The Day I Left My Rock for the Beach

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My house is a humble home, but it is set up on a large precipice. The view is phenomenal. When I stand at my front door, I can see for across the treetops and the glistening ocean in the distance. Sometimes the wind is fierce and rain pounds the roof and windows, but I am snug and warm inside my house on the rock. There’s not another place in the world that I would rather be, but there was once a time when I thought differently.

It was a warm and dark summer night. I stood, resting my head on the doorframe, looking out across the tops of the trees. It had been a very long and hard day, and I was feeling restless and agitated. A flicker of light down by the beach caught my eye, and the humid nighttime breezes brought with it sounds of laughter. A party was in full swing down on the beach. The longer I stood watching the flickering lights and listening to the gaiety, the more I longed to be down there.

I stepped out onto my porch, closed the door behind me, and started toward the porch stairs. As I lowered my foot to the first step, I hesitated. I’d never left my rock before, but the pull of the sand and the waves and the party was strong… so very strong. I bounded down the stairs and took off down the long path to the beach.

Approaching that sudden place where the trees toe the sand, I paused to observe the crowd. They were cool. They were hip. And they were having fun. Music blared and beach fires flickered. A group of three women raised their bottles and roared with laughter. A young couple sat right where the waves kiss the sand, wrapped in a passionate embrace. My eyes moved to edge of the flickering light to a small group of guys. One of them met my gaze and winked, beckoning me to join him.

I’m not going to lie. I had the time of my life that night… lifting my bottle high… joining in the uproar of the party life. I relaxed in the arms of the winker, letting him cover me in kisses.

I thought I had finally found the life, but as the east edge of sky began to ever so slightly glow with the coming of the sunrise, things began to change. The strong, muscular arms wrapped around me suddenly turned old, brittle, and death like. I looked up into his face and his eyes appeared as the eyes of the devil, dark and empty. I screamed and leaped to me feet.

All around me the happy partiers were turning into miserable creatures. The sand beneath my feet no longer felt warm and firm. Instead it felt cold and shifty. As I backed slowly away from the horror story unfolding before me, the ground turned to quicksand, pulling me into itself.

I gasped, bolted toward the trees, ran all the way up to the top of the rock, bounded up the steps, tore through my front door, slammed it, and slick my back down the inside. I tried to calm my breathing, slow my pounding heart, and stop the terrifying shivers vibrating over my body, but I could not.

I think my house on the rock understood somehow, because I felt it envelope me in some sort of safe and comforting embrace. This was home. This would always be home. This house on the rock was my safe place.

And now when I long for human connection, I just wait for someone to visit my rock and together we rest in its safety.

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
(Mat. 7:24-27)

When you hear the beckoning of a beach vacation, resist it, my friends. It is a lie. Sin is but a miserable nightmare disguised as pleasure. Its foundation is shifty and you will fall hard. Cling to your Rock. Abide in Him. And when the storms of life come, you will be safe and secure.

The Journey of a Maple Leaf

mapleleafA crisp fall wind pushed its way through the branches, fluttering the last three pointed leaf wildly until it broke loose from its lifelong home. Up, up it soared and then back down again, diving into the picture window of the house it had stared at every day. Inside, a small girl huddled in the corner peering over the tattered ear of her teddy bear at her fighting parents.

Just as the leaf began to slide down the pane, the fall wind yanked it away to the windshield of the red car driving down the street. In the backseat, a little boy sobbed uncontrollably. “Shut up!” the woman behind the steering wheeled yelled as she impatiently flicked on the wipers.

The leaf flew to the side of the road and into a ditch, but before it could catch its breath, it was pinging between grave stones, crashing into one right after the other. Each stone bore the etched name of someone dead… someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, child. So much death. So much dreary coldness. Relieved to finally reach the other side of the graveyard, the leaf fluttered to the curb and lay silent for a moment, trying to forget the names it had slapped against.

Suddenly, it began to vibrate. What was that rumbling sound? It was getting louder and closer. Before it could find the answer, the leaf was forced into the air and pressed against the window of a passing city bus. It studied the face of the woman only inches away. Her eyes were distant and sad, and her hair hung in greasy lumps against her tear streaked cheeks. She gingerly pressed her fingertips against the glass separating her from the leaf, and as she did, it was pulled away once again by the invisible force of the autumn wind.

