Mistakes I Haven't Made

Hatred reached boiling point in both of our minds at that very moment. I was in fact her Cinderella and judging by the wretched twist of her facial expression, she wanted to beat me like a red headed step child. She was as ruthless as Hitler himself, as destructive as a tsunami, and yet somehow more fragile than glass. The room became a gray-scale rainbow, shapes shifting in and out of focus. Seconds collected and molded into minutes which soon amounted to an eternity. I wasn’t sure of when or how, but at that moment an idea came roaring through my mind and hit me like a merciless tidal wave; I would make my escape.
There I stood, dazed and confused; fighting back an ocean of tears that I worried would soon crash over me. My father’s fiancée Sheila continued her malicious speech, but it had all translated into an alphabetic slur, heard but no longer interpreted. I had already been standing aside our ancient Dell computer for fifteen minutes, the dusty monitor was beginning to blur before my tired eyes.
“You’re ungrateful and undeserving” she hissed as I zoned back in. I stared into her amazingly bright blue eyes and admired her thin wispy strands of blonde hair.
How could a woman so beautiful be so cruel? I wondered silently to myself. My thoughts were cut short as she continued, “Do you see these children?” I studied them, my eyes flashing from soul to soul as I took in the horrific scene. They must have been about four, these helpless children with their bulging bellies and prominent bones wrapped in dark brown flesh. Their eyes were full of fear and screaming in agony. In the background I witnessed poorly constructed straw huts set upon dry, pale dirt. “These children haven’t got anything to eat,” she continued, “they haven’t anything to wear, and they definitely don’t waste time worrying about the toys they have.”
My head shook with disbelief as I reevaluated the blurred figures on the screen. Not only did I question the logic behind the devastation, but I wondered, how on earth was this my fault? How could I possibly be held accountable for the terrors that plagued a country half a world away? It didn’t seem to make sense. The spool began to unravel as the memories threaded through my mind. I watched helplessly as the brutal beatings were recollected, the countless times her tongue had left my fragile soul a victim of verbal whip lash.
The sketchy grey of my nine year old self along with Sheila and my father passing through the Great Lakes Crossing Mall came into focus. In that instance I could once again feel the cold, cheap jewelry clenched in my clammy little hands. The thoughtless “gift” that had been given to replace the soft, brightly colored beaded necklace my father had just ripped off of my neck. I recalled purchasing the replacement in Claire’s shortly after the incident. I could once again hear Sheila preaching that I as ungrateful and undeserving, pushing desperately to prevent my father from purchasing the piece.
My head was keeping time with my heart; the rhythmic thud tortured my sanity. Everything was always my fault; I was always too stupid, too loud, too slow, too inconvenient for her somehow.
“Were you listening to me?” her harsh voice broke my mental spiral. I glared at her though stubborn, determined eyes, and gave a fierce nod. My hand shot across my face, pushing the tears aside, pushing the pain away to make room for a new face. She wasn’t going to hurt me like this again. I was n ever going to be on the receiving end of her vicious slurs. A satisfied smile broke across her perfectly pale complexion at the sight of my tears. Little did she know that is was I who had truly won. With one final dark tear for the past, I turned down the living room hall towards a brighter, much brighter future.





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