I'm in the kitchen crying.
Six-year-old me whimpering to Uncle,
"When is Mommy gonna be home?"
I'm prancing through the backyard giddy with excitement,
Picking you a bouquet of wildflowers.
Before I yank each stem from the ground,
I lean in close to ask, "May I pick you?"
Patiently I wait, I listen for an answer.
Just like you taught me.
I'm laying beneath my princess comforter,
Fighting drowsiness, I wait for you to tuck me in tight.
Safely wrapped in your arms, my cheeks brushed by your lips,
Lullabies and whispers of love swirl into dreams.
Wait. Stop. Please. Let me hit pause.
Freeze this moment, I'd give anything to stay here.
Because Mom, what happens next is a frenzied blur.
I don't remember the first time you hit me, though I'm sure I was shocked.
And I'll be honest, I don't remember the first punch, kick, or hair pull.
But I'll tell you what I do recall.
You always wore rings on your fingers.
I walk out the door in the morning for school,
Foundation you smeared on my skin to hide the black and blue,
But you know the problem with makeup is it melts away.
My favorite teacher asks what happened to my face,
"Oh I just fought with my little sister."
Heartwarming words of inspiration turned to fiery lashings,
Objects and death threats spewed about like the spittle flying from your mouth,
You march upstairs, snow white knuckles gripped around a steak knife.
I remember the times you told me to kill myself Mom.
And I remember each description, down to a tee.
I'm running down a quiet wintry street,
Nothing but street lamps to light my way.
No time for shoes, my socks soaked through,
I don't stop till my feet are nothing but frozen stumps.
I have nowhere to go.
You don't understand why I hate you,
And it pains me because I love you so.
You've taught me so much,
I've you to thank for the woman I am today.
Please Mom, if you could only teach one lesson more let it be this-
How do I forgive you?
The little girl waiting for her mommy to come home.