It pushed and pulled and tugged the leaf right into the revolving door of a tall business building. The clumping and clacking of sophisticated footsteps over and around it overwhelmed the fragile leaf. A rather large rubber sole trampled carelessly onto it and the leaf found itself stuck. Up it went, then down again, pressed firmly between the sole and the floor.

The breeze created by the man opening a heavy wooden door loosened the leaf and it fell freely to a cold marble tiled floor. The man plopped his brief case on the floor and leaned against the sink, glaring at his own reflection before him. “You really messed it up today, Max. When will you even learn?” He slammed his fist against the counter, picked up his briefcase and stomped back out the door, sending the leaf back into the swarm of feet.

“Everything is so sad and ugly,” thought the leaf to itself, as it lay face down on the shiney, hard floor. “What a useless, miserable existence!” It no longer cared if it the feet squashed or torn into its veins.

Suddnely it felt itself being curled and lifted by a chubby, little hand. “Weef, Mommy!” a high pitched voice exclaimed. “Yeah. You found a pretty one,” a woman’s voice answered. “I keep it?” the little voice asked. “For a little while,” the woman answered again. The leaf swung in short swoops up and down as the chubby little hand transported it through the revolving door and down the sidewalk.

The wind gusted, yanking the leaf from the clutch of the sweaty palm. Up and up it soared. It looked down and watched as the little hand waved. “Good bye, Happy Weef!” the squeaky voice called. “Good bye, one and only happy child,” the leaf called back.

The leaf found itself flying higher than it had ever been. Up higher than the towering buildings of the city. It looked down, saw the scurrying people, small as ants, the glint of the sun on the skyscrapers, and the orange and red powder puff tree tops lining the streets. What a breathtaking view!

It wanted to stay up there forever where there are no tears, no yelling, no death, no ugliness, but the wind force had other ideas. It plummeted the leaf straight down toward the river snaking through the city. The leaf was sure this was the end, but just as it was about to hit the water, the invisible wind caught it and cradled it.

Faster and faster it sailed, hovering just above the surface of the sun sparkled water, between the rows of orange and yellow and red. Other leaves joined it and together they soared over and through the mystical tunnel of beauty until the wind puffed, scattering them into their own journeys.

The maple leaf floated into a park and onto the back of a running dog. It found itself being jostled up and down as the furry beast playfully chased three giggling kids. This was fun! The leaf hung on as tight at it could and felt a giggle burst out from deep inside itself.

But the three pointed leaf could not hold on tight enough and it was soon zipping through the air, doing loop the loops and nose dives. “It feels good and happy to dance,” the leaf thought as it soared right between a man and woman holding hands and straight into the hair of a mother. The leaf inhaled deeply, letting the fragrance of her shampoo and perfume engulf it. Maybe life wasn’t so bad after all.

“Higher, Mommy!” The swing pushed the wind and again the leaf fluttered and swirled, this time landing inside a stroller right on top of a sleeping baby. The leaf lay as still as it could, feeling the gentle rise and fall of this tiny chest. It leaned in close and listened to the rapid heartbeat of this precious life.

Up it soared one more time, high into the vast blueness. The leaf looked down at the happy humans, young and old, loving and living in harmony together. It looked down at the sunlight glitter playing in the river and the colorful tree branches dancing in the autumn wind. It listened to the children’s voices and giggles. It smelled the scent of earth and leaves and coffee and life. Each sensation mixing with the other until it all melded into something so overwhelmingly beautiful that the leaf thought it just might burst.

The leaf’s journey had come to an end, and the invisible autumn wind gently floated it to a pile of other leaves at the base of a tall tree. “What did you see up there?” a small oak leaf asked.

“I saw that life is full of sadness and anger and dark death. It feels empty and cold,” the maple leaf answered, “But if you soar up high enough and see the bigger picture, the scene will engulf you with such beauty that when you have fluttered back down into reality, that’s all you’ll see.”

The three pointed leaf smiled and whispered, “I saw beauty.”

 

Photo Credit

God Became Vulnerable by Love

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Two days had passed, two long days, since Lazarus’s servant stumbled to Jesus’ feet and panted, “Laz…a…rus… is very… sick… Rabi. P…please come… so that you might… heal him…. We fear… he won’t make… it much longer.”

