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Whipped and beaten buttercream, October 10, 2010. (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/). In public domain.

Another day, another “thirty years ago on this date” post. But this one was my full confirmation that my childhood was over, that humans — especially Blacks males — couldn’t be trusted, and that I had a long way to go to make my life worth living (see my post “Another Day of Days” from July ’07 for more). It took years for me to undo the conclusions I drew from what occurred on this date.

My stepfather cut my Pookie hunt three days short on the sixth of July (see my “Lightning On A Cloudless Day” from last week) of ’82. Because I wasn’t man enough to actually find and confront Pookie to get the money back, it was now time for my whuppin’.

Whap! Whap! Whap!

“Are you gonna do what I say nigga!,” Maurice kept saying as he kept whipping me with his belt.

Kunta Kinte being whipped, Roots (1977) screenshot, July 6, 2012. (http://irvine.wikis.gdc.georgetown.edu). Qualifies as fair use under US Copyright laws because of low resolution.

I stood there with my arms and legs stretched out — and with my pants and underwear pulled down to my ankles — in front of a grimy white wall in my room being whipped by him with his leather belt. I could hear the belt cut through the air before it landed on my nearly naked body. I assumed that he pulled this straight from the ABC miniseries Roots.

Whap! Whap! Whap!

“I’m yo’ father and yo’ gonna listen to me!” he barked.

As the inquisition continued, my room started to spin in my head, and the white walls turned yellow and red.

Whap! Whap! Whap!

“Are you gonna listen to me? Are you gonna listen to me?” he kept saying as each hit became harder and harder on my back, butt, and legs. I started seeing pools of blood forming on the ceiling and nothing but hatred was forming in my mind.

Whap! Whap! Whap!

“Are you gonna listen to me?,” he screamed.

“I hate you! I hate you! You’re not my father, you’re just a bully!” I yelled.

My stepfather then paused from whipping me. Punches and kicks followed about a second later. First came three punches to my head and jaw, after he spun me around from the wall.

“You hate me, huh nigga?!?”

Then he kicked me in the stomach and the mouth as I lay on the floor, at least until I started to spit blood. After I threatened to go to the police, Maurice picked me up and threw me by my arms four feet into a corner wall, almost knocking me unconscious.

“Go to the police, muthafucka! I dare you! If you talk to the police, I’ll kill you!,” he said.

When I came out of my daze, my stepfather told me to move out and go live with Jimme. He told me, “This is MY house. If you hate me get out!” A suitcase then greeted my head as my stepfather said, “Start packin’!”

Mom arrived from a long day at work, around 3:15 pm, as Mount Vernon Hospital was about to go on strike, and she wasn’t a part of the union. “My poor mom,” I thought. When she came into my room, she immediately became angry. “What happened?,” she asked. I told her the story, and she told me to unpack.

After five minutes of quiet, I heard her arguing with Maurice in the living room.

“He’s a defiant child. We have to get rid of IT!,” he said.

“Who pays the bills? Who feeds your fat black ass? If this child of mine leaves, we’re gonna turn this mutha out, and you’re gonna be the one goin’ to hell!,” Mom said in response. I guess she really didn’t remember what happened to her on Memorial Day.

My stepfather then walked into my room to say “Unpack, nigga.” I finished unpacking, and then I sat in my walk-in closet and began to cry. I hadn’t cried in the closet since the day I finished third grade, because Mrs. Shannon was no longer my teacher. I had a crush on her all through that year. Now I closed the closet door, wanting no light to shine on me.

I felt trapped, with no place to escape from the wrath of my stepfather. I thought about poisoning his food, the fat slob. Or slitting his throat when he was asleep, because he could sleep through a thermonuclear detonation. Then I thought about killing myself again. I could jump out of the window in the living room and land flat on the blue-gray slate walkway between 616’s front door and the five stairs leading to the sidewalk and street. I thought that one of us would have to die to end this senseless ordeal.

Muhammad Ali at end of last fight, SI cover, October 13, 1980. (http://www.crowntiques.com). Qualifies as fair use under US Copyright laws because of low resolution.

I discovered that my waking nightmare had just begun. It turned out that my ribs and stomach were bruised, I had another knot on my forehead, my lower lip was busted, and my butt and right leg had bloody scars on them as a result of the belt. And I knew, all too well now, that there was more to come.

If there’s anything to learn from my experience, it’s to not wait for a teacher to notice — in my case, the late Harold Meltzer — or twenty years to feel comfortable enough to talk about your child abuse without being embarrassed.