Wearing my best jeans, the ones with butterflies embroidered in my back pockets. Innocent curls up in two tangled braids that I’ve learned how to make on my own. She’ll be proud, I thought. A book, not a coloring one, but a Big Girl Book that I’ve read while you were gone, and my bit-too-loose tennis shoes that you sent on my birthday.
All of me, special and bright little thing, in the passenger seat on my way to you.
My dad was anxious, – I got that from him, just like the rest of my face reminds you of what your life could’ve been – and now I understand why. I understood even then, but “that’s my mother, what harm could that lady do?”
I wanted you so bad to be proud of me. And sometimes I wanted to be as invisible as you often made me feel.
I was there for when you wanted to come back.
Disappointed. But glad.
“How much harm could that woman do?”
I used to make up excuses for you, tormenting myself, my head and soul, for how much your own search for freedom crushed my own butterfly-in-a-pocket wings.
I used to think you didn’t know. I used to think you were blind with good intentions and messed up way of showing love. I used to believe my mother was not aware of how much she has been hurting me.
But you know.
Woke up this morning after days of silence to a text. Tired, loose curls in a tangled braid that I had to learn how to do in what feels like a lifetime ago. The last book I was motivated enough to read, laying beside me as my only companion. And my bare feet that have carried me what feels like a bit too much time.
All of me, once a special and bright little thing, in the solitude of my room, crumbling, broken and insignificant, at the words I wanted to hear about a decade ago. But those words looked sharped, twisted in my stinking guts like knives asking me to give it all.
“How much harm can a daughter hold?”