I searched Jesus’ face, wondering what he would do. Lazarus and his sisters were like family to him. He loved them differently than he loved us disciples. It was more than a comradery. He loved them with a tenderness, much like an older brother toward his baby sister, only with much more intensity. I studied his face, but it remained calm and confident.

“Go home,” he instructed the servant. “His sickness does not lead to death, but to the glory of God.”

And that was it. The servant ran back home believing Lazarus was going to be just fine, and we went back to… well, what we always do… walk around talking to people, camping out under the stars, controlling the crowds as Jesus told stories.

But the last two days have been different. Every word he’s spoken has been tinted with a hint of sadness. When the crowds are gone, he’s quiet. I asked Peter this morning if he had noticed something was off.

“Ah, John,” he quipped, “It’s Jesus. He’s always a bit… well, different.”

When Peter brushed me off, I asked my brother James. I only got a shrug out of him and a quick, “hadn’t noticed.”

Maybe it’s because Jesus and I have a closeness that the others don’t share, or maybe it’s because I’m simply more emotionally sensitive. I don’t know, but apparently I’m the only one who had noticed anything different. That is, until Jesus suddenly announced, “Let’s go to Judea again.”

You would have thought Jesus was suggesting suicide. Everyone immediately began to protest. You could hardly hear one above the other. Finally. Peter boomed above the others. “Are you crazy?! The Jews are wanting to stone you to death, and you want to just waltz into the middle of them?”

Jesus held up his hand and calmly asked, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”

None of us were sure what in the world Jesus was talking about. Peter looked at me and raised one eyebrow as if to say, “I told you he was different.” I sighed and stayed close to Jesus. Something wasn’t right, and I wanted to figure it out.

When Jesus saw that we were confused, he said, “Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I will go to wake him up.” He said “asleep”, but his face said so much more.

I put my hand on his arm and probed him further. “Lord, if he’s sleeping, that’s a good thing. He will recover quickly.”

He sighed, and simply stated, “Lazarus has died.” Several gasps circulated through the lot of us as he continued, “I’m glad, for your sake, that I wasn’t there, so that you may believe. But, come on. Let’s go.”

Thomas began to gather up his few belongings then. “Let’s go, boys! We shall die with him.”

And so here we are… nearing Bethany. And apparently we’re not the only ones. “Hey!” I called to a Jewish man passing me. “What’s going on? Why are so many Jews coming into Bethany?”

“Haven’t you heard? Lazarus died. They buried him four days ago. We’re going to comfort his sisters.”

Is it my imagination or did Jesus just wince at those words?

“Jesus! Jesus!” Martha ran toward us. She stopped a couple feet in front of Jesus, breathing heavily from her jog. “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died!” she accused. Jesus took her hand and looked compassionately into her eyes, and her tone softened. “But even now, I know that whatever you ask of God, He will give you.”

“Your brother will rise again,” Jesus answered.

Martha sighed in frustration. “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus took her other hand into his and explained, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this, Martha?”

Martha nodded slowly. “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Jesus gave her a soft, sad smile. “Now, go get Mary. I wish to speak to her.”

We sat down beside the road and waited, and within a few minutes, we could see Mary walking toward the large boulder where Jesus sat. She practically stumbled to his feet, sobbing, “Jesus! Oh, Jesus! If you had been here…. If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” Her tears fell like rain as her body shook with sobs.

ifyouhadbeenhere

Jesus placed his hand on her head and swallowed hard. The mourners who had been with the sisters were beginning to gather around as well, weeping for their lost friend and for the loss of Mary and Martha. Jesus cleared his throat and blinked hard. “Where have you laid him?” he managed to ask before he too began to weep.

He pulled Mary’s head into his lap and leaned his forehead onto her head. His body shook forcefully. I have never seen a grown man cry so hard. I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I stood beside him, wrapped my arm around his shoulder, and cried.

The other disciples shifted awkwardly as the crowd began to whisper amongst themselves. “Look how much he loved Lazarus!” But some in the crowd accused him. “He opened the eyes of the blind! Couldn’t he have kept this man from dying?!”

