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To Childhood

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My childhood is a jumble of pastel colors mixed together in a cruel sort of conglomeration, coming out to a sort of dark color of cruelty and pain. I can recall with alarming clarity the summer afternoons spent as a young child with my parents, before the unyielding glare of divorce and abuse that would press its hand to our faces, watch us suffer and choke.

My mother, a woman of Hispanic origin, sat with legs crossed over a faded, worn, plaid-print blanket, her lips open wide in a smile, clutching my younger brother to her chest. The summer afternoon light filtered through the trees, dappling our midday picnick in warmth.

My father, a taller, darker man wearing thick glasses and two rings -- a UVA class ring and a wedding band, both golden, sat opposite her. I, a child no older than four, gleefully grabbed handfuls of chips and blankets, throwing both into the air until they landed like rose petals in the long grass that tickled my ankles. My parents exchanged looks that almost looked like love, passing over my head as superficially as air.

Yet, there was sadness there too, sadness that reached up through the years and, even still, takes hold of me; its pain shows on my skin, making its marks on my scarred skin, once soft and unbroken, now torn apart.

Sneaking downstairs, six or seven years old, as I often used to do. I’d watch the movies my parents would watch, ninja-like (or, at least, so I thought) sneak food up to my room. I saw the fights get worse; the family portrait, taken the year before at St. John’s Catholic church, of which we were members (specializing in conversions and molestations!) was shattered under my mother’s fear. I watched my father advance upon her with hatred in his eyes, and my feet could not move fast enough to take me away from the sound.

My world is full of color, contrasting hues and shades tumbling and falling together, combining in beauty and horror, love and pain. I, too, am a jumble of passions, misgivings and wants, full of ideas and pain, brought together with tape and string.

I am a glass figurine, full of beauty and prisms and promise, broken and shattered. Held together with tape and glue, brought together by clumsy, caring hands. Shards of me, too sharp to put back together. And sometimes I look back upon the child that I was, the platinum blonde creature who pretended she was a fairy and liked to climb the mulberry tree in my backyard, would look upon the person I become with pride or with confusion.




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