Breaking the Rules


I know there are many people who grew up in a household with an established set of rules, probably written on a piece of construction paper on the wall. Not me. I’ve never had any rule when I was growing up, not set in stone, anyway. So you can’t break something that’s not written down, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not true.

The short time I was living in Texas was probably the darkest, most depressing time of my life. There were so many moment when I wanted to just run away but I didn’t have the guts. My life was like a drama. Everyday, my parents were fighting, arguing about god knows what and sometimes, things were thrown around and injuries were often narrowly avoided.

My bedroom had been my sanctuary at least until that night when the argument was too intense for me to bear and I shut and locked my door. My step-father was horrendously angry when he turned my lock and discovered my door was locked. I was 15 at the time and in his horrifically twisted logic, I have less right than my mom. That night, a rule was set. I was not to lock my door, ever.

In March, the following year, my mom left for Utah because of a job her friend got for her. I remained in Texas. Honestly, I was scared when she left. Even since the incident in Los Angeles, I’ve been rarely left at home with my step-father. If I was, it’s always just for a few hours.

One good thing though, after she left, the fighting stopped. On the other hand, my roles had doubled maybe tripled. I was to cook, do laundry, and clean. I thought I would go insane with all chores. The only things that kept me sane were TV, music, and my piano.

I used to write poems and compose them into songs. When I’m not doing that, I’d watch TV, that was up until our cable company finally shut us down after a few months of freebie. Then I turned my step-grandparents, who my step-father was still close with back then, to ask them to record my shows on VHS.

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, my step-father got into a fight with them. Then it was time for the silent treatment. Another rule: no communication with my step-grandparents.

I couldn’t do that. Fortunately, he gave me his cell phone, said he didn’t need it. So I found myself secretly calling them before I went home from school, reading the recording schedule off of a piece of paper I got online. Then have them meet me some place to give me the tape so I could smuggle them to my room and watch it when my step-father wasn’t home or was asleep.

I was nervous at first, my hands would shake, afraid that he might find out and interrogate me but it didn’t happen. He had never found out I’ve been in communication with his parents. I’ve done a few more times until I moved to Utah with my mom. Before I left, I even managed to return all the tapes and make it look like it had never happen.

How is that for breaking the rule? Of course breaking rules scared the hell out of me but what choice does a person really have when they are being raised by two maniac parents?

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