The Gift

August 28, 2010
“She doesn’t look, she doesn’t see
Opens up for nobody
Figures out, she figures out
Narrow line, she can’t decide
Everything short of suicide
Never hurts, nearly works

Something scratching its way out
Something you wanna forget about.”

There are terrible things happening in the world today, but one soul after another can find hope, together crating a small ray of sunshine.

“A part of you that’ll never show
You’re the only one that’ll ever know.”

In southern Idaho, a small girl with soft bones and a heavy heart heaves the lifeless eighty-pound body of her barely-breathing teenage brother out of the ditch. Soaked in the rain, with her hair tangles in her eyes and tears mixing into blood in the flow down her face she tugs at anything she can get a hold of to drag him out of the ditch he had been passed-out in before the rain blooded his new bed. The same nine-year-old girl took beatings for her younger siblings when they were still living together, and scraped up left-over pizza crusts out of empty pizza boxes to survive. That’s not how her brother survived, not with food. He knew better ways to forget the world, and the dirt they lived in.

“Take it back when it all began
Take your time, would you understand
What it’s all about,
What it’s all about?

Something scratching its way out
Something you wanna forget about
No one expects you to get up
All on your own with no one around.”
-The Fray

He died too late. The drugs killed him only days after she started too, now twelve-years-old. For a while the light returns.

“Dear little girl, so much hurt for such a young age.
Trapped inside a pretty little lie,
Your body’s betrayed.”

Three taps on the door. They won’t let her in, because she’s dirty and sickly and she has needle marks on her arms. They won’t forget her, because of the mattered, black locks of hair in her face, and the pleading blue eyes. They’ll call the social worker, because the guilt is too much to ignore but not enough to reach out. The social worker won’t find her, because she finds a place for the night. She always does. And she’ll find her comfort.

“Don’t fix your eyes on a fix you rely on.
Fixed her eyes on a fix she relies upon.”

Hungry day after hungry day, cold night after cold night. Her 4’9 frame never grew, but her heart never shrank.

“Stand unafraid, all the good souls stand unafraid.”

She found some friends to play addict with, to take care of her. She protected the only world she knew the only way she’d ever been taught. But when the fights broke out, like they had with her brother’s friends, she didn’t interfere, like he had. She just sat in a corner and waited for it all to end, and waited for the next fix.

“When life starts to burn and the pain returns
I just wish that I could heal the hurt you feel tonight.
There’s life in your veins.
These needles are chains to hold you down.
How do you expect to win this war?
Too afraid to fight. Are you too afraid to fight?”

There are other people out there, people who wouldn’t have closed the door on her had she come knocking. But she didn’t find those people. After a while she stopped looking. One of her friends watched her. He watched as she shrank into the corners of the room, slept too long, didn’t eat what he brought her. He saw her as that little, sad twelve-year-old girl, who needed warmth and compassion as much as he did. So he took her in and “helped her”. He took her last-remaining dignity and dulled the last-remaining light in her eyes. He took her into his arms after, and cuddled her carefully, making sure to whisper in her ear, and maybe his own too…
“It’s okay baby, it’ll get better, I promise. We’re gonna leave this place, we’ll break out. We’ll be free baby, I promise.”
But they didn’t leave. They never left the little abandoned construction site that the lost of God’s children found refuge in. Not together.
He brought her Doritos one day, and went down to get a blanket for her. But he didn’t come back. Rather, he found himself at the bottom of the stairs outside the house. He found himself with a broken leg, and an unconscious mind. She never saw him again, she never knew what happened. She never really cared.

“Dear little one, there was so much pain.
Time you can’t replace.
Trapped inside, too afraid to cry.
And now hands and bruises cover face.”

She slept and slept in her drunken, high daze. If she was awake enough to see anything she would’ve seen that she was turning into her brother. But this time there would be no-one to pull her out of the ditch by the belt.

“Something scratching its way out
Something you wanna forget about.
No one expects you to get up
All on your own with no one around.”
-The Fray

Three months later, deep in the winter, someone tipped off the police about misuse of the construction site. When the police arrived they found one particular house, with its open doors welcoming them into its hole. More than anything it was like a nest. A nest for the lost and the broken…the sad, hopeless refugees. The police walked in, expecting a struggle, but instead found frost-covered floors, and frost-covered corps after corps. Too cold and high to move, the refugees had continued to shoot up their miracle drug to make themselves warmer, happier. They didn’t know it was the coldest winter in eleven years, so they never knew when they fell asleep that they’d never wake up.
It was like a big freezer, holding their souls until they could be put to rest. But upstairs the police found a blanket-clad package. All alone in hibernation. Not dead.
“It’s okay baby, it’ll get better, I promise. You’re gonna leave this place, you’ll be okay. You can finally be free, I promise.” They told her.
Through the frost, and through the tears, she heard them. The angels of her new life. The gift of her new existence. The gift that she could also give again, to the child in her womb. The life that she might not have deserved, but was given to her mercifully.
“It’ll be okay baby, I promise.”

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