Excerpt from Gift of the Dreamtime

From Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma

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He’s making pizza when we arrive. I climb up on a chair next to the counter so that I stand level with the frozen pie covered with strips of ham and plastic cheese. He asks me if I like adding things to pizzas, and I say yes. Mama kisses me and leaves for the church meeting as I pile on sandwich meat.

He smiles at me as he gives me more ham to arrange, asks what I want to do for the evening. I say I don’t know, and he slides our supper into the oven as we focus on the news, and I think this time, maybe this time will be different.

But as we sit down to eat, I feel his hand on my knee and I try to keep my eyes above the table because I know if I look down, it will be out and I don’t want to see it. My pizza tastes like nothing and I think I looked, but I didn’t mean to.

The couch is always crowded with him, and I have to lie that much closer and I’m cold where my skin is exposed. His hands are there. He asks me if I like it, but I say no and he sounds surprised. I reconsider and decide I don’t like it, though I reconsider.

He tells me to touch where he’s out and I do, but I must have done it wrong because he tells me I don’t have to. So I don’t anymore, and I look down from somewhere above us.

He says we are playing, but I just feel burning, there, like when I’m sick, like when I have to go to the doctor, and I wonder if I will have to go to the doctor again because I’m burning. He asks me if it feels good and I say no. He asks me if I like to play and I say no, but I don’t think he believes me because he keeps playing.

He tells me that I am special and that we have a secret, and that I can spend the night, and that if I spend the night, we can play all night and no one will know. And I suddenly see us in his room and I feel really warm in his bed, like I’m special, but I don’t want to be in his room so I stop seeing it. I say I don’t want to spend the night, and he says I don’t have to.

I know the TV is on but all I see is its blue haze over the room, the mirror on the mantle. I watch the reflection, hoping to see something there that will stop this, looking for Mama’s headlights for when she will be back to get me. I think of how a seven-year-old would never put up with this, how tomorrow is my birthday, and everything will be different then, and how after I’m a year older, I won’t let this happen anymore. I see myself in my Wonder Woman UNDEROOS, a super power saving the world, saving them all, and then I see her headlights in the mirror lighting the room. He must have seen them, too, because we stop playing and he jumps up and I know things will be different tomorrow. Starting tomorrow, I’ll make them different.

©2004, 2012 S. Kelley Harrell