Posts Tagged ‘incest’

The Lost Child

June 13, 2008

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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Ivylene

June 11, 2008

“Lie still and Daddy won’t hurt you,” says 84-year-old Ivylene, over and over again.  Memories of childhood abuse are part of her, like the cascade of wrinkles around her eyes and mouth.

 

Ivylene hid her pain for the greater part of a century, but when her defenses broke down at the Shadyville Nursing Home, “Lie still and Daddy won’t hurt you,” was the first thing she had to say.  What does it matter who knows now?  Ivylene had out-lived her father-abuser; he died at 49 of cirrhosis of the liver.  Her mother is also dead; she can no longer shame Ivylene, for telling strangers about the family secret.  She never even told her children, who could not understood why Mother was so nervous, why the least noise disturbed her sleep.

 

Maybe now, after all these wasted years of agony and silence and shame, Ivylene can confess her secret, and find a way to forgive herself for having been a helpless child.  If only someone would listen to the old lady and take her seriously.

 

Perhaps the stain is too deep, like the yellow on her fingers from decades of smoking.  She mutters to herself, and tries to be quiet, but when someone comes close to her bed, she yelps like a kicked beagle.

 

By Kerry Vincent © 1993