Jesus lifted his head when he heard these words. With tears still streaming down his face, he gently lifted Mary to her feet, and stood himself up. Taking her hand, he led the crowd to Lazarus’s tomb.

“Take away the stone.”

Martha turned her head quickly toward Jesus in disbelief. “Lord, he’s been in there for four days. By this time, he’s really going to stink.”

“Oh Martha,” he answered. “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

Several of the other disciples lined up next to the stone, but I stayed by Jesus’ side. He was hurting, and I wasn’t about to leave him when he needed me most. They pushed against the stone and it slowly began to roll from the opening of the cave.

Jesus looked up toward heaven and confidently said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Then turning his face toward the tomb, he boomed, “Lazarus, come out!”

I nearly fell over backwards. Emerging from the tomb was Lazarus himself, still bound in burial cloths. Jesus nudged me. “Unbind him, and let him go.”

I hesitated, still trying to wrap my mind around what just happened. Jesus nudged me again, and I stepped forward. A huge grin spread across my face, and I ran to Lazarus. One by one, I unwound the cloths as his sisters and friends began to crowd around him.

After removing the last strip of cloth, I squeezed my way out of the crowd and found my way to Jesus’ side. “God feels. God cries. God understands. God is love.” I whisper these words, half to Jesus, half to myself. He smiles.

“God is love.” These words will stick with me for life. There is nothing so strong on earth as love. Nothing so exuberating… so edifying… so beautiful… and yet so painful as love. God came down from His throne to this humble earth. He allowed Himself to love… to feel it’s beauty and it’s pain. Why? So that we can believe. I will never forget this day… the day that God Himself sobbed uncontrollably because He loved.

 

A Metaphoric Nancy Drew, Pt. 2

Metaphoric Nancy Drew pt 2

*This is part two of the series, A Metaphoric Nancy Drew. You can read part one here.

 

“Nessa Brach?”

“Yes, this is Nessa,” she had answered, wondering who the caller was.

“Don’t trust him, Nessa,” the voice warned. “He’s not good. He’s pure evil. Get away from him as soon as you can.”

“Who? Who’s evil?”

“The Leader. Dr Landon.” By now, the voice was panicked. “Stay away from him.”

She heard a rustle and then silence. The caller had hung up.

Nessa sat on her bed staring at the wall for what seemed like an hour. “Well, that was weirder than snow in July,” she thought.

She pulled her laptop onto her legs. Maybe she could look up the number the call came from. Then she could find out who called.

211-123-4567. Andrew McCoy.

But the caller had definitely been a girl… maybe around twenty. McCoy. McCoy. Why did that sound familiar?

A door slammed downstairs, and she could hear the clip, clip of her mom’s high heels across the kitchen tile. Mom would know. Nessa slid off her bed and scurried down the stairs.

“Hi, Mom. Here. Let me help you with the groceries.”

Her mom looked at her in surprise. “Thank you.”

Nessa smiled as she slid the loaf of bread into the bread drawer. “Mom. Who’s Andrew McCoy?”

“He used to work for Dr. Landon. Why?”

Nessa opened the refrigerator and slid the jug of milk onto the top shelf. “No reason,” she lied.

“You know,” her mom continued. “His daughter Skylar was Dr. Landon’s secretary a couple years ago. I guess she started ‘loosing it’ and accused Dr. Landon of some nasty things, so Mr. McCoy resigned to take care of his mentally sick daughter. I don’t think anyone has heard of them since.”

Nessa thoughtfully poured herself a glass of Coke. “Mom, why did Dr. Landon take an interest in me? I didn’t  even know the Institute existed until I came here from Dad’s a year and a half ago. I wore clothes Dr. Landon would never approve of and listened to music that he deems evil. Why did he ask me to be his secretary when Aubrey left six months ago? Why me? And why did Aubrey leave anyway?”

Her mom stopped unloading groceries from the last bag and looked Nessa in the eye. “I don’t think all that matters, Dear. What matters is that the Good Leader saw great potential in you. He changed you for the better. You were so depressed and rebellious before you met him. He saved your life, Dear. That’s all that matters.”

There it was again… the “you owe the Good Leader your life” line. Nessa raised her glass slightly. “Thanks, Mom. I’m going upstairs to study.”

