up. His hand shoots back to the floor. You sit motionless yet again. Time passes, and his hand comes back up the side of your thigh, right into your underwear.
You move again, just like the first time, but with more force and you yawn as if you’re waking.
Morning comes. You’re not sure what to do. What was he doing? Why was he doing that?
You remember at school when they taught you that bad people sometimes may do things to you. And if they do, you should tell mommy. But mommy is sick. And big brother thought I was asleep.
Big brother was supposed to protect me from the monsters. Why didn’t big brother protect me from the monsters?