This is the continuing story
Room for Althea Anderson

installation 2

The Dog Under My Bed

My mom stayed home with me for about two weeks after she left the hospital with me. She then returned to work. A woman named Roberta took care of my for the next 2-3 months. Later my my mom would tell me that one day she returned home from work, found a big bruise on my temple and dirty diapers on the floor. She then quietly let Roberta “go” and that was that. “Are you kidding me?” I still think to this day. What about reporting her or filing a claim of child abuse or at least something to prevent that from happening to someone else’s child??? Regardless, I later learned that two of my sisters were home with me during this short stint of time. During a conversation many, many years later I learned that Roberta would just let me cry and cry alone all day. My sisters wanted to come into my discombobulated room and comfort me and play. Roberta would not allow that. She was a meanie, plain and simple. My sister called her Rubbertoes, and she haunted my dreams for many years, literally.

I need to mention, because it’s pertinent to my story, that Roberta was a black woman of very dark skin color. Over the years, she morphed into this small yappie dark-colored dog with even darker curly hair. She was to become a dog that lived under my bed. I was constantly anxious about this dog. I kind of thought she was real.

I dreamed many different dreams about her. Sometimes she was chasing me around my house trying to kill me. Other times, she would chase me around our couch, in my mind of course. In those dreams, my mom would be sitting beside me. When the dog appeared, my mom would say with a bit of excitement, “Look whose here!” I was terrified. Luckily, in my dreams, if I was on the couch or on my bed, in my dream, the dog couldn’t get to me. It was as if my whole family knew about this dog who was always out to get me, yet they just would never try and help me. I still am not sure if I thought they didn’t care or if they just didn’t understand the dynamics going on.

Because of these repetitive dreams, I was afraid to even leave my foot hanging off the edge of my bed lest the dog bite it off. This lasted until I was in my 30s and started taking anti-anxiety medication. Fortunately today, I have conquered that dog.

More to come…