She was glad her mom didn’t ask her what she was studying. She had plenty of research to do, but it wasn’t for any of her college classes. She had to find out more about Skylar McCoy. This research project just might be more interesting than a jar full of fireflies to a six year old boy.

 

Read more from this series:

A Metaphoric Nancy Drew, Part One

 

*photo credit

Blockston, Pt. 5

window

Be sure to read part one, two, three, and four.

 

Mia felt as if she were spinning round and round, faster and faster, the walls seemingly closing in on her. Her breathing came shallow, and she was sure she would suffocate in the black ocean of these awful memories.

All this time… All the strange psychological issues she’s faced in life… All her anger… All the fear, her mistrust… Why she wanted to cry and run at the sight of a baby… It all made sense now.

It wasn’t that she was given to insanity. It wasn’t that she was afraid of commitment, as her boyfriend accused. It wasn’t that she hated kids.

It was that she had been scarred, traumatized. That, in an effort to protect herself, her mind had shut out these memories. But even without the memories, her subconscious still felt them, preventing her from trusting and loving… preventing her from living free from the memories’ chains.

A lone tear trickled down Mia’s cheek and hit her knee with a tiny splash.  She took a deep breath, trying to stop more from coming, but it didn’t work. Like a broken dam, the deluge poured forth.

No longer possessing strength to remain upright, she let herself slide down onto her side. She hugged her knees tighter and sobbed so hard it felt as if her heart would burst. Why? How could anyone be so awful to innocent children? Why am I so damaged by something that happened so long ago?

“I just want it to not be part of me anymore,” she pleaded through her sobs. “Just make it go away, God! Please!”

Suddenly, she felt a hand on her shoulder. “Mia?”

She opened her eyes. “Mrs. Stapleton? How did…? I didn’t hear you….”

Gayle took Mia’s hand and pulled her up into her arms, holding her as she would a five year old child. She stroked her hair and planted a kiss on her top of her head.

“He… he…” Mia tried to speak between her sobs. “He hurt… me…. He would come… into my room… and do things.”

Tears silently streaked down Gayle’s face and onto Mia’s head.

“He yelled…. He hit us…. He shook her… hard… too hard… He killed her, Mrs. Stapleton… He killed my baby sister.” There were no tears left now. Only dry sobs and anger.

“I’m so sorry, Mia.” Gayle pushed Mia upright and looked into her eyes. “I’m sorry, Mia, that I did not do more sooner. I wanted to help your mother. And I wanted to keep you and your brother safe.”

Mia leaned her back against the wall and stared out the dingy window. “What happened that night?” she whispered.

Gayle scooted over next to Mia. “Once your mother realized the baby was dead, she left the hospital before anyone could ask questions. She came back to my house. She was scared and didn’t know what to do. We called your grandma to come and get you two kids. Another neighbor stayed with you while you waited for your grandma to come. I went back to the hospital with your mother. We told them everything.”

Mia frowned. “I think I remember that we stayed all summer on my grandma’s farm.”

Gayle nodded. “Yes. You did. That was a very long summer for your mother. She pressed charges against your father and filed for divorce. Your father went to prison. She looked hard for a job and a place to call home, so she could be with you two. She stayed in contact with me for a few years, and then we lost touch.”

Gayle grabbed Mia’s hand. “Honey, what you went through with your father was terrible. I don’t know what you’ve gone through since then. But I want you to know that those terrible things do not have to define you or control you. Now that you know what happened, you have to power to let it go. To let it make you stronger. You have the power to live beyond these memories.”

Mia looked down at her hand in Gayle’s.

Gayle smiled. “Come on. Let’s go to my house and get something to drink.”

____________________________

“Well, what did you find?” Mia’s boss asked when she came in to work the next Monday.

Mia thought about the week she spent with Gayle. “I learned that until you face the memories, you can never live beyond them.”

 

Blockston, Pt. 1

Blockston, Pt. 2

Blockston, Pt. 3

Blockston, Pt. 4

*This story is fiction and does not represent my own childhood.

 

*photo credit

Blockston, Pt. 4

babyBe sure to read part one, two, three, and five.

 

Mia slowly closed the big, paint peeled door behind her and let her eyes adjust to the dark. Large wooden stairs rose in the dark shadows to her left, beckoning her upward to the sunlight pouring in from a dusty window. She placed her hand on the curved end of the banister and immediately flashed back.

______________________________

Three year old Mia slowly and carefully climbed onto the rail at the top of the stairs. Her brother stood on the step next o her. “There ya go, Mia. Now put your foot up.”

“I ‘fraid, Mack.” Mia whimpered.

“It’s ok!” he assured. “It’s fun!”

Mia managed to get her leg over the rail and now lay across the rail like a napping cougar in the jungle trees. She held the rail tightly and began to whimper again. “I fraaaaaid!”

Mack put his hand on top of hers and began to pry her fingers loose.

“Noooooooo! I ‘fraid!” Mia screamed.

Mack smiled and reassured her. “It’s fun. Let go and slide.”

Mia slowly loosened her grip and began to slide. It was kinda fun. She loosened her grip even more. Faster. Faster. “Weeeeeeeeeeee!”

But Mack had not told her what to do when she got to the end. She found herself flying off the end of the banister railing. Down she fell, hitting her head with a loud thud on the wall behind her. Everything went black.

As the blackness began to clear, she heard Mack crying and loud footsteps coming. The hall door flew open and their father stomped in. “What are you kids doing?!” he yelled. He grabbed her arm tightly. “Get up,” he yelled even louder, as he yanked her up off the floor. “Get down here, Mack!”

Mia could not stand. She felt dizzy and weak. Her father jerked her up again. “Stand up, Mia!” The yelling pierced her ears like sharp knives.

Mack made his way down the stairs and stood in front of their father. “What were you doing?!!”

“Mia slid down the banister,” Mack barely whispered.

Mia felt her father fiercely spank her over and over again with his hand. Her head spun, the voices echoed, and all went black again.

______________________________

Mia shivered and quickly moved up the stairs. “He always did get away with anything while I took the punishment,” she mumbled.

She walked down the hall and entered the first room on the right. This had been Mack’s room. She could visualize it as it had been 20 years ago. An old, rickety bed had stood in the corner, the sheet and blanket all rolled up into a ball. Stuffed animals, dirty laundry, and broken crayons had been strewn all over the floor.

There was no sign of these things now. Only a thick layer of dust on the hard wood floor and fuzzy dust bunnies in the corner.

She stepped across the hall and into another room. This one was larger with a gabled addition to the side of the room. This had been her room. Her bed had been in the little gabled nook, and her baby dolls, doll cradle, and little kitchen set had been in the larger part of the room. It would have been any little girl’s retreat, except for one thing. Something about the room made her stomach churn and she felt another memory coming on.

______________________________

Five year old Mia lay in her bed, holding her teddy bear close to her chest. Something had woken her. Her heart thumped loudly as she stared into the darkness and listened hard. Stairs creaking. Footsteps down the hall. Doorknob turning. She knew what was coming, and she wanted to hide. She pulled the covers over her head.

“Mia,” her father whispered as he gingerly pulled the sheets off her head. He silently stroked her hair and caressed her cheek.

Mia remained stiff. Maybe if she pretended to be asleep he would leave. But it didn’t work. His hands moved down to her chest, stomach, and legs. A lone tear ran down her cheek. She hated these nights.

______________________________

Mia’s heart pounded in her ears and her breathing came fast. She felt cold and clammy and sick to her stomach. She turned quickly and ran out of the room.

There was only one room left. Mia slowly pushed the door open. It squeaked on its hinges. What had this room been? She let her eyes slowly move around the room as if she were looking for a clue… something to spark a memory.

Her eyes reached the last corner, and she heard a cry… a baby’s cry. A crib came into focus.

______________________________

Young Mia lay in her bed listening to her baby sister’s cries. She wished she could help her. She sounded so sad and so mad. She heard her mother’s steps coming up the stairs.

“Shhhh,” she heard her whisper. “It’s ok, sweet baby girl. Mommy’s here.”

Mia listened to her mother’s humming. It was beautiful and calming, and she dozed off to sleep again.

She soon woke up with a start. Her baby sister was crying again. Her mother tried to calm her, but she would not quiet. Mia heard her father’s footsteps coming up the stairs and down the hallway.

“Can’t you make her shut up?!” he hissed.

“I