I relate to: “I didn’t talk to anyone,” written in the middle of the story, “Skinning the Rabbit,” (SUN July 2017); after my mother yelled, “He’s not your father!” during one of our fights where I defend my dad. I am sixteen.
Several paragraphs later, I read, “I didn’t call out or cry. I didn’t mind the pain. Not that much…and I was free.” I pen in “NO” in the magazine’s margin. I was not free!
Normally, I would go on reading, but I paused. While pondering, tears sprinkle my cheeks as I connect to daddy and I never talking about, or resolving the pain of that day when the 16 year secret was hurled at me with anger. Regrettably, I stopped being affectionate with hugs although Dad has always been the love of my life.
As an adult, in graduate school to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, I asked my mother why she and dad hadn’t talked to me, (my sister told me she heard mom tell dad not to). Like the author wrote of her mother saying: “He’ll get over it,” (the bawling); I heard my mother say, “Leave her alone, she’ll get over it.” I couldn’t read further as tears flooded my eyes.
I’m reminded of the satisfaction I felt (and still do), last autumn while tearing wild grape vines off the lilac bushes and honeysuckle that were being strangled to death. In August 2016 I moved to an 1840s home divided into four apartments where the wild grape vines also covered the open area next to the lilacs. Underneath I discover a large bed of rich green ground cover, myrtle, its periwinkle flowers appearing, in the middle of which is a group of cut off tiger lilies.
I was filled with delight as this spring revealed tall orange Tiger lilies circling many dots of blue because I had tore way the life of the wild grape vines…and the sentence, “You need to stop being so sensitive.”
On a 2017 June day, while watering my newly planted pink and white petunias, yellow and purple pansies and violas, white daises and red dianthus (sweet will-I-am), and bright yellow, orange and pink zinnias, I notice a garden snake coiled in the sun. When I moved my sprinkling can, it slithered away as I say, ” I’m sorry, it’s okay, I won’t hurt you,” and within seconds she was back coiled in the sun’s sensitivity of my heart.