I was sitting next to her; waiting for her to decide on her own to get up. Waiting patiently, impatiently. Listening and counting the minutes.
Her voice trailed off and I leaned in to hear her better.
A raspy voice that trailed off at the mention of her mother. A blunt voice that recalled her abusive husband. A sad voice that recalled the abuse her babies suffered.
She opened the gate wide, welcoming me down the path of weeds that she called her life. Thorn bushes, dried and cranky; rubbing together incessantly at her retelling. She just shook her head to keep focused on narrating. Like she was someone else, back then. And she was. Someone else.
One of 5 siblings. Her mother rode her like a ragged mule… “Do the dishes, Tina. Wash the clothes, Tina. Mop that floor, Tina. Cook our food, Tina. Say thank you, Tina.”
There were 2 sides to her mama. The best and the beast. And no in between. “But mostly, she was the beast. Always mean.”
I was starting to see her younger version. Tall. Pretty. Determined. Strong willed. She escaped, only to become married to a better beast. A beast that was determined to make life with her mother seem innocent, when compared to her marriage. A beast that punched and kicked and spit. A beast that kept her pregnant and trapped. A beast that snarled at her while he slapped her baby nonchalantly.
That sparked her.
Her fire was now lit and she scooped her 4 babes up and ran… back to her mother.
Nowhere else to go. Up was too far. And low? She’d all ready counted the blood spots on the dirty, wood floor.
3 jobs of nonstop work. She’d escape again. It was only a matter of time.
And she did. Into the arms of the first man willing to look at her. A new, abusive, second husband. Drinking and punching and cussing. A misery that shadowed even the brightest idea. A misery that snuffed out all hope.
She wasn’t a quitter.
She looks at me, at that point in her story. Her eyes got big. Her concave cheeks puffed out proud.
“Third time’s the charm.”
Her third was her prince.
Her third adored her.
Her third gave her, her.
Until his dying day.
Her eyes clouded over again, but her smile was still there.
He taught her how to love. In her swirling world of misery, he opened up a world of glitter and love.
I don’t know why she chose me to tell her story, but she did. And I adore her for it.
~KendraLynn 1/25/19 ©