The wind lapped the side of the house and the shutters rattled in response. A long whistle followed as the wind pleaded with the shutters, with the house, for a way in. Anything to escape the harsh world. But the house would not help. It was only an illusion of safety like childhood. A little boy had just drowned. A young girl was abducted and raped. But the wind still persisted and blew across the earth in search of a brighter horizon.
It happened about a month ago. A day when the hot sun was beating down on the macadam, and you could see the heat rising from the surface. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but now I knew better. Now I knew how much one day could change everything. How one moment could crack your life wide open like an egg. The contents spilling out as you struggled to put the pieces back together. Secretly you knew it was useless. You knew it would never be the same, but still you had to try. It was the day I found out I was 18 and pregnant. Another teenage pregnancy statistic.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I had finally left home and gotten away from the wasteland that is Pennington, South Carolina. I had moved to Florida for college, but of course I was just trying to get out of that dreadful town.
One frat party gone wrong and now here I was. I don’t even remember that night, Continue reading “Another Statistic”
Her personality colorful like autumn
leaves. Her hug had the warmth of
a family Christmas morning. Her laugh left
you dizzy like spinning, before tumbling
into the grass. Days with her you were a bike
no longer needing training wheels zooming cautiously
but triumphantly. Her smile shined like a full moon
on a clear summer night. The news hit
like gasping for air after falling from a barren tree
onto packed snow. Her suffering like the first Christmas
Santa was a lie and the
magical merriment dissipated. The last days
like standing too quickly, eyes
struggling to fight the black haze. She withered away
like blistered hands slipping from monkey bars before
hitting unforgiving ground. Her absence left me locked
in a dark room, fumbling for a light
switch that cannot be found.
I remember the first time I saw him hit my mother. I was six. It was late at night and I had snuck down the wooden steps for comfort from a bad dream that had involved the snake from The Jungle Book. I could hear him yelling. I knew he had a bad temper; I just never paid much attention to it. Perhaps I should have turned around, but something told me not to. Maybe it was curiosity or maybe I was just being naive.
I tiptoed down the long hallway; the soft flower rug running beneath my toes. I don’t remember what my father was yelling about. Maybe it was about the house. Maybe he was in a bad mood from work. Maybe it was even about me. But as I peered around the corner into our retro style kitchen, nothing in my six-year-old heart could justify what I saw next and nothing ever would. I froze like a coward. I should have done something. Anything really. Maybe just seeing his broken-hearted son would have been enough to make it stop.
The next day I saw the first of many black and blue marks on my mother. She brushed it off as having fallen. But I knew. I always knew.
I’m just a simple 40-year-old housewife living in a suburban hellhole. My husband is a despicable excuse for a man and I just his maid and cook. Last week he actually looked me in the eyes for the first time in 3 months when a quick swat of his arm left them framed by a mesh of dark colors. “Sorry, Dear” is all I can manage to whimper as I bite my tongue until it bleeds. “You’re a useless waste of a wife” he says repetitively among other naive insults. Tonight he will overdoes on his medication. “A heart attack” read the police report the next morning.