Silent before Ten

“Do you have any questions?”

“Come sit down at the table; I need to talk to you.” Her mommy told her. “Jimmy is not your father. You need to know. We are getting a divorce.” Silence what the little girl had learned so well didn’t change at this moment. She sat stunned. Anything that would have asked more questions or potentially risked challenging her mommy on why her mommy had lied all these years was not a risk she wanted to take. “No, mommy,” she said. “Are you sure?” genuinely her mommy seemed surprised.

“No.” the little girl reluctantly said when inside she was screaming, “Who is my Daddy? Where is he? Can he rescue me? How can I find him? Does he know I exist? Maybe he does love me.” The little girl crawled into her bunk bed. Turning her head towards her bedroom window that allowed the moonlight into the room the fantasies of a father that could protect her from her mommy’s uncertainty began to start forming. Soon, she would find this was a fantasy that could never evolve into reality.

“Call Him Daddy.”

“You know you can call him Daddy.” her mommy said. Her mommy introduces her daughter to a stranger. “Daddy?” the little girl thinks. “Who is this man?” The little girl sitting in a stranger’s apartment on a couch that seemed dirty, “Who puts a motorcycle in the middle of a living room?” the little girl thinking. This man, her mommy and the lady who rented the apartment sat around as if this was a normal day. Even the little girl knew this was not normal. “Did he hear my mommy tell me he could be called my Daddy?”

Thru the adult conversations, the little girl came to understand the woman was the ex-wife of the man. For some reason even though her mommy was still married to her “fake father” she was sitting next to a man,  she allowed this stranger to place his hand on her leg. The man, the stranger asked the little girl, “You want to walk on the ceiling.” The man six foot plus in stature seemed amused with himself that he thought of this trick to entertain this little girl. The little girl looked at her mommy for approval. The little girl had learned over the years never to embarrass her mommy. Her mommy smiled and nodded with approval.

The little girl was scared, but she let the strange man pick her up and turn her upside down so he could put her feet on the ceiling. The lady who rented the apartment grabbed her camera and laughed, “Smile” the little girl smiled and took the picture. After a few rounds of being upside down the strange man gave the little girl a gift, a puzzle of Big Bird. He sat with her and helped her put it together.

Across the room, her mommy informed the little girl that the little girl would be spending a night at this ladies’ apartment and her mommy would pick her up in the morning. The night was hardly a restful evening as the little girl slept next to this strange lady and she wept for her mommy most of the night. The next morning the man and her mommy returned to the apartment. Her mommy seemed distant. She was paying attention to this strange man too much. The little girl was done. She was ready to go home.  But, her mommy wasn’t.

“Go put your bathing suit on,” her mommy told the little girl. She shook her head no. “Don’t you want to go swimming?”  Inside the little girl was full of anger. “NO! I don’t want to swim. I don’t want to call this strange man Daddy! I don’t want to sleep in a strange apartment. I want to go home, NOW.” These were only words the little girl could think of but could never say.

“This is your room.”

“We are going to San Antonio this weekend, honey do you want to invite some friends to come with you?” her mommy asked the little girl. Convinced this was a loving treat her mommy was gifting the little girl happily obliged. From Houston to San Antonio the trip seemed quick because the amount of fun the little girl was having was beyond anything she could have imagined. She giggled; sang songs with her friends and the radio playing loudly. Her mommy didn’t get upset one time. The little girl felt like things were changing for the better. “If coming to San Antonio makes mommy this happy. I hope we are going to come more often,” she thought.

The road trip seemed to fly by exceptionally fast, and before the little girl knew it, her mom made a sharp left into a neighborhood. The houses were beautiful with large front yards. The large pecan and oak trees stood tall and their branches arched over the street making a beautiful canopy.  The little girl had only known apartment living, and she had never seen a neighborhood so pretty.

Her mommy pulled into a driveway and there stood the man from the apartment. Her mommy had a beautiful smile, and she looked at the man and waved. Suddenly the little girl’s happiness faded. Her little friends continued their laughing and talking as they jumped out of the car, but the girl grew silently angry. “Why are we here?”

“Aren’t you going to get out?” The little girl reluctantly stepped out of the car. She watched her mommy run and give a kiss to the strange man. “She’s still married,” the little girl wanted to scold the man for kissing her mommy for touching her back the way he did. Silence is the only protection the little girl knew so she kept silent.

“This is our new house girls!” her mommy announced to the little girl and her friends. “Come inside and look around. You are going to love it.” The girls didn’t understand as the little girl did. They could sense something was wrong. How could her mommy still be married but want to move into this house with this strange man?

“Do you want to see your room?” her mommy asked. What could the girl say, “No”? There was an obvious change happening that the little girl could feel was not a positive one. As she walked into this house, she noticed that it was under a renovation. Paint buckets and paint cloths laid on the floor. Her room was in disarray with sheetrock broken in pieces and a sandy wood floor.  “Isn’t it big?” her mommy asked.

The little girl stood there staring and while she had many questions about “What school will I go to? When are we moving? I still want to know who my Daddy is and does he know I am moving?” She said nothing. Within seconds, her mommy grabbed her arm and pinched it hard, “I asked you a question.” “Yes, mommy it is big. I like the windows.”

The man entered the room and grabbed the little girl and swung her legs around his side to carry her on his hip. She felt uncomfortable as he put his hand under her dress and held her bum. She wanted to be put down but did not make a move or a sound fearing repercussion. “We are staying here tonight, and you girls can camp out on the patio, ok?” The little girlfriends are excited and the night ends with s’mores; ghost stories and a sleepless night for the little girl under the stars.

The next morning after breakfast, the little girl is hoping they will leave and go back home to her real home. Unfortunately, she hears her mommy telling her friends, “Ladies it’s time to take you home say your goodbyes, and we will have to have you back here for a visit soon.” With relief, the little girl is glad that her mommy has come to her senses and is ready to go back to their “real” home. But, little does she know the invitation to get in the car and go was for her friends only. “Come here, I want to talk to you,” her mommy squats down to the little girls level. “I am taking your little brother to California, and I am going to stay there for a while. You are going to stay here with your new Daddy.”

Her mommy left that day for almost a year, a year that the little girl spent in hell with a man who was to be her new Daddy but acted like a man to this little girl. He took everything from her.  At ten years old he forced her spirit and the life out of her. He killed her in a way that can only be understood from those who have gone thru this experience. He was evil, but in the sight of others, he was a leader in the community. He hid his devious mind and evil ways behind his prominent and wealthy family. The intent for this little girl, the acts, the power he held caved her heart within herself. Her silence was now permanent.

Silent before Ten is the second chapter of the autobiography Silent Girl. Silent by Five is the first chapter which you can read here (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *