My mother was taking me a bath in the upstairs bathroom of our apartment. I was laughing and enjoying my bath time as most small kids do, playing with my bathtub toys and bubbles, when we heard someone running up the stairs. My mother turned just as the door to the bathroom was yanked open, and my father rushed in. Pushing my mother aside, he jerked me out of the bathtub and started down the stairs with me in tow. My mother was screaming, “what are you doing, stop”. She reached for me and was able to grab one of my arms. In the middle of the staircase of our apartment, my mother and father literally pulled me from each direction, each trying to gain possession of my five-year-old body. I am naked, crying, and I do not understand what is happening.
My parents had separated when I was about four years old. My mother was keeping me away from my father and his side of my family. They were not ready to give me up. They had decided to kidnap me, and take me away from my mother. I don’t know how thought out the process was, or what the next steps were supposed to be, but my father put their plan into action.
So, on the stairs of my home, my father and mother are playing their own game of tug of war with my little body.
With tears running down my eyes, I tell my mother that it hurts, so she lets go. My father scoops me up and runs out of the apartment. He puts me in his green van, runs around the car and speeds off. In his haste, he almost runs over a neighborhood child.
I know I am with my father, but I am terrified and can not comprehend what is happening. Dad says everything will be okay. He gave me one of his extra-large white t-shirts to put on, so that I was no longer naked. He takes me to a small, cheap motel one town away from where I live. I am happy to see some of my family there, but I am still very afraid.
I don’t remember a lot about my time at the motel. What I do remember, vividly, is the cop car that I went home in. An officer carries me out of the motel room, he puts me in the back of his cop car. I am sitting on a cold vinyl seat in an extra-large white t-shirt belonging to my father in the back of a police car. I can still feel the cold material of those seats. I see my father being handcuffed through the window. I am crying and terrified as the police officer gets in the car and starts driving. I haven’t been told anything, and I still don’t know what happening. The officer drives in silence…
I often wonder why in the world the cop placed me in the back of that car. Was it procedure? Was it just callousness on his part? Could he not let this five-year-old little blonde girl ride up front, or offer any comfort? I’ll never understand why he did this…or why it bothers me so much. Below is a picture of me at that apartment and at that age.
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