The Lost Child

Still as the roots of a tree she sits, staring off into space.  She holds her sadness close to her, like a beloved doll or teddy bear.  She shows no emotion, but she rubs her thumb roughly back and forth over her index finger constantly.  Each memory is a stinging slap on her cheek, a hot poker on her bare skin.

 

Years before someone had commanded, “Leave her alone, she’s dead.”  So she walked away from herself, from her own childhood, nevermore to return.  She grieves alone, in silence now, not sure what she has lost, but missing it all the same.

 

The child she left behind is still asking for her help, for someone to listen, for someone to comfort her, to believe her, to make the monsters go away.  She tells the girl to be quiet – no one cares.  “Quit crying.  Don’t be a baby.”

 

Every now and then, she lets the little one sit with her, coloring pictures are her feet.  As long as she is good and quiet and doesn’t ask for anything.  If she speaks, the child is shoved back in the closet again.

 

She says she doesn’t know any little girls, never has, doesn’t want to.  She doesn’t like children.  No one would want her for a mother.  Maybe, someday, she could love a child – be kind and nurturing – if caring did not hurt so much – or feel like a weakness – if love did not seem so impossible – and especially, if the little girl, did not look so much like her mother.

by Kerry Vincent (c) 1993

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One Response to “The Lost Child”

  1. thalia Says:

    this is so sad, yet probably truer than one would like to think. Very poignant.

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