The smell of old cheap plastic, leather interior filled my head. Bringing me back to another time. The smell of dirt, and sweat, and use. The same loud engine, ill fitting box. It reminded me of how it used to be. I was brought back to a different time. The rattling, and exhaust fumes, atrocious, always attacking my senses.
I remember the music, always so loud it hurt my ears. I would never talk. You would drive, and I would sit, usually not knowing where we were going. I knew when we’d get there you’d say “Sit tight,” and I would. I always hoped this time it would be quick, but it never was. Sometimes it’d take hours. You’d sit there bullshitting your way out of another bill, instead of working. Then I’d get sick of it, and get out of the truck, inviting the fresh air to my nostrils. I was so sick of that truck smell. Metal and dirt. Chains on the floor, junk in the back. You must’ve been quite a sight.
I’d stand awkwardly by your side, as you talked to Jeff or Pat, whatever his name was this time. Maybe it was Bob, who cares? I would look around, taking in the scenery, committing it to memory. Another cement block building, fence around the property, maybe there were dogs this time. I hate that, being stuck with you as you did just the same as you always did. After you finally left, we’d get back into the same dusty smelling truck, maybe stop at McDonald’s. I’d always order the same thing, and then we’d be on our way home. I’d eat in silence, almost. The music was still hurting my ears.
When we got home, I’d watch t.v., or play with my Barbies, I kept away from you as much as I could. Sometimes when I went to sleep I’d sleep in your and Mom’s bed. You never did, you always slept on the couch. The same thing every night, never washing or taking a shower, the same brown pants and ugly green shirt. Couldn’t you see?
I’d sleep there, and miss her, because I never got to see her. Sometimes I’d be sick, but I wouldn’t tell you. I’d deal with it myself, and let it rush over.
And it’d be the end of another day. Other times you’d drop me off at Grandma’s. She was always the best cook, made me feel good. But at that age I needed a female, so help me grow up. I was nearing adolescence, self conscious as always. Where did you expect me to turn?
She loved me, but still didn’t understand. Other times I stayed with friends. I lied, to stay home from school because I was homesick. I liked it when Ed was there. I remember painting the house. I got another bloody nose, and the cat got high. He made the best roast, and only afterward told me there were onions in it. But you chased him away, told him not to be a coward, and not knowing how to react he walked out. How could you?!?!
When you’d take the time to drive the 45 minutes down there, I rarely stayed. I hated being in the same room with you and Mom. I always prayed you wouldn’t have sex, so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I hated the thought of your hands on her.
When I saw mom it wasn’t enough, she had other things to think about. It wasn’t fair. All the relatives showed up, but they didn’t seem to notice me. Sooner or later I’d go back home, with you, in the truck that smelled of dust and dirt and metal.
I’d go to sleep, never in tears.
Sometime later I remember screaming “I hate you.” It’s my one vivid memory.
You’ll never know how much I did hate you.