Yogurt and Honey

 

   Dear God,  He talks sweetly to me. You’re my baby, he says. My head keeps spinning, my heart pounds fast. I feel scared.  Whoa, like a train crash. So many parts of my body reacting differently, but pain at the initial impact, distrust, disbelief. Judy and Mike have no interest in what we do, just as long as we stay quiet. Shhhh…they can be violent when it’s loud, he says. They tell me their names and nothing else. A few awkward glances. I see them; they know nothing of what he intends to do.  I’m in a room, the walls intoxicatingly close, sweaty palms and red cheeks. A small room. The TV is on, loud, to drown out any noise. I can’t speak up. Do I want to? Curiosity is taking over any rational thoughts I might have had. So I stay silent.This bed is perfect for the moment. Nothing. Wait, there we go. Abrupt and heated. Then it’s over. I make my way through this foreign house into the bathroom. And I sit there for an hour. Looking at and counting the tiles—I gather myself together to face the world. Maybe I’ll forget this night. Once I knew a girl, she liked bran cake with honey and yogurt frosting on a broken Sunday. Her walls were purple, there she had “sleepovers” with her sisters every night. Being the youngest she shared the bottom bed With Beth and they fought over leg space. My legs are longer than yours, her sister would demand. That meant her diagonal claim to the whole bed was valid. So much so that kicking would be administered in the case of a “hostile takeover.” She secretly loves this story, because it reminds her of a time when all her worries for the day were bed space, food, sleep, and a quite area, thirty to forty minutes of quite would do. In her eyes sweet was sweet, the bitterness of the world had not yet tainted her pallet. Why do all stories begin with my curiosity? she asks. Her mom said, without curiosity you would live life with no perspective, my dear, you would never listen. All I do is listen, she lies. After this exclamation a look is exchanged. That look, no words. And then…well I didn’t mean always, she said.    Why was it broken? Because of the many families who lived a lie. The fathers two-faced abusers, the mothers never encouraged to speak…silenced by their husband’s pride. Swords cut out of words threaten them. Maybe Sunday isn’t broken, just those memories. The fact that some of her memories are so vivid she could reach out and touch the faces of the characters. But after that, memories are lost. Life got too real? That was her guess. What to do when life gets hard? Forget…that seemed to be her escape.  Mom is in the bathroom, three, maybe four times a month. Won’t come out for hours. Dad waits by the door knocking, demanding that he be let in. He starts by asking sweetly, using us as a tool. The kids are worried, Hun, he says.Then later he gets violent. Banging at the bathroom door shouting, I know how to get this door off of here.I’ve always wondered about this. If I had known why my mother locked herself away from the world…that she was finding comfort in that small bathroom. That she cried and prayed.And looked at her life. Maybe I could have done something. I still don’t have the courage to bring it up – to hash out these old, painful memories. My mother was strong, I believed. Which she is…but 23 years of marriage to a man who demanded from her with his abusive tongue, then forced her to mingle every Sunday with like-minded men and women showcasing HIS perfect family had taken its toll. She was tired, sick all the time. So tired she wouldn’t have the strength to finish a bedtime story or movie. Many of my memories play out that way. Wait rewind that part, I couldn’t stay awake, she said.  Mom is in the bathroom, and I was too naïve to see why.  Now I am in a bathroom, and she has no clue. If she felt one tenth of what I feel now, that is Fear. Depression. Emptiness.God help her.     

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Our world

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