Trigger Warning * Violence * Language * Sexual Content
The summer heat arrived early in spring, as it often does in Florida. After a while, Mom made Nate move back out, maybe because Grandma disliked him so much, or maybe because he wasn’t paying his rent, but either way, sending him home didn’t keep him away. He still came to my window every night, climbed in, and slept with me. We always slept naked, his preference to having sex easier.
I woke up one hot morning to banging on my door. Without a second thought, I shoved Nate off the side of the bed, where he promptly rolled, half asleep, under the bed.
“Open up, Angie!” My little brother shoved at the door I’d blocked with my desk chair. He gave up pushing and started calling Mom for help. Within moments, she was pounding on the door. She pushed and got an arm in, trying to move the chair.
“Damn it, move this,” she yelled.
Nate was fully out of sight, so I did.
“The boys always come in here,” I said, going on the defense before she had the chance to even ask. “They never knock.”
“So, uh, what do you want?”
She stared at me for a moment with her “Do you think I’m stupid?” look. She wanted me to take a moment to think about it. I try to never actually answer her out loud.
She looked at my window and I followed suit. Oh. We shut the window but didn’t put the screen back in.
I smiled. Nothing to see here.
“I’m going to the bathroom,” I said, acting like I wasn’t nervous at all.
She went to my bed, sat for a moment, and then leaned over to look under.
“Hello, Nate. You can come out now. I’m taking you back home.”
Nate rolled out, a sheepish grin on his face. We were busted, but Mom seemed to be taking it very well.
She drove him back to his stepmom’s and must have thought about things on the way back, because the moment she walked through the door, she was yelling.
“I trusted you!”
“It was the first time, Mom, I swear. I was going to tell you, I was!”
It wasn’t the first time, obviously. It’d been months by now. We’d been having sex right under her nose and I needed to convince her we hadn’t.
“You used to say you’d tell me when you had sex for the first time,” she said when she got back.
“I was going to tell you,” I said.
“How do you feel? You’ve been lying, having sex, all for what?”
“But last night was the first time,” I said. What’s one more lie between mother and daughter?
She laughed. “I don’t believe that.”
“It was! I swear it!” I yelled, angry that she had the nerve not to believe me. “And I was even going to ask you today if I could go on birth control.”
Well, I was going to think about asking, anyway, but like each day before, I was too scared. I didn’t know how she’d react. Would she accuse me of having sex if I said I wanted it for “just in case?” It wasn’t that I feared her disapproval, not totally. More like, I wasn’t fond of how she dealt with anger. She wasn’t known for her patience, and I carried the welts from hangers and belts and whatever she could grab to prove it.
“Does that mean he had a condom?”
I shook my head. “No, he is using the pull-out method. He said it’s just as safe.”
Mom laughed again.
“What? He pulled out. Nothing got inside of me!”
“You’re going on the pill. And you’re not having sex anymore. If I find out you’re having sex, you don’t want to know what’ll happen. And I don’t want to have to go to the police. You’re only 13. I won’t have that son of a bitch sticking his nasty prick inside you when you’re just a baby. He’s not allowed around here anymore. I mean that.”
“He’s not nasty!” I screamed. “He’s not like his dad. He loves me. Just because his dad used you doesn’t mean Nate is using me. You can’t act like he’s like his dad. That’s not fair!”
“Life’s not fair. Get used to it. I’ll have him arrested if I catch him over here again. You can believe that.”
“You’re the one who let him live here and sleep in my room to begin with!” I screamed. “What did you think was going to happen?” As soon as I said it, I realized I gave away how long ago it was, if she was paying attention enough to catch it. Not like she ever was.
My fourteenth birthday was fast approaching and she was still treating me like a baby. I didn’t even want to look at her, let alone have to ask for anything I needed. The appointment for the birth control was shameful and silent, at least on my end. Mom, on the other hand, was all too happy to explain to the health department nurse why her lovely daughter was going on the pill.
“She’s not sleeping around. Just one guy. She’s not allowed to see him anymore, but I just want to be sure she is safe. She’s my baby girl, you know? I was so horrified to find out she let some teenage boy take advantage of her. Can you do a pregnancy test, too?”
I stared at the back of her head, willing her to die on the spot. That voice she used, fake and sugary, pissed me off more than what she was saying. It wasn’t the real mom. The real mom calls me a bitch and, as of today, a whore who gives it away to the first boy that comes along. But this nurse would never know that, and she gave me the same disapproving look the receptionist gave when I signed in for the appointment.
“This is a bag of condoms,” she said. “You can’t just avoid the chance of getting pregnant. You have to protect yourself from diseases, too. You never know what each boy has.”
“One,” I whispered.
“One boy. I’ve only slept with one boy. And he was careful. I’m not pregnant and I don’t have any diseases,” I said.
“Well, let’s just see about that,” she said, handing me a cup and instructing me on the fine art of collecting pee for the pregnancy test.
A few minutes later, the nurse said cheerfully, “Not pregnant.”
Of course not. We were careful. I told them that. I knew what I was doing, and I was tired of everyone acting as if I were a child.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!