Uncle Mikey

My mom has two brothers and three sisters. They are/were all very close when I was growing up and even now they live together and take care of each other. Most of the time, when I was little, at least two or three of them lived with my grandmother, Mamaw. Mamaw was pretty tolerant of the drugs and trouble-making the kids got in to most of the time. She would yell at them for stealing her Valium or her cigarettes but she never kicked anyone out or tried to fix the problem.

Because everyone was so close, Mom spent a lot of time at Mamaw’s house too. We lived in our own house with my step-dad, Rick, but Mom didn’t work much so we visited Mamaw a lot. Sometimes Mom would leave Rick for a few days or even a few weeks so we’d live with Mamaw then too.

It wasn’t a good place to be. When Mom did have a job during her splits with Rick, it was usually as a cocktail waitress or something like that. She dressed up in her skimpy  little bunny outfit that was basically a one piece bathing suit with a small tail on the back. She even wore a little rabbit ear headband.

I hated when she left me there. I cried and screamed until I couldn’t produce one more tear or take one more stuttered breath. I would eventually fall asleep on the couch or wherever they told me to go to bed and wait for her to come back.

They never lived in one house for too long. There was the little wooden house on the corner where I remember Mom wearing the bunny outfit, the tiny house on the corner of the block that Uncle Stevie used to run around, drunk, laughing and acting a fool, and the little cinder block house that was too small for the family.

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Looks like a real winner doesn’t he?

In each of those houses, the dirt and roaches were all the same. Nothing changed in any of them. Except that one of those houses is the first time I remember Uncle Mikey’s true colors showing.

The little cinder block house that didn’t have enough rooms for everyone forced Uncle Mikey, Uncle Stevie, and my cousin Larry – five years older than me – to share a room. There was one bed and then a set of bunk beds. The top bunk was Uncle Mikey’s and it’s where he first touched me. I couldn’t have been older than eight or nine years old.

I don’t know the why’s or how’s of my sleepover at Mamaw’s house but I remember Uncle Mikey volunteering to share his bed with me and making the top bunk seem cool and fun. We all went to bed for the night and he was laying behind me. Just as I was falling asleep I started to feel something between my legs. I don’t know if it was his finger or his penis but I know he moved it back and forth between my legs and penetrated me at one point.

I didn’t know what to do. As a kid, I was scared to say anything and I knew it was wrong but my body reacted to his advances against my will. I didn’t orgasm or scream out in ecstasy. I’m saying the chemical response in my body was activated by a grown man when I wasn’t even old enough to start my period. I didn’t even wear a bra or have big girl panties yet.

I felt sick to my stomach after that day every time I thought about it. Why did my body betray my mind? Why would Uncle Mikey do something so gross? Was this something you were supposed to do with Uncles? Nobody had ever talked to me about people touching you in bad places or the birds and the bees. I didn’t know shit about sex until that man exposed me to it.

This continued for a couple of years. Each time we visited Mamaw’s house, Uncle Mikey wanted to visit with his favorite niece. He would ask me to pop his knuckles or something innocuous that wouldn’t raise suspicions with other family members that might wonder why I’m always in his room. He was bold enough to do these things with my aunts, Mom, and Mamaw in the other room. He didn’t care.

One night, in that little house on the corner lot that Uncle Stevie liked to do his drunk run-by’s at, I was left alone with Uncle Mikey. Alone, alone.

At some point in the night, Uncle Mikey told me I needed to take a bath. Then he told me he was going to take one with me. I told him no and that I didn’t want to take a bath with him. He told me I had to take a bath and that it was okay if he took one at the same time. There was nothing wrong with it, he said. He told me to get undressed but I wasn’t comfortable being naked in front of him so he let me keep my bathing suit top on while he got completely naked.

I stood there in the bathtub, eyes squeezed shut as tight as I could make them, listening to him get in the tub. The purpose of the bath, of course, was not to get me cleaned up for bed. He wanted me to see and touch him. He wanted me to put my hand on him. That was his end goal. If I would do that then he would let me get out of the tub. He told me to open my eyes and touch it. I did what he asked and then I got out and got dressed.

Each time he would touch me, I would get more and more guilty and started developing an understanding of the wrongness of what he was doing. So, one day, a couple of years after it started, he came up to me at the dining table at my house and whispered something in my ear and I looked at him and told him NO. I don’t want you to touch me anymore Uncle Mikey. I don’t like it. I want you to stop.

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Mikey with my little cousin in his arms.

He had a look of fear, anger, and confusion. I know he was thinking he was going to be caught because I was going to tell someone. He was angry because he was losing the thing that made him feel good. He was confused because I hadn’t given him a clue that I was going to make him stop.

The threat of some stupid consequence came out of his mouth if I told anyone. I told him I wouldn’t say a word and then he never touched me again.

I didn’t tell anyone and Uncle Mikey stopped touching me but unfortunately for me, I was an easy target for the men in my life.

Thanks to Uncle Mikey, I have hatred, guilt, shame, and anger. I can’t let go of those things. My doctor tells me to forgive him and then I can begin to heal but I don’t understand how you can forgive someone for something so horrible. How can you forgive someone who isn’t asking for forgiveness?

I know that I will probably go to my grave with these bitter feelings that feed on me from the inside. They chip away at my sanity and my will to keep living.

Thank you, Uncle Mikey, for taking my childhood away from me. Thank you for turning those years into some twisted hell that should have been the years I was playing in the yard with my friends or riding bikes around the block. Thank you for making me a hardhearted person who doesn’t trust anyone completely.

Thank you Uncle Mikey for being a sick fuck who got away with molesting me and many other little girls and, to this day, you have the nerve to yell “Hello! I love you!” to me when I’m on the phone with Mom.

And even though everyone knows the type of person you are now, you still get to live freely… until you molest the wrong girl. Then, that little girl’s mom or dad will handle you. I hope they don’t just call the police. I hope you get what’s coming to you first and then you can get it in prison too. Don’t forget to squeeze your eyes shut real tight. No peeking. It’ll be over soon.

You sick motherfucker.

Let me conclude this story with the fact that I read it to my mother and her response was that she’s sorry I didn’t tell her. Not that he did it. Not that she didn’t believe me when my dad went to child services to tell them what I told him. She, and the rest of my aunts and uncles, denied it happened and called me a habitual liar. She acknowledges that it happened now and has seen and heard about him doing it from others.  Too late Mother dear. And I’m not sorry I didn’t tell you because if you can tell police and child services that I’m a liar then why would you have believed me or done anything to stop it?