Carokashu: Disappearing Wishes

They now had to go to daycare. Before they had teenage neighbors, who sat in their home from time to time. One time she was lying on the floor and inadvertently saw under the sitter’s skirt, she was fascinated by the dark hairs peeking out her panties.

She found Playboys in her parents’ room under the bed and she would sneak and look at them. When she was older, she read the erotica. One story seared into her young brain, it was necromantic and shocking. Why did her curiosity draw her to explore so? She’d read the cartoons also but wouldn’t “get” the humor.

One time she and her brother were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of the bed squeaking in their parents’ room. Curiosity got them both, they sneaked in and saw their parents bouncing under the covers, then they ran back to their rooms.

The next morning, they asked their mother what the noise was, and she paused and sheepishly smiled replying, “Those were monkeys jumping on our bed.” They giggled and knew she was lying.

Some of the other children they played with had already informed them how babies were made, though they didn’t understand exactly how it worked. They thought it was scandalous yet funny.

Their father found a daycare through an agency where he made friends with the owner’s daughter who was a teenager too. She began visiting their house somehow, maybe she babysat with them at first? The daycare was in a house in a subdivision a few blocks down the main road where they cared for about a dozen or so kids.

The daycare owner had short brown choppy hair, walked with a limp, and had a deep, stern, gruff voice. She barked out commands and gave frequent paddlings with a thick rectangular wood instrument about 14 inches long that had a handle.

It broke her heart to see her 1-year old sister getting paddled for what reason, she didn’t know? Maybe for wetting her diapers? Another boy was punished by being made to wear a bonnet, a bib, and drink from a bottle in the corner when he had to be about 4 years old?

She had to help load the dishwasher and serve the other younger children. The daycare owner made her eat grits and she would almost barf. The sitter said that if she threw up, she’d have to eat that too. Later her mother would tell her a similar story about when she was in an orphanage in Germany, she spit up some cream of wheat and they made her eat it. So inhumane.

One day her little sister fell off backward from a bench and bit her tongue. It was frightening, her sister had to get stitches.

The chain link fenced yard was trampled and full of sticker weeds that pricked your feet, so shoes were required. It smelled like puppy’s breath for some reason and a bit like urine out there.

One day the sitter had all the parents pick up their kids early.

After that, they didn’t have to go there anymore. They found out later, the daycare owner had shot herself in her front yard.

Thereafter they stayed in various daycares operated out of people’s homes in their subdivision. It was hard when they had to stay overnight sometimes because she wet the bed. Her sister also wet the bed. Back then they didn’t have pullups.

She wet the bed until she was around 10? It wasn’t all the time though. She felt so ashamed, but she couldn’t help it, neither could her sister. Her brother may have wet the bed sometimes, she can’t remember because she shared a bed with her sister, she knew about her. Her sister always had bladder infections and had to have cystoscopes. Their dad even got an alarm pad that made a loud sound when her sister wet. By then she had stopped wetting the bed so much.

It felt weird going to the daycares because they were treated differently from the owner’s children. Like fed powdered milk and different snacks, the more economical foods.

She remembers one time she asked for seconds, white beans and rice, her favorite, but the daycare woman denied her saying that she really shouldn’t have more because she was big enough already.

That’s the first time she ever considered herself as fat, she was around 10 years old. She again felt ashamed. She felt like something horrible was wrong with her. She felt sad, abandoned, alone. She began to wish she could disappear. She wondered how it would be to die. Why couldn’t she get anything right?

One time she had reached the point where she’d been criticized and scolded so much, she felt this pressure inside, this wish to harm herself. Her dad had been fussing at her, they were in the car he was driving, she was in the rear and she couldn’t control her impulse, as they pulled into the driveway of home she leaped out the car, the back tire ran over her ankle. Her dad just laughed about it and asked what she was doing being a lunkhead and was she okay? She nodded dejectedly, embarrassed, and wondering why she wasn’t hurt, feeling foolish yet impressed that she actually went through with it. At least she could do something, anything to take that pressure away.

Maybe that’s why she suffered from abdominal pain every night after she went to bed, it would awaken her from her sleep. The pressure was boiling inside, and she didn’t know how to release it? Or maybe it was abdominal migraines, she learned about those as a grown-up and wondered if that’s what it might’ve been. Anyhow she had to take barium swallows and stomach scans where she had to have enemas in preparation. Being on all fours in the tub while her father inserted the tube attached to that red rubber bag, what an uncomfortable gurgling backward sensation. Wrong-way, that’s a poop comes out highway, how unnatural it felt.

She had an appendectomy electively per the doctor’s advice. They said they found a staple in her appendix and that may have been causing the pain? It was hard to stand up straight and walk after the surgery. As an adult, she’d often wonder if that was an unnecessary operation along with her tonsillectomy. She often wished she had her organs back. She wasn’t given a choice in the matter.

Third excerpt from Carokashu

Michelle Miyagi
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