Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ONCE (A-Z April Blog Challenge)

Once upon a time there was a girl of nine.  She was shy, and kind and innocent.  And then one day she wasn’t anymore.  Innocent that is. 

Once and again it happened.  And then once and again, over and over. For three years her innocence chipped away at.  And she buried it in a place deep within herself.   In an absence of light, where nothing grows.  And she forgot.  And she didn’t tell anyone.  She became extra shy and extra kind.  Because she wasn’t innocent and didn’t want anyone to know.

Once is all it takes to make a secret.  She’s still an excellent secret keeper.  A habit she cannot break. 

Once, or twice at least he, this man in her neighborhood, told her she was special.  Those were not the times he threatened to kill her if she told.   

Once in a while, he touched her differently.  These times it didn’t hurt, maybe even felt good.  She didn’t understand.  Was that all right?  Was that why she went back? Was she too afraid to not go back? Because he said she had to come back.  Did their secret make her feel special? A girl of nine?  Well, just a little bit, yes.

Once a happy girl, she became withdrawn.  And although she didn’t tell, it showed in pictures didn’t it?  Her school pictures, her eyes growing  distant, her young face, older now.  She buried it, in that place deep within. In her thoughts. In her heart. All this, for a girl of nine.

Once he shared their secret, and her, with his friend.  Then it was a secret of three, not two. And still, she didn’t tell.  She was a good secret keeper.

Once, after turning twelve, she didn’t feel well – had cramps.  Her first “woman” time, for this girl no longer nine, and a when he realized, he ended their time, but not their secret.  The earlier threat became very strong then. 

Once it was over, she went on.  What else would a girl of twelve do?  She was shy, she was kind and she could bury a secret in a place deep within herself.  An absence of light, where nothing grows.

Once she began to remember, as an adult, it nearly broke her.  How had she buried it in that dark place?  One day at a time?  One meeting at a time?  All at once when it was done?

Once known, things are always there, her therapist told her.  She hadn’t “forgotten”.  She’d repressed the memories.  Buried them, to protect herself, the best way a child knew how.  Why remember now, she asked?  Twenty years later?  Touches, feelings, sights and smells, long better left buried?  You’re strong enough to handle it now, he’d said.  To grow past the girl stuck at nine.

Once upon a time there was a girl of nine.  And she was shy, and she was kind, and she protected herself the best way she knew how.  

19 comments:

  1. Repression, growing distant, a young girl looking old ... oh my god, this story doesn't shatter the heart. It cracks it, bit by bit. Guilt might have crushed her if she hadn't gone to a therapist. Sometimes the little girls in us could only be saved by the women in us. Saved might not be accurate, maybe 'Coaxed to face the secrets and fears.'

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    1. Your insight is spot on Claudine. Thank you for your comments and perspective.

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  2. My heart breaks to read this--how the actions of some for selfish reasons can end the innocence of another...not fair.

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    1. Thank you Jenn and I couldn't agree with you more.

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  3. http://todaysworkingwoman25.blogspot.com/2012/04/ocean.html

    right? ((( hugs )))

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    1. Brenda, water has alwasy been such a source of comfort to me. Your poem was particularly timely today. Thanks for the hug.

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  4. This was a very emotional story that made me sad. It was realistically written and well done. It's so unfair to take a child's innocence away from them...just makes me wanna cry.

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    1. thank you for taking the time to read. Not an easy one to read (or write) for sure, but I appreciate your doing so and your comments.

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  5. Heartbreaking, but powerful writing. Count me in as your newest follower.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I am down with an awful flu today, but tomorrow when I am up to doing more than just a few minutes on the computer I look forward to checking out your site.

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  6. This is so sad!! The worse thing is it happens all to often to to many little girls. It is awful. This was wonderfully written and made me feel as if I was experiencing it as the child.

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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    1. Kathy, I love your site and the flow of your writing. Your words mean a lot. Thank you.

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  7. Wow. Powerfully written Amy. The message is heartbreaking and the only relief is knowing help eventually came to her. Maybe your best piece to date. ♥

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    1. Very much appreciated Jo. Thank you.

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  8. Amy, I thought I had it tough as a child. I guess everyone has a secret door that needs to be unlocked at some point. It's good that you found the help you needed. I too went to a counselor to let go of my secret pain and grief. It is very cathartic to finally let the little girl be able to let go of the giant burden.Your writing was beautiful but also haunting at the same time. I applaud you for putting it out there for other eyes to see.

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    1. I like your analogy of the secret door. And it's good that it is unlocked. I don't plan to linger long at the doorway, but it does feel good to have it open and be able to look both back and forward and to, as you said, let go of the burden. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  10. This is so powerful--the story and the way that you unveiled it. It makes my stomach tighten into a ball and makes me want to cry. I can't help but to think of my daughters, grown now and thankfully unscathed, and my granddaughters, young and vulnerable.

    It took a lot of courage to face all of that and work through it. I'm so glad you were able (and I kind of want to hug you). ♥

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    1. Hug accepted. And thank you for coming back to read this one. It was my toughest and really only made possible with the support and encouragement of yourself and everyone else who's read and commented and their willingness to share.

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