By Diane Kane
I knew her well. You can’t live in someone’s body for nine months and not know them. I felt the anger. I smelled the sadness and tasted the salt that would burn in a lifetime of my wounds. With no choice; I was born, living in constant fear of the woman who bore me. I would be the target of her displeasure.
I survived in silence.
“Diane’s so shy,” she told people.
Silence would not save me.
“You have to learn to walk down the stairs,” she told me.
I kept falling.
My father tried to protect me – a little.
“Your father says I have to go to work to be away from you,” she told me at three years old.
She had days off.
“I told you not to do that to her ever again,” he said to her when he came into my bedroom and saw my naked five-year-old body.
She worked nights. At seven years old, I discovered if I was quiet I could get myself ready for school before she woke up. After school, I went to my grandfather’s, (her father). He knew, but he didn’t talk about it. My father would take me home after she left for work. I could go five days without seeing her like this.
Then I would see her.
I wouldn’t smile. My happiness enraged her.
At thirteen years old I ran away for the first time.
I walked the streets, used my thumb to hitch rides, slept in the woods or the houses of people who didn’t know my story and didn’t want to ask. Police would bring me home. They didn’t know what else to do with me. I couldn’t tell them why. So I ran away again and again.
“Diane’s spoiled,” she told people.
I got married. I moved, not far enough.
“I’m glad you had a girl so now you can know what real disappointment is,” she told me the day I came home from the hospital with my first born.
I cried. She laughed.
I never cried in front of her again.
I couldn’t put it into words. If I could say, who would believe me? Sometimes I wondered if I was the one who was insane. Then she would hurt me again. Never forget, I told myself. But I would forget a little, and I would hope. Hope that this would be the last hurt. Hope that she would change.
Fifty years later I hit the limit of my resistance. “No more. No more. Go away. I won’t let you hurt me anymore. “
“Diane’s crazy,” she told people.
My life shattered into a million tiny pieces.
Everything changed. Without her who am I?
Lost, wandering, unsure, I keep trying to puzzle together the broken pieces of my life.
Diane Kane is an author of short stories and poetry. Her work has been featured in local media and periodicals. Diane’s newest short story, The God of Honey, was recently published in The Goose River Anthology 2016. Diane has a home in Phillipston, Massachusetts, and is a seasonal resident of York, Maine.
Diane Kane is the publisher and co-author of FLASH IN THE CAN, NUMBER ONE, a book of fictional short stories. She chases her dreams of writing in the woods of Massachusetts and on the rocky shores of Maine. Follow her on Facebook at Page of Possibilities and online at WriteofPossibilities.com.