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The View From My Island

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Silence permeates through my mind. Like the remnants left by the raged sky, a strange calm settles in, shadowing the vanishing storm. My eyes glide over mountains of upturned drawers, mistreated possessions, pride and trust hung out to dry, basking under rays of disbelief and shame. Somewhere underneath this litter is my carpet floor, but for the time being I must try to swim though the destruction. Alone I stand upon my solitary island surrounded by an ocean of my most precious belongings. Suddenly my legs give out from under me. I fall into my mess. The mess that someone else made in a fury of flying fist and arms. The mess that I must now pick up piece by piece. A mist seeps through the pores of my skin, dampening my senses in a fog of numbness. I feel—empty, absent. Stone-cold fingertips rest upon cracked lips. They taste the sting of salt, memory traces of my reservoir of tears recently dried up from overuse. Now there’s nothing left. My thoughts reach out for reasons, explanations, replaying the chain of events that led me down this road, but I always end up empty handed. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, but each new symphony of bruises hits harder, crescendos louder than ever before.
The tapes reel back, and I am transported to the beginning. My mind rewinds to the ignorant replica of myself, oblivious to the woman with the laser beam gaze glaring atop the storm clouds. She is my mother, my guardian, my catalyst to enter this brilliant world. She loves me, exceedingly, the way that mothers treasure their daughters. She is my most supportive audience, and yet, my harshest critic as well. She is burdened with the responsibility of sleeping next to a man she once loved, a love lost to time and distance. She does not understand the usage of conciliatory language. She only knows the burning and freezing sensation of her emotions and her need to let them out. She lets the little things build up and fester until she becomes a loaded volcano bound to erupt. She is unpredictable. Tonight, the scalding lava spilled out at my feet, and though I ran with legs spinning like wheels, the magma inched up on me and inevitably dragged me down.
Like the familiar cliché, the calm before the storm truly appeared tranquil. I had just entered the door from a night spent out with my friends. Before I even had a chance to breath, I recognized the discontent in my mother’s footsteps as the pitter-pat grew louder. When she arrived, she deliberately ignored the niceties of “hello daughter” and instead shot a slew of questions my way, each one impossible for me to answer because to respond truthfully would be suicide. So, wishing to avoid loading her with more bullets, I tried to speak as few syllables as possible. Little did I know that I was doomed to lose to her on this night regardless of my counter-strategy. I don’t recall the last words that were screamed before she rushed into my room and wreaked havoc. I only remember the sensation of my feet nailed to the floor as all the courage and pride drained out of me.
The party was over just as unpredictably and quickly as it had started. My mother returned to her room and I stepped into mine. I felt no anger or resentment when I laid eyes on my room. All that remained was a muffled pain and a silence that extended beyond my existence. I considered the “accident” simply as one of my mother’s more severe episodes. All my life, explosion and criticism have been her methods of punishment and expression. I’ve realized that in my world, I have to deal with it all. Life is life. Mothers are mothers. She has lifted mountains for me, and I love her regardless of her flaws, her insecurities, her instabilities. I cleaned up the mess, every last paper, every last scrap, every last stain on my carpet. That moment was never spoken of again in my house.





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