Friday, January 15, 2010

It starts with a kid who feels so isolated, she might as well have grown up on the moon.

I used to walk down the street and try to decide which way I would go, to run away from home.
Usually when I was due for a switching from my mother, who didn't understand, or ask, why I had to stay after school. She just figured I had been bad, when in fact I had simply been bad at math, and my teacher wanted to help me out.

I walked down the street, and I was too pathologically shy to ask people to let me in. I sat on the neighbor's porch, hoping she would see me and ask me in. I was supposed to be cutting a switch for myself, and I sat there.
She had a beautiful 6-month-old baby girl, and I never wanted that kid to face what I had to face, and I thought about that.. later I babysat her, and now the little girl is a lovely young woman with two kids of her own who will never, ever have to cut their own switch.

Yes, Liz, that was me. Your mom asked me what I was doing there, and I couldn't tell her "escaping child abuse". I didn't know. And I didn't escape it. I was completely mute.
You were the closest thing I had to my own kid, and I'm proud of you, and my brother, who is the other one.
The things my parents did to me, I would never do to anyone.
They didn't know, and they did far better by me, than they themselves received.
I just tried to do better than that.

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