A Lost Soul
I grew up in the foothills of Georgia.
Raised on bald faced whiskey and country music like Patsy Kline.
We were poor and didn’t have any money to buy new clothes.
I wore hand me downs, jeans with patches, and shoes that were ate out by wood rats.
Townspeople called us,” pile up with trash and corn-fed critters.”
I have no idea when Pap started selling bald face whiskey, or growing marijuana. All I know that life for us changed. Pap sold whiskey to local coal-miners and marijuana. At night he’d get drunk and hit ma-maw until she turned black and blue. One time he hit her so hard, she couldn’t see out of her eye. It’s like he nailed it shut.
Puberty came knocking on my door and Ma-maw and Pap introduced me and my sister to a lot of things. I’m not sure if it’s bad or not, but it was a way of life. We had Sunday night parties where marijuana, whiskey and sex went on until 2 in the morning. Then Pap would leave for his boating trip for a week.
Things aren’t always the way they seem. One minute they’re playing cards.The next, I’m seeing ma-maw having sex with my Auntie. It’s as if my sister and I weren’t there. I feel that they wanted us to see them.. I thought they were sisters because I called her Auntie all my life. When we tried to leave they made my sister and I sit at the bottom of her bed and watch.
Then she threatened to feed us to the Ghost on the Appalachian trail if we ever told Pap. She and Aunt Benny laughed a wicked laugh, ” Nasty Naughty Girl.”
“Come over and touch them,” she said holding Auntie’s breast. Sissy and I ran out of the room screaming. I threw up on the kitchen floor. I don’t know if it was the whiskey or them that made me sick.
A Week Later
Pap came back from a boating trip with a man-a stranger. This man looked was about Pap’s age and wore a patch on his left eye. He walked with a limp too. The stranger had a nice boat. It was beautiful and it looked shiny and new. Pap said, ” Sweet child don’t be shy. Come say hello. Show him a good time like ma-maw taught you now.” Pap gave me a drink of whiskey and made me smoke some marijuana first. Now this wasn’t the first time Pap gave me whiskey or marijuana. He gave me my first taste of whiskey at age 7.
Pap said, “It’ll take the edge from you.”
I cried and said, “Why Pap….no I don’t want to do this.”
Pap did something to me that he’d never done before, he beat me with his fishing rod and threw whiskey on me. Then he threatened to throw a match on me if I didn’t have sex with this man. With tears rolling down my face, I laid there on that bed where I seen the act of sex performed by Pap, Ma-maw , and their lovers. Our eyes met, and Pap didn’t look away. He sat and watched , and I hated him. I hated me, and I hated ma-maw who set in the next room doing nothing. When the stranger finished, Pap called ma-maw to come into the room. When she came in I looked into her eyes for comfort, and for tears of regret. But instead she said, “You a lost soul now little girl!”
All this time…..all these years I thought they loved me. How could they do this to me? What I do to deserve this?
Then Pap Said, ” Daughter you’ve entered into womanhood, and its time to leave home.”
I said, ” No Pap please… I don’t want to go with him.”
Pap said, “Go ahead he paid me a nice amount of money for you. Come on….let’s not keep him waiting.”
One last time, I looked to my parents who birthed me for consolation. I thought that this was one of Pap’s sick jokes.Until the stranger dragged me out of my parents house. No it was true….pap sold me to this man for $500. And in that moment I realize that I was nothing to them, but a lost soul.