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Dirty Magazines

My brother and I had a babysitter somewhere around the time I was about 5 or so. She was a rather portly Hispanic woman. My brother and I loved her at first. She used to take us out for ice cream, read to us, and color in my coloring books with me. We always had such fun.
Eventually, she showed her true side though. She started telling my brother she was going to tell our daddy on us if we didn’t listen to her. My brother and I really didn’t care about that, or at least I didn’t. I loved my daddy. I adored and idolized him. There was no greater being on the face of the earth than my daddy when I was 5 years old. I couldn’t understand why my brother always acted so scared when she would use these silly threats on us. It wasn’t until years later my mother told me why. Now that I look back on it, it makes a lot more sense.

I loved my brother. He was my best friend. When he started acting scared of this woman, I started feeling a bit odd toward her, too. If my brother were scared of her, I most certainly would be. I drew my strength from him. I looked up to him. It escaladed to the point where he and I would hide in his closet when we were at home. I was more terrified of this woman than I was of being in a dark closet. We didn’t want her finding us.

I think eventually she was able to find us in his closet, and we had to find another hiding place. For a while we chose the old car trailer my dad had in the back yard. We would climb under the middle of it and huddle together in the fall, freezing cold, but refusing to come out until we knew either Mom or Dad had come home. My brother would often hold his arm over me to keep me from shivering so hard my teeth knocked together.

This woman used to take my brother and I in her station wagon every time she had somewhere to go. I don’t remember anything about where we went, but most of the time we had to stay in the car while she went in somewhere. While she was gone inside one day, my brother and I decided it was our business to be nosy. It didn’t take us long to find the Play Girl magazines on the seat behind us, laying in a pile on the top of a cardboard box.

I will never forget the face the woman made when she realized what it was my brother was looking at in the back seat of her car. It took her until we were almost home to realize what he held in his hand, snickering at behind her seat. Suddenly the car swerved violently, scaring both of us kids more than I care to admit, and the tires screeched to a halt. This big, angry Mexican woman spun around in her seat, ripped the magazine out of my brothers’ hand and smacked him over the head with it.

If my memory serves me right, she then called my brother a pervert. In my mind, that doesn’t make much sense. She was the one with two kids under double digits in her care, toting porn magazines around in the open space of a back seat, inches from the children. I remember her screaming and yelling at us all the way home, though I don’t remember a word she said. I think most of it was in Spanish.

My mother fired that woman not long after that, but I don’t remember ever knowing exactly why.

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