Re-reading about my year with Mother in Denver reminded me of something else. Between the time we got to Denver the end of February, and the time she met Ralph late spring, Mother latched onto no less than a dozen men, sometimes for a night, sometimes for a week or two, but nearly always in a cheap one-room situation. I never did have my own room, which meant whatever tricks Mother brought home, or whichever tricks took us to his place for the night, I was nearly always aware of what was going on.
After the first few times, I caught on to what was happening, the ‘adult transactions’ taking place, trading sex for a bed and food. This was an entirely different side of Mother from how life had been before we went to Denver, but at 13 there wasn’t much I could do about it.
Most of the time I pretended to be asleep, and for a while at The Mecca I rearranged the furniture so that the back of the couch was toward the bed. I could sleep on the couch and not have to see what was happening. But other times I’d just have to sleep upright in an overstuffed chair, or sometimes on a cot or whatever sofa the guy had.
And even though I tried to pretend sleep, sometimes I’d cough or sneeze or something. If the guy didn’t instantly lose his erection, or pretended not to notice, Mother would yell at me, “Roll over, close your eyes and go back to sleep.”
Apparently it never occurred to her that turning away or closing my eyes did not make me deaf.