Written by Lori J Collins

 

The pillow catches her sobs and her tears, and then swallows the hitches in her breath.

It’s better to put them all in her pillow than to let Mama see.

Because Mama will ask her why she’s crying and she can’t tell Mama.

Daddy said it’s a secret.

 

The ten-speed carries her away and helps her to be free.

Free from unwanted touches and acts and horrible things.

Things that she hates and he makes her do anyway.

She’s older now and she’s still keeping his secret.

 

Telling him ‘no’ was never enough before; crying and resisting never mattered before.

But this day when he reaches for her, she stands up to him and looks him in the eyes.

‘No.’

He cowers in front of her and leaves her alone, never touching her again.

It’s over now and she’s stronger now, but it’s still a secret.

 

He despises her at once.  He is weak and pathetic and he knows it.

She has the control now.  She is a child, but she is tough and resilient, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Mama notices things are not right and tries to help.

But it’s all too much of a secret.

 

She continues to grow and she learns and lives and loves and is happy in spite of him.

He scorns her for being strong and good and happy and successful and beyond his manipulation.

They stumble through the rest of his life this way.

This miserable dance of normal-not-normal because of a secret.

 

 

Text © Lori J Collins

 

 

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