I could not bring a friend from home from school. Artie was there. In in briefs. All day. And anyway, the house was infested with cockroaches. When my sisters and I lived with my mother, we did not have roaches even though we were on welfare. No, we were clean. But, at age 12 my mother moved us in with him. The roach on my toothbrush in the morning. Omg. Rinse, rinse, rinse with boiling hot tap water. But more…I have to see the roaches being born…a little white/clear tiny capsule on the kitchen counter…what is that? I look. It moves. And it splits open…multitudes of whitish tiny roaches start running around the counter.
Vomit. Vomit. No! Do something! Grab the clorox. Pour the bottle all over the counter. Fuck you, you dirty buggers.
I want to leave. I want to leave.
My mother’s drunk, passed out again.
And Artie wants to tell me shit. Tell me about getting my period, about becoming a woman….despite my finding his creeping hands under my blanket when I’m asleep …then I hide in the bathroom for hours.
Mother doesn’t believe me when I tell her. “You just want to ruin everything.”
So, I stay away.
Artie calls me a lesbian because I don’t bring my school friends over.
It’s bad enough with Artie but he has two grown sons and they come to visit. What is it about a pre-teen? Go away. They both hover over me. I have to make nice and be social. Social among the drunks and roaches.
I want to pour bleach on all of them.




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