This story is based on true information as told to me and used with permission. All the names have been changed.
When I was young, my mother and I moved a LOT. We would stay in apartments for a few months to a year and would have to move again. When I was about eight years old, my mother started dating a man named Clark. I liked Clark, not only because he was nice to me, but we only moved once after my mom and Clark became a couple. When I was a sophomore in high school, my mom worked the second shift at a hospital in Ohio, where we lived. I would come home from school and have the house to myself for a few hours each day. Clark usually got home around 7 pm, and my mom got home around 11 pm each night. This gave Clark and me about 4 hours in the house together. Most of the time, I would be in my room, and he would watch TV in the living room until my mom got home. Some nights we might order a pizza and watch a show together until I got tired or bored.
One night, we ordered a pizza and planned to watch a weekly show we liked. I sat on one end of our huge couch, and Clark was at the other end with his feet up. About fifteen minutes into the show, Clark started asking me questions about boys and how I felt about dating. This conversation threw me off because he had never asked me those types of questions and really did not speak to me about personal stuff when my mom was not around. I held the couch pillow tighter and thought, "this is weird."
Clark had always been nice to me. He never made me feel uncomfortable, and although they had disagreements from time to time, I never saw him argue with my mom. He was not abusive to us, and I liked Clark. Until that night.
Clark put his feet down, got up, and came and sat next to me on the couch. He put his hand on top of my hand and tried to maneuver my hand to him. I jumped up right away. I freaked out. He jumped up, grabbed me, and tried to kiss me on my lips. We struggled, and I'm yelling, "Get your hands off me!"
I broke away from him, ran to my room, locked the door, and grabbed the bat I kept beside my bed. Now I'm crying, shaking, confused, scared, just a combination of everything. I used the phone in my bedroom to call my mom at work. Her co-worker told me she would have my mom call me back as soon as possible. This was before cellphones were popular, so I called her job on our landline.
I'm not sure how many minutes went by, but he knocked on my door. He was saying my name and saying something about how I took things the wrong way, how much he loved my mom and me, and something about being a family. All I could think, holding that bat, was, "If he gets in here, just start swinging as soon as the door opens."
He kept knocking and saying my name, and the phone rang. I grabbed the phone, and I don't think I even said "hello."
"Mom Clark tried to kiss me," I said.
"What? What are you talking about Kisha? Where is Clark," my mom asked?
"Mom, he's tripping. He grabbed me, he tried to kiss my mouth, and he's outside my door now begging me not to tell you," I told my mom.
"Wait. Wait a minute. He grabbed you and tried to kiss your mouth," she repeated.
"YES, mom, YES. Come home! I'm scared," I told her.
"I can't leave work right now, and you got to calm down. You're so upset I can't understand what's going on," my mom said.
Now, as an adult looking back at that moment, those words hurt me so bad. I expected my mother to be so angry that she came home and tried to kill Clark. It never occurred to me that she would even think twice about what I was telling her.
"Mommy," I cried out. "Come home. He tried to kiss me, mom. Why don't you believe me?"
"Let me speak to Clark," she said.
I couldn't believe it. I held the phone against my ear and cried into the handset.
"Kisha? Kisha? Stop making yourself more upset. Put Clark on the phone," I heard the woman who gave birth to me say.
"No. No, mom. I'm not opening the door. If Clark comes in my room, I'm going to bust his head open. So come home," I said, and I hung
up the phone.
The landline rang again, and I knew it was my mom. Clark was waiting to answer the kitchen phone, so I let him.
I slowly picked up the line in my room so they could not hear me listening in on their conversation.
"Clark, what the (blank) is going on? Man, I know you didn't touch my daughter," my mom said.
"Kathy now hold on," Clark pleaded. "I don't know what's wrong with Kisha, but she says I tried to kiss her! You know better than that. She knows better! I was just going to hug her. That girl is like a daughter to me! I would never do no stuff like that or hurt her. I would kill for Kisha."
"Well why would she say that, and why is she so upset? Where is she," my mom asked?
" I don't know," Clark said. "She's in her room. I tried to talk to her, but she won't let me in."
"Leave my child alone. I'll be home soon, and we can talk about this."
I just stayed in my room. Clark never knocked on the door again or tried to enter my bedroom.
When my mom came home, I could hear them talking. I could hear him talking her into believing him. The fact that she hesitated was already enough for me. I knew she had chosen a side, and it was not mine.
The relationship between my mother and I changed that night. I no longer saw my protector, the woman I adored and idolized no matter her mistakes, the woman who cooked my favorite meals, braided my hair, and rubbed my forehead when I was sick. When she came into my room, trying to convince me that I made a mistake and misunderstood Clark's intentions, I knew she was no longer that woman to me. The following day, I moved in with my grandmother. My grandmother has always loved me and protected me.
My mom stayed with Clark. I did not visit the home my mom and Clark shared until I was an adult. My mom was there for Holidays, my birthday, prom, graduation, and other important events, but our relationship was never the same. I just never felt she loved me enough.
I lived with my grandmother, graduated from high school, went to school, and had a daughter of my own. My experience made me overprotective of her, and I want to make sure she knows that I love her more than enough. I am her protector, her provider, and her confidant. Clark has never been and never will be in the presence of my child.
Clark is an old man now. He has always attempted to be "nice" to me, but I know who and what he really is. He always has this shaky smile and a guilty look in his eyes when he sees me. I'm not sure why my mother chose Clark over me. I never asked her. Although I did not let this define my life, it has been something that I carried with me and had to seek therapy about. I wish I had a mother like my friends, colleagues, and strangers who share their stories. However, I am grateful for my grandmother, my daughter, and my strength. I hope sharing my experience will help someone else.