Read part one here.
Read part two here.

I was six years old and sitting on a worn out, brown couch. My eyes were anxiously fixed on the front door of our two-bedroom apartment in southeast Minneapolis, awaiting my mother’s entry.

Waiting.

It had been three days since I last saw her, and I had not eaten in weeks. My stomach hurt and I was always tired. The salt and pepper packets from McDonald’s did nothing to curb my hunger.

I was never allowed to leave the apartment to go outside, but the hunger was too unbearable to not attempt finding food. I got up off the couch and made my way to the front door. I unlocked the door and pushed open the screen door to a warm July afternoon. The sky was blue and I had to rub my eyes a little bit so that they would adjust to the light.

My hands rustled through the garbage cans that stood in front of every apartment door. After tearing through three garbage cans, I finally found what I was looking for — a half-eaten, soggy cheeseburger. I only noticed the maggots bit into the burger, but I was far too hungry to waste time in sweeping them away.

Afterwards, I quickly put the metal lid back on the garbage can and ran as quickly as I could back to my apartment before someone saw me. I made my way back inside the apartment which smelled strongly of feces and urine, sat back on the brown couch, and continued watching the emergency broadcasting channel; it was the only channel we had, and I continued waiting for my mother to return.


I woke up startled as I floated slowly to the ground. The sun was hidden behind a couple of animal-shaped clouds as I looked up to make sure that my parachute had not ripped. As the ground got closer and closer, I prepared myself for a rough parachute landing fall (known as a PLF). Surprisingly, I hit the ground softly and immediately started detaching my parachute from my harness. My heart was pounding and my chest felt like it was going to explode, but I had safely completed my final jump in airborne school and I was ecstatic.

Well you will die painfully someday because you’re too much of a dumb-dumb to survive, the voice in the recesses of my mind quietly whispered as it began to fade away.

That afternoon I met the rest of my airborne class for a group photo in front of an old World War II blue and white flying fortress bomber. I wasn’t at all interested in sticking around, especially for a group photo, but after Becker spent 10 minutes convincing me that it would be fun, I relented.

The rest of that day was a blur. I said my goodbyes to Becker while examining her lips, hoping for a passionate kiss goodbye — but she simply smiled at me and walked away.

My next stop was Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) and to say I was excited about the opportunity would be a lie. For the life of me, I didn’t know why I wanted to become a Ranger — in fact, I thought it was mainly something for long bearded white men who enjoyed building shit with their hands and living off of the land. These men I imagined, drank whisky from a small cup they crafted from animal bones while fucking their wives or girlfriends; definitely no place for a nigger like you.

I also heard horror stories about how difficult it was and how the cadre was allowed to hit you if you were a complete fuck up, and there was some talk about a hellish place called Cole Range. To be honest — none of that stuff bothered me. I was no stranger to hunger. I was no stranger to suffering. It was the voices in my head — the low self-esteem and the fear of the unknown — that had the potential to make my journey harder than it had to be.


The sky was a dark, foreboding gray. The drizzle pelted my foster sister and I as we hugged each other in an attempt to stay warm. The trees and blades of grass swayed back and forth like strong ocean waves, praising the two lost children who were forced to endure nightmarish circumstances.

The plastic patio furniture we were sitting on became uncomfortable as water tried to find its way to the only dry places we had left. My pajama pants and t-shirt stuck to my body as my skin began to itch incessantly.

I looked at the dark, almond shaped eyes of my 5-year-old foster sister as she wiped away water and tears repeatedly while attempting to stay positive. The water drenched cardboard box and its contents of 200 half-rotten bananas were the only barrier that stood between us and freedom.

“You little niggers better eat all them goddamn bananas before I get home otherwise imma whoop that ass,” our foster mother screamed before she left for work seven hours ago, locking the glass sliding door behind her. Her words crept their way into my mind every couple of minutes as I struggled to eat those slimy black bananas.

The rain came down faster now and the wind blew stronger. Our neighbors, a happy Hmong family, looked out of their windows with concern, though they dared not say a thing, lest they become the targets of unchecked rage and racist comments from our foster mother. They simply looked on in disbelief as the rain, wind, and darkness swallowed us whole.

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Mason
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Mason

I wish, really, that Julie and I could have raised you. My parents, my brother, his wife. Anyone that I know and trust. The greatest sin is to not be a parent to your children. I cannot fathom it.

rynosbucket
Member
rynosbucket

You are a Lion and among the Greatest of Men. Your value to this world can not be overstated. We are blessed to be walking this earth along side you.

clluelo
Member
clluelo

Please know you are a very valued person , you are loved and people want the best for you

homanj1
Member
homanj1

Curtis-When I was a kid, I fortunately knew nothing about what you faced. When I was a cop, I unfortunately witnessed too much of the terror. As a parent, I will never understand what it would take to make someone abuse a kid. You have survived. You have people that love you. You have escaped. I hope writing about it gives you some relief from the pain.

susanh
Member
susanh

Curtis, I cannot fathom how people can treat beautiful, innocent children like this. There is no rhyme or reason; there is no excuse. It is evil. Children NEVER deserve to be treated like this; children are never to blame. I know what gets put into you as a child is powerful but love is even more powerful and you are much loved, especially by your beautiful wife and daughter. I hope you know now that you are a precious and valuable person. God bless you.

Susan B
Member
Susan B

Coming out of the type of background that you have had, Curtis, I am particularly grateful and feeling blessed that you trust us all enough to share visions of the inner you. Thank you, my friend. We are and will continue to be all the wiser and more understanding for the insights into a background that very few of us have had or could conceive. I am equally grateful that you allow us to help alleviate/ameliorate just a small part of the anguish you have stolidly endured for so long, especially emotionally. You are using your past to strengthen you… Read more »

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