HIF Schmidt

Perry Reiki is a former engineering student at the University of Kansas. He is currently the Bar Manager at Arterra, an event gallery space located at 2161 Quail Creek Dr.

The flashing of police cars in my front lawn wasn’t unfamiliar growing up. I was raised in an abusive home. We were dirt poor and my mom and her boyfriend were big alcoholics.

There were always cops over at our house. I went to bed every other night with shit breaking and a pillow over my ears to fall asleep.

For my 10th birthday, I planned my own party for myself. All my friends came over. At the time, each one of them asked me, “Where’s your Mom?”

She called later that night around 10 o’clock, completely delirious telling me she was in a ditch and didn’t know where she was, asking me to call my grandparents.

The man she had in her life at the time worked at a meat packing plant, loading trucks. Yeah, he was that kind of guy. He was a big muscular dude, tall, He had awful tattoos. I remember the type of cigarettes he used to smoke. They were in a gray pack with a green triangle emblem.

He seemed like a giant at the time. He terrified me.

Right before I turned 13, there was a really big incident. I was sitting on the couch watching TV as I heard glass breaking. The dude had punched in the back window in order to break into the house.

My mom and him had been fighting and she didn’t want him at the house so he proceeded to punch in the window, and as a result was bleeding everywhere.

My siblings and I were terrified of this super big and scary drunk guy going into my mom’s room and shutting the door. My brothers and I were leaning against the door screaming and crying as he’s trying to break down the door.

After that, I just never felt safe in my house. As soon as I turned 13, I made a big decision to move in with my dad. My mom begged me not to, because she’d lose her house and would no longer get her child support.

I had to go to court to testify about all of the abuse and about my mom being suicidal. My mom forced my brother and I to write letters asking for her boyfriend not to go to jail for everything that happened.

About a year after moving in with my dad, my brother Taylor moved in. Taylor and I leaned on each other a lot.

It was a rocky first few years living with my dad. I felt like he was a complete stranger. Then he remarried and eventually became a great dad, as his parenting skills got strengthened with his new wife’s kids. We have a great relationship now and I couldn’t love him more.

My mom and her boyfriend broke up shortly after I left — when she lost her house. He was only there for money and a place to live. He was a scumbag.

It was really uncomfortable as a child to decide to move in with someone I barely knew. I think it was a giant leap of faith doing something so far out of my comfort level, but it was necessary. It’s about putting up boundaries with people and not suffering because of their own decisions. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without growing up somewhere safe.