School Days

“The blood dries on my handmade white cotton dress with lace inserts. My hair is cropped short. Long thin limbs are attached to my ten-year-old torso. A nervous smile plays a child’s game with my mouth. I am cornered. Again.”

It seems to happen these days more often than before. Don’t look at her face. Don’t cry out loud. Don’t allow a single tear to form. And whatever you do, don’t move. Remain totally still. Breath stops.

My mother is screaming. My mother is crying. My mother is angry with me, with life, with herself. It is all my fault. I don’t understand. My mother has hurt herself in cornering me ~ the rough walls make her knuckles bleed. She raises a heavy brass buckle with a leather strap high above.

And I am perfectly still. I am. I am still. My mind leaves.

I go into the clouds where I float and am weightless. Nothing hurts in the clouds. It is warm. It is safe.

I watch my mother go through the ritual she seems to need so desperately. She is my world. She is all that I am. All that I know.

…later she switches to a baseball bat.

I am numb. I wait for her to tire. I wait.

Until the next time. When we are again alone in the house.

School days.

 

January 5, 1995 Crystal Lake, Florida USA wordcount250