I got braces when I was 15. I was not excited and it happened on my birthday. I couldn’t even eat my own cake. Or enjoy the awesome homemade ice cream that she made…it was always good. She didn’t make much that wasn’t good. Except for carrot, apple, raisin salad. UUGGHHH. The rule was if it was on the table, you had to eat some. Some was variable, but it had to be at least nominal. My sister was a rebel , a stubborn one at that. She would stuff whatever preparation it was being forced on her into her cheeks and hold it like a gerbil. Mrs. Morgan did not like this, she found it disrespectful, and rightly so! This particular day she chose to thump my sister’s cheeks to make her chew and swallow. She got a face full of carrot-apple-raisin salad. THAT, my friends, was incomparable.

I was escorted by HIM for most of my orthodontist appointments. I can’t remember any of the appointments because my mind was always on the aftershow. He would usually take me to breakfast. He would bring me back to the house. We would go into the kitchen. He placed a pillow on the table and would have me lay on it, my hips on the pillow, my feet over the edge of the table. He was sitting in his chair at the head of the table. I would count the stains on the ceiling as he performed one of the only acts his aging, impotent body could.

This quality time we spent together proved to be valuable evidence against him in court. A paper trail, the fact that I knew he was impotent…he never checked me back in school until well after the appointment and there was no explanation for that time. It never had to be presented. He plead guilty. All of it came to an end in October 1991. The World Series was on television, which proved to spoil the careful plan I had devised. He was supposed to go to bed and I had a ride arranged, one of his son’s friends had taken a liking to me and I had convinced him that I had to run away. My ride came and went. He finally fell asleep and I just grabbed a paper bag, placed my Del Taco uniform in it and slammed the door behind me. He showed up at my job to convince me that I was stupid and I let him have it. I worked in the mall and I had already warned security that he would show up, so he was asked to leave. I was free…but I had to get my siblings. I was staying with my friend and I told her I needed to go get some things in the house and let my brother and sisters know that everything was going to be fine. I couldn’t believe that he wanted all of us to sit at the table and “discuss” this thing. He had no clue what I had to say. I told him I was not coming back. He told my brother and sisters to go pack their things because if I was leaving, they had to leave. His wife got up and left the table. That sealed the deal for her. At that moment, I knew that she knew. She had always treated me like “the other woman” and never like a daughter. This was confirmation.

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