There are few things I would say I am a master of. I know I can bake, I guess I would say I master amateur baking. Along with amateur photography, sometimes writer (although I would never call myself a writer because I have no nerve to ask for anything to be published.) I have been trained in massage therapy. Yes, I am a master of massage. OK, I’ll claim that one. Another one that I will claim is being a master at jumping ship. I have spent my life honing the skills, really.

It’s quite easy to do when every school year till seventh grade was as the new kid in a different school (two schools in second grade, in fact!) I have lived in countless homes, and I do mean countless. And if we weren’t moving I would arrive home to the living room furniture rearranged or traded rooms every few months. Constant unexplained change became all I knew. Yes, my father was in the military when I was very young, but that didn’t explain the constant moves. As far as I can remember, there was never an explanation given. And there was certainly no discussion about feelings.

Finally when we moved to Phoenix from the St. Louis area when I was thirteen I entered Shea Middle School and stayed there, even moving onto the high school and graduating with my peers, people whom I had now known for six years – the longest lifespan I had ever known another person outside of my family.

Staying in the same school system though had nothing to do with how many times we moved to different houses. I’m trying to recall right now and I think I count five moves. Although that doesn’t count the middle of the night bolting to escape the crazy man my mother married for a short time. We stayed with her mother for a short time before the four of us (me, my mother, brother, and sister) and a cat moved into a two-bedroom apartment. It was far north and nowhere near where we were going to school. I was marked tardy numerous times because we all had to be ready on time and my mother had to drop each of us off at different places.

Looking back, I don’t know how that woman did it. And I mostly don’t know because she never talked about anything. I don’t know the why’s of anything. I don’t know why we moved all the time, I don’t know why she divorced my father (although as an adult I could see that he was not a good husband), I don’t know why she married her second husband, although I can figure out why she divorced him but I don’t remember how soon that decision came after the night she grabbed a kitchen knife aiming it towards him as his large body and booming voice laughed at her tiny intoxicated frame. She told me to call the cops and I did. But then when they answered I was told not to say anything so I hung up. The police showed up anyway but were placated away. I wanted to scream over the heads of the adults, “Take me away from this! We are not safe!” But I didn’t. I was scared. I was a sophomore in highschool, I think.

When she met her next husband, I remember she was excited about her first date. Then he moved in and we all moved to a house back in the school district. But there was never a discussion about why she was marrying him. I just don’t remember any discussions ever, honestly.

I have never seen a long term relationship. I’ve never dated anyone for even a year where I wasn’t knocked up or already married to them. I don’t know what a commitment looks like, and that is across the board: jobs, my female relationships, volunteer work, my familial relationships (although you don’t have a choice who your family is, you still have a commitment to a relationship with them, or a commitment to not have a relationship.)

If Katie gets uncomfortable or irritated, Katie leaves.

If I hear a girlfriend complain about a boyfriend or husband, or anyone complains about a job, I immediately think, it’s not going to work out. Find something else. Simple as that.

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