One sunny summer day when I was five, I was ripped away from my father forcibly by a police officer.
My twin brother, David, was ripped away from my mother by a social worker.
Sobbing uncontrollably, we were then stuffed into a police car.
We had no idea what was happening or why.
Neither the police officer nor the social worker told us squat.
We drove for what seemed like a long time.
Thankful in some dim, distant corner of our minds, that we had one another.
We stopped at a home we’d never seen before, where we were summarily ushered in by the cop and social worker.
They introduced us to our new foster parents, Martha and Rick.
Understand, we were nearly feral children.
Our parents suffered from a below average pedigree.
Mom was and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, manic depressive, and last but not least, paranoid schizophrenia.
Dad was dyslexic and mildly retarded.
This did not for superior parents make.
Sometimes, my parents had trouble feeding themselves and paying the bills.
They took their rage and frustration out on us.
I personally preferred being beaten to their good moods.
When Dad was in a good mood, he liked to do things to me.
In fact, going hungry was preferable to what I had to do in order to get food.
Mom just slept, or watched from a distance while vile things were done to me.
When things were really bad, we would be put in our rooms.
Belted to within a inch of our life, and kept there for three or four days.
Without food or access to a bathroom.
During those days that passed as slowly as years, we learned as toddlers what the rules were.
If you tried to go to the bathroom, you were belted again.
Another day or two was added to your penance.
We urinated down vents, and became masters of defecating and hiding it.
When we were allowed out, we scurried to our hiding places, and emptied them without being caught.
So I suppose it was somewhat understandable we were taken from our parents.
Rick and Martha seemed okay at first glance.
Though you’ll appreciate, I’m sure, that we didn’t trust them a inch.
We trusted no one but one another
We were twins who had always suffered together.
It was three nights after we’d arrived that we realized there was worse torture in store for us than what our parents had subjected us to.
Rick was joking and teasing us, when he said “Now, who wants a spanking?”
My brother and I thought he was joking.
Turned out, he wasn’t.
When we would not volunteer, he ordered one of us to nominate the other for the spanking.
Neither of us spoke up.
He nominated my twin brother.
I threw myself at him, begging to take the beating on David’s behalf.
Laughing, Rick pushed me away.
So it was I was forced to watch while my twin was beaten.
From that moment on, it was a game to Rick and Martha.
They wanted to see if they could bend us to their will.
If they could compromise our love for one another.
So, we were made to choose.
Take food from the other, or go without so that the other would eat.
I wish I could say David and I were noble.
But we were five.
Hunger tended to gnaw at us more than your average five year old.
We’d went without so many times, you see.
There were times that David chose to eat, knowing I would not, and times that I chose to eat, knowing my twin would not.
We were punished for the others infractions as well.
I remember clearly standing in a corner watching the sun come up and go down, because David had spilled a little bit of cereal at breakfast.
I remember questioning a decision Martha had made.
I should have known better.
Because of me, David had to stand in the accursed corner, watching the sun rise and set.
When we were allowed to be together, we were closely monitored; more indignities presented to us to choose from.
There were, of course, other children in the foster home.
The one I remember best was Cindy.
A cute little girl who was just learning how to talk.
We giggled a lot at Cindy.
She couldn’t say “fork.”
She said the f word, instead.
One day whilst eating breakfast, Cindy vomited in her cereal.
Noting this, Martha asked which one of us would finish her meal.
Turned out, we had some fight left in us.
Neither of us ate what was proffered.
We were beaten soundly, and put in separate rooms the rest of the day.
Other options soon became available from our continuing resistance, as summer arrived.
Rick and Martha killed one twin with kindness, while the other went without.
They took turns at this, to see who might break first.
I like to think we were born fighters.
But how much can you take?
How much fight is there in you, when no one has been on your side all along?
We learned to adapt.
We learned what it took to survive.
We learned to hate.
We acted as if we cared, but only wanted what was offered to us.
With our background, swimming trips, visits to the library, bowling, and skating were things we’d never had.
We hated Rick and Martha with a passion bordering on homicidal.
We hated ourselves, for giving up even a inch…but we did it anyhow.
They say let no man tear two people asunder.
I tell you they are wrong.
In the armed forces.
They tear recruits down to build them up.
To make them into something better than they were before.
David and I were not built up.
We were, instead, used as pawns for the enjoyment of one woman and one man.
Before this point, we had only one another to depend upon.
Now we were bereft even of that simple privilege.
For love is a privilege, not a right.
Every psychic-medium goes through a trial by fire.
This is but one of my trials; I’ve lived through many.
So far, I’ve survived them all.
My twin brother was just as psychic as I, if not more so.
He did not survive his trial by fire.
On January 28th, 1998, David blew out his chest with a shotgun.
It was his heart he aimed for, and his heart he hit.
It simply couldn’t take anymore.