Locked AwayAs a small child, I watched my uncle beat up my mom in the middle of my living room. Frozen with fear I could do nothing; not run, not speak, not move. My mom pleaded to me between the punches to dial 911, but my mind and body would not let me move. My sister ran past me into my moms room to try to call the cops, but my uncle quickly followed after her. Being a grown man, he caught her quickly; pushing her over, ripping the phone out the wall, and snapping the wire in two. As he came back into the living room, I ran to my bedroom closet, crouching down at the bottom. I stayed there crying, with my hands over my ears and my eyes closed shut. I had never been so scared in my entire life. I knew he would kill my mom, then come for me.
The closet door suddenly flung open, exposing not my uncle, but my older sister. She grabbed me by the arm and quickly lead me outside where my bleeding mom waited in the car. By the grace of god, she managed to get away from him. After a long day with the sheriff, we were sent to live in a shelter to ensure our safety. It was a small building with bars on the windows, cameras all over, and alarms on the outer doors. My mom, my sister, me and another woman all shared one small room. All our stuff was kept in just a few drawers and a closet. Just to leave the shelter for school or to go to the store, we had to get permission from a lady who would unlock the door and write down the time we had to return by. There were schedules and unusual rules on everything I did or wanted to do. Even playing outdoors in the backyard was timed and supervised.
I spent about one year in that shelter, feeling like a locked away prisoner, until I moved into another part of town at the age of ten. Though it has been six years since I left that shelter, I will never forget how lonely and distant I felt from my life, my childhood, and my home.