There are key moments in life that sticks with people, shapes them, molds them. Good or bad. We try to ignore the bad, some of us try to bury them deep, retell the story so it doesn’t taint what or who they are trying to protect. Sometimes the retelling becomes the reality, the memory. It’s safer than allowing the real thing to touch us. But the truth always finds it way. It squeezes itself out of the box you taped them shut in. The box breaks down from wear and tear, from sitting in a the cold misty corner of your mind. And when it does you have to make a choice. Accept it, run from it, or take a shovel and rebury it.
But no matter the choice you make, that truth is still a part of who you are, what you have become, and the root of the choices you make. You can’t really run from it, you can’t keep it buried. So you might as well let it out, face it. Embrace it. Accept it. It doesn’t need to consume you. It doesn’t need to become you. But recognizing it allows you to move on, and become a part of you that you aren’t scared to show. A part of you that you that doesn’t haunt you.
As I shared in my last post, I have been writing, allowing words to pour out of me. Stories that have been waiting for me to tell. The words were easy, the memories were not. I know that the words I write will have an impact, it might change the perceptions people hold of me or of the people I write about.
It might hurt. It might heal.
Or they might not have any impact on anyone other than me.
But I don’t want to pretend anymore. I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to remember it all.
Trigger Warning: This post does experience physical violence and abuse.
When I got home after school, my dad was in a mood.
He’s been working a lot of late shows again, and the house was not clean like he wanted it.
He was angry and told me to sweep the floor, I really don’t hear the words
but I feel the anger.
I crouch in the corner by the cabinets as I see his steel toe boot raise
That’s the only way to describe the energy in this home. Pure and utter chaos. I watch as her father raises his foot towards her and her rands reach out in front of her for
I noticed the bent fingers right away.
They are quickly turning blue and purple.
She finally stands up and holds the broom as best as she can with what appears to be two broken fingers.
I see the confusion on her face.
She doesn’t know I am here.
It’s too chaotic for her to sense me.
She stays quiet about her fingers, but I see her realizing that they are indeed broken. She’s watched her father hurt other people before,
hold her sister in a chokehold as she hid in the kitchen,
or even wrap his hands around his baby brother’s neck.
And then him cry later to her, making her promise not to say anything.
She’s always protecting him.
Not herself, not her siblings.
Because he’s her father. He loves them,
he just messes up.
He gets angry.
And right now, even with two broken fingers.
she is sweeping the kitchen floor she is figuring out how she is going to protect him.
I’m curious too.
Man, you’re really on your own kid.
I need to take the trash out. My fingers are blue and I need to walk these
heavy black bags to the other end of the building where the dumpsters are.
I’ll fall down the stairs.
Well, that’s what I will say. I will take the trash down, well I will throw
it over the balcony, walk down the stairs and then I will come back and say I
Yep, that’s how I broke my fingers.
I picture it in my head, it’s not a long walk to take the trash out but it’s
plenty of time to come up with a solution.
Yes, I fell and I put my hand out to stop myself.
When I did that I bent the two fingers on my left hand from my weight. I test out bending my fingers.
Ok let’s see on the other hand.
Yea this could work.
This is what happened.
A little after my father has cooled down, I approach him. He’s at his computer so I know he has had time to calm himself.
I tell him my story.
“Dad, I think I broke my fingers”
He replies asking how, I see the concern on his face. He’s worried. He knows.
I tell him I fell when I was taking the trash out. He gets dressed and we load up into the car.
It’s dark now as we arrive to the urgent care clinic.
He keeps asking how. He knows he did it, but I won’t tell him that. I don’t want him to get in trouble.
I don’t know what will happen if people knew the truth, but I feel like it wouldn’t be good.
The cops have come by our home often for fighting between him and my step-mom. I know that we can be taken away.
One of the girls in my class lives in a foster home. I hear stories, I don’t want that.
So I tell him, I fell.
The doctors ask me for my story, and I tell them. I even demonstrate how I fell and bent my fingers back.
I don’t think they believe me.
But I don’t change my story.
They confirm that my fingers are broken. I am going to need a cast. They put me in a splint that night, tomorrow I will go see the doctor for a cast.
I look over at my dad, his head is down. He knows.
He’s angry at himself. I can see it.
That’s why I tell him I fell.
He apologizes when we are alone, and I just repeat my story.
I have to say, that is a good story.
I am sure everyone in this urgent care knows that is not the true story.
I see it on everyone’s faces. But this 9 year old is not changing her tale.
She’s protecting him, and she’s only 9.
She’s the one with the broken fingers, and yes he’s being protected.
I watched her earlier as she orchestrated the story while taking the trash out.
I watched her stand at the top of the stairs, thinking. Planning. Coming up with a story.
She was picturing it in her head.
She’s fallen down steps before.
She knows how to do this.
Who’s going to protect her?
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