“I’ll kick your ass!” Bubba screamed at my step-dad. At 4 years old he was feisty and I feared for his life. My step-dad was not someone to be talked back to. I can still remember the jangle of his belt buckle as it was coming undone. The leather swish, swish, swishing through the belt loops. I’d start running and my dad would grab me by the hand and pick me up in the air. Feet still running but going no where I’d feel the first crack against my butt and scream out in pain. When Bubba screamed out, “I’ll kick your ass” I knew what was coming next.
Teresa, Bubba and Shelly came to live with us when I was 5 and we lived in The Colony, TX. I didn’t really understand the concept of foster children at the time, but I remember that they stayed with us for a few months and just when we started getting close to them, they were wisked away by the state and place in some sort of facility. I’d later learn that they had been abused by their parents and that is why they were coming to live with us.
Eventually Teresa and Bubba were released and allowed to move back in with us, but Shelly moved back in with her mom. After Bubba lived with us for a couple of years he eventually went back to live with his mom too. Teresa stayed.
I remember Teresa dating a guy in Sanger. She drove over to his house one night and brought me and my sisters with her. She told us to stay in the house and her and “Bobby” went out to the car. Eventually we got bored and went outside to look for them and they were intertwined like two snakes in a mud wrestling contest. We thought it was funny and she was a good sport about it too. She was so infatuated with him she seemed to care less about anything else.
One thing that was peculiar about Teresa and Bubba was their knowledge of good and evil. They seemed to know so much more at their ages than we did. Bubba was younger than me but when I asked my mom what a tampon was Bubba piped up and said, “It goes right here” and made some very specific hand gestures. My mom laughed it off and changed the subject.
Over the years Teresa became like our big sister. When I was 6 she was 14 and so she seemed like an adult to me. When she turned 16 she got her drivers license and started taking us places. She worked with my mom at Safeway, dressed like my mom and styled her hair like my mom. Eventually she met a man and then without even saying goodbye, she left and never came back. It was very odd.
I loved Teresa like a sister and years later I found out that she started causing problems between my parents. My dad pulled me aside one day, 11 years after the fact, and explained some things that were quite upsetting. I realized then that was why Teresa disappeared. It was like that movie, Single White Female and I think Teresa was starting to become too much like my mom and possibly trying to take her place in the house. I was too young to pick up on anything at that age, but I understand it now and it’s more than a little disconcerting.