Kyle Muller

One of Tanya’s Boys (part 1), by Kyle Muller

After we performed the star spangled banner I took my seat with everyone else awaiting the ceremony to begin. ~this is going to be all day…~ so taking a power nap seems ritualistic in my current setting. Being nudged by my peer, whose last name is closest to mine, signified we’re finally getting to the good part. I notice that it is alarmingly loud in the fairly filled hockey arena used for this venue. Having the ability to sleep through these conditions are worthy of a pat on the back. By the time I reach the stage my name is bellowed through he speakers, “KYLE ANTHONY MULLER”. Suddenly a group of screeches comes franticly barging from within the already excited stadium of people. A smile now breaks out of my face as I receive my diploma.~Damn, I finally did it~ as I turn toward my family, who have clearly made themselves noticeable, I stop and spread my arms as wide as possible. Posing like that famous statue in Rio due Janeiro standing tall on top of the capitol’s hills. I embrace my brothers rooting me on like I just singlehandedly won a state championship. My Grandmother’s typically wouldn’t be caught in the same room together but today they stand beside each other with their classic but still elegant attire clapping with smiles from ear to ear with a look that lets me know I am still that baby they both took turns making an impression on. In this moment, I can now see why graduating high school was of the utmost importance to my family. With having two older brothers, who both already made their way across the stage, this wasn’t anything new to them. However, I’m one of Tanya’s boys and knowing the road we traveled to get here is the only way to understand the significance of this day.
Shuffling into the apartment, my brothers and I notice a brand new VHS tape on the end table in the living room. As I get closer, I realize it’s the Lion King! Gifts like this are far and few in between because my mom doesn’t have a dime to spare as hard as she works to keep us with our essentials. Which is why Will {family calls him BJ} and Lance walk from their middle school to my preschool and we all walk home together everyday. I am so ecstatic about our new movie that observing the sticky note attached to it had no relevance to me. They were instructions of course. Responsibility is a prerequisite in this family so before we were able to enjoy this movie, a series of chores needed to be done before mom came home and done they were as if she were in the various rooms with us watching our every move.
This was my early childhood and having to be counted on at such a young age made moments like playing outside and new releases a million times more valuable. Two things mattered most in my Mother’s life; well behaved children and going to the Kingdom Hall twice a week. But all this would change the night after my sixth birthday.
Standing at our bedroom door, I could hear a bunch of commotion coming from the living room and kitchen. I can see the front door from the end of the hallway and before I can even investigate these strange noises, Lance comes running inside with his hands covering his face.~Is he crying??~ BJ and Lance fight each other all the time while mom’s at work so whenever Lance starts to cry he’s about to explode and I get so scared that I follow suit. I hear Lance before I see him again but I also see a bunch of policemen simultaneously as I enter the living room. The officer’s don’t peek my interest because I’m trying to figure out why Lance is crying so loud. I thought only I cried that loud whenever I got spanked by mom. I stand by his face as if my presence alone could get him to possibly stop making all these noises. It is impossible for him to notice that I’m here because his face is buried so deeply into his hands as he sits on the couch. Maybe he hurt his face?? I turn towards the kitchen to see at least five policemen huddled around one another. One of them I heard talking on the phone and it wasn’t until I heard him say my step dad’s name that I started paying attention. “Porter, just turn yourself in and we’ll talk about it”. After a few moments the officer puts his hand over the receiver and whispers “he’s at his mother’s house” to the others.~Why are they talking to him??~ He’s a police officer too so maybe they need him for something. I know that we don’t need him for anything. He has been causing nothing but trouble in our house lately and I’m certain mom wants nothing to do with him. She keeps a smile on her face but I know it’s him that keeps beating her up, especially since she always has me answering the phone to tell him that she’s at work. I don’t know exactly what he did bu mom kicked him out the house for it and whenever she did see him, it was at a restaurant or something with all of us there. She would probably be pissed if she were here now and she heard them talking to him but she went out with my Aunt Sherri tonight. Lance is supposed to be babysitting my cousins but instead, he’s here crying. In a matter of ten minutes, all my brothers and my Aunt Sherri are sitting in the living room…crying. I don’t remember anything else for the rest of the night but the next morning I knew two things. My Mother was dead and my dad is driving from Detroit to Jacksonville so we could live with him now. I can’t really say when I actually found out what happened to mom that night. The hatred my Granny {my Mother’s mom} had for Porter and his entire family was how I learned that it was his fault. It wasn’t until I was ten that I read a poem Lance wrote in memory of my mother explaining that she had been shot five times. I was surprised when I learned that although the hate Granny had for Porter was so strong, it wasn’t enough for her to allow him to be executed by the electric chair. However, it could have been the love Granny had for my baby brother Calvin, who is actually Porter’s son.

KYLE MULLER
DOC #A614-480

Categories: Kyle Muller

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