I am multi-dimensional. I can be many at once or singular. Sometimes both simultaneously. I am a survivor of child abuse and I’ve escaped the cycle. You can too.
The shouting was always a bad sign. Though Marie-Claire wanted to hide in a closet somewhere, I forced us to stand our ground and watch the physical abuse unfold.
Our Middle Brother, the one most like us, had a smart mouth and a quick mind that operated under Occam’s Razor. He defied the injustice of Father’s oppression. Marie-Claire loved Middle Brother for his spunk but despaired of him surviving to puberty.
He provoked the beast inside of Father, a creature of rage, jealousy, and sublimated pain. It didn’t help that Father’s hangovers amplified his inner demons. Marie-Claire’s heart wept for Father and for the terrible dynamics that ate like a cancer at our family.
Middle Brother sailed through the air. He was a little thing. His trajectory was impressive and the moment had a horrifying slow-motion quality. His landing was a rack of bikes.
Middle Brother didn’t move. We watched Father as he left the room. We followed, but not to find Father. Instead, Marie Claire insisted we find a washcloth and take care of the gash on Middle Brother’s forehead.
As we wiped the blood from Middle Brother’s face, his first sight when he opened his eyes was our concerned face. His first sensation was our ministrations. Relief poured through us but we said nothing other than, “Are you okay?”
It was useless to chastise him. Middle Brother wouldn’t change. Sometimes we thought he wanted to die at Father’s hands. Father confined behind bars and wearing orange was a satisfying fantasy that could very well come true.
The coward left the room as Middle Brother lay unconscious. I struggled with Mori as visions of stabbing Father again and again, his blood staining the carpet, gave me a thrill of terrified pleasure. We are too small, I said. Mori’s eyes glowed with rage. Father hurt what is ours. Left him to die. She paced inside the prison that contained our primal urges. He must sleep sometime.
While I managed Mori’s darker urges, Alicia planned. I could feel the gears in our head rolling through multiple possibilities. Cold logic. Insatiable curiosity. She studied Mori’s visions of blood and hate, parsed the rage into tidy categories, and filed away every thought, every feeling. She planned, not Father’s death, but his ruin.
We could use this, Regina whispered. Tell Mother that he didn’t fall into the bikes. That Father threw him. I shook my head. That’s not how it works. Regina rolled her eyes and I could feel her calculation coil inside my head. Mori was a beast, but Regina was a viper. Little Brother witnessed it too.
I scoffed, but not outwardly. We’d been beaten at any sign of defiance. Little Brother hides. He doesn’t speak. Frustration twisted in our chest. We were helpless, too small to fight back, and too frightened to move out of harm’s way. Mother will call us a liar. Like she always does. She hates us.
Regina offered a Cheshire smile. She’s jealous. We’re more than she. Prettier, smarter, and more powerful. I didn’t agree because Regina boasted. She saw us as better than anyone else. Sometimes she leaked through and alienated potential allies, diminished them, and I felt terribly alone despite all the voices in my head.
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©2017 I.O. Kirkwood. All rights reserved.