The first time I went to the meetings was when I was about eight. I’d noticed the tattered white tent go up Friday in the unused baseball field, not too far away from my school, but I didn’t really think twice about it. Next day though my mom woke me up bright and early, telling me to comb my hair and put on my good shoes, we were going to see The Miracle Son.
At first I thought she was talking about some weird movie I hadn’t heard about before. But I was quickly disappointed as my mom took me to that tent. There had to be a hundred cars parked up and down the street and in other parts of the field. The muddy ground squelched under my feet as my mom hurried us along to the tent. There wasn’t a single seat left so we stood at the back of the room. I was already grumpy as hell, I had to get up early on a weekend, my nice shoes pinched my toes, and now I had to stand in a drafty tent packed with people. I probably whined about all of that but my mom just shushed and told me to pay attention.
Oh boy, this isn’t something I usually talk about. I went through a lot of trouble to make sure no one associates me with Augustus Robert Simmons. I moved states when I turned eighteen. I changed my last name. I tell everyone that my dad was a soldier who lost his life fighting for our country and that I lived with my uncle and aunt since I was nine.
Well, my dad was a soldier, but he left the army before I was even conceived. And after my mom died in a car accident when I was two, he dedicated himself into taking care of me.
I’m not just here to talk about what he did, although I’ll get to that too. I want to talk about what kind of person he was, before he started killing.
I was put into foster care when I was about seven years old. My mom failed her drug test for the last time and losing me was the price she had to pay.
It’s not something I talk about often, mostly because until I was adopted by a really great person three years later, my life was in constant upheaval. I’d go week to week wondering when that dark blue van would pull back up into the driveway and it’d be time for me to go to someone else’s house. What would that next house be like? Would I be loved, would I go to sleep with a full stomach without a care in the world? Or would I find myself staring at the ceiling until the sun came up, fearing what the next day would bring?
The Anderson house was the latter. It was one of those houses, the kind that took in all the kids they could for the cash. Momma Anderson was a spending addict, she’d go shopping almost every day and bring home something frivolous and expensive. Daddy Anderson… well, I’d learned quickly that those requests for any of us tiny kiddos to sit on his lap weren’t from a fatherly point of view, if you get my drift.