In April of 2004 I turned sixteen and was preoccupied with the passage of time that the birthday heralded. As I grew one year older my siblings and I fielded the same emotional and physical abuse we always had, and one of my brothers became a perpetrator of domestic violence when he broke my nose.
I reacted ecstatically to the material affluence brought on by our impending move to Deep South State (which signaled our arrival in the upper middle class), but my glee was tempered by the realization of all we'd be leaving behind.
April 2, 2004
At first, everything was great tonight. Then Thomas asked Dad for a cupcake and Dad said no. When Thomas asked again, Dad sent him to bed.
As Thomas started to put the cupcake away, he chewed on its wrapper, as is his habit. My father went completely crazy. He started screaming about disobedience and how the kids were running the house and he wouldn’t take it anymore. Then my father pushed Thomas to the floor. We were all very upset and so the next day Dad made pizza and bought caviar to make up for it.
April 5, 2004
Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the start of the year’s holiest week. Palm Sunday, indeed. It should be called “Fist Sunday.”
Powell and I were upstairs arguing and I shoved him. Then I began to criticize him.
Well, he punched me so hard I saw stars. I cried and he said it was an accident, but I’m not so sure. When I looked in the mirror, my nose was dented.
April 8, 2004
I went to the doctor on Monday and I was x-rayed on Tuesday. By all accounts my nose is probably broken, given that it’s crooked and it feels funny. Thankfully, they will be able to make it straight again. That won’t happen until after Easter, though, which upsets me as I’d really been looking forward to the holiday.
Lent ends this Sunday. I can’t wait. It’s been a long forty days without CDs or radio. No Kelly Clarkson, no Christina Aguilera, no rap, no R&B, no hip-hop. I’m taking a ton of CDs with me to Grand Ma’s house so that I can listen to them on Sunday.
Oh, by the way, we are officially moving to Deep South State. This came as quite a surprise as we thought we’d be going to Dirty State. My mother has to start work on May 17th. This is the day of my chorus’s Spring Concert.
I am a bit disappointed that Mom won’t see the concert, but at the same time I’m happy because I no longer have to sing a solo in front of all of those people. My Chorus teacher made me take it even though I didn't want to, and now that we'll be moving I won't have to sing! I really don’t know if I could have!
April 9, 2004
Tomorrow morning I will be sixteen years old. As of right now, I’m still fifteen. Sixteen isn’t something that I’m ready for. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in this very house, contemplating being fifteen. Sixteen is not something I want. And then, a year from now, I’ll be turning seventeen. Seventeen? That’s so unimaginable to me.
It seems as if things are moving so fast. In two years I’ll be getting ready to graduate. The thought scares me to death. Next year (actually, in just five months’ time) I’ll be a junior. A junior in high school. How did this happen? Well, I have a year. A year until I’m seventeen.
April 10, 2004
I am sixteen.
April 11, 2004
Easter Sunday, 2004
After Lent ended, I went to a private place this morning, and I sang there. God, it felt good. The music that had been building up inside of me and clogging my brain for forty days was let out, and my thoughts were silent, finally silent. All I heard was running water, slapping against my skin.
April 13, 2004
Well, it’s official. We are moving to Deep South State, and in less than a month. We found out over Easter vacation.
April 14, 2004
Yesterday afternoon was difficult. I got into a fight with Dad and he said that he didn’t want me to move with the rest of the family to Deep South State. He told me he’d been wanting to live in Deep South State all his life and that he wouldn’t be able to give up paradise to have to deal with me every day.
April 19, 2004
Midnight, our oldest cat, left us yesterday. She’d been here for nearly nine years, longer than Thomas’s entire life. Mom and Dad took her to the Humane Society because she had been peeing on the carpet. It seemed a bit heartless to me; Midnight was practically a member of the family. I miss her dearly. Last night I felt something on the bed and automatically assumed it to be her. It wasn’t, though, and the realization pained me.
Powell was devastated. He and Thomas both cried, but I didn't.
April 23, 2004
My parents are now, even as I write this, on an airplane destined for Native City. They're coming back from Central City, in Deep South State. My mother did put a contract on the house, and it’s incredible.
It has five bedrooms, four living rooms, an indoor swimming room, four full bathrooms, and so much more. The pool has a hot tub in the middle, raised several feet above everything else. So, when we’re hot, we can jump straight from the hot tub into the pool! I have a private bathroom adjoining my bedroom, and a door leading into the swimming room, too! The swimming room has two sun decks, but I doubt that I’ll use these very often. There is a kitchen, a dining room, and a breakfast nook. We are very blessed.
Our yard is a quarter of an acre (which, compared to what we have now, is enormous) with an eight-foot high brick wall surrounding it. In addition, there is an even more formidable wall that encompasses the entire neighborhood. A gate at the front allows for entrance. It is monitored by security guards.
Our high school is the highest rated public high school in the state. It is so huge that it has seven different buildings, and my parents described it as being like a college. Oh, and get this: it has a foot court. Like, McDonald’s, Burger King! Can you believe it? I’m so excited!
April 24, 2004
I got a haircut literally a month ago and my parents are already bugging me to get another one. I give them pretty much no trouble at all but they constantly harass me about chores and my hair. I'm an honor roll student who never does anything wrong. You'd think they'd just be thankful.
April 30, 2004
What is harsher than to be torn away?
What is worse than to be ripped apart?
From all you know, from all you are
A solemn weight upon my heart
What is worse than a wandering soul?
A tragic survivor without a home?
I saw my own land scorched and blast
I heard the bombs, I felt the crash
The buildings fell, the screams were shrill
This vibrant place lay dead and still
They descended like hawks, like hordes from the sky
And we who are left, we still wonder why
Why the loss, why the pain
Why the dead, why the maimed?
Why is our beautiful country slain?
And who could have known, who could feel?
This devastation is still surreal
The shells have fallen, the planes are gone
And still in their absence, it’s all so wrong
My thighs were these fields
My arms were these grains
My hope was these children
My body these plains
And now they are burned, lost, depraved
As much as it hurts, I just have to go
I can’t stay here, can’t live with these ghosts
I must pull away, and that kills me the most
For even the missiles raining down, the bodies piling all around
Was better than a graveyard
And to cling to what was, to desolate rocks
Won’t help me turn back the spinning clock
I wish this place would spring alive
Conceal the truth I’ve tried to hide:
Home will never be home again
Lord Jesus guide me, please
That was a poem called “Refugee.” It just struck me tonight, it really hit me, that we’re not coming back here. Second Twin, Powell, and I sat on Short Boy’s porch reflecting on when we’d first moved here. I can still remember the day that I met Lacrosse Boy. There are so many memories of happiness. It's like...it's bad.
The thought of never seeing any of these people again is like a huge cliff, right in my stomach. It’s a hole inside of me. It’s like losing your brother. I will miss them so much. When I moved from Dirty Town I had no friends, so relocation was deliverance. This place is so, so different. I want to cry. I don’t know where the tears are, but I want to cry, or…I don’t know what I want. I need God’s and Lord Jesus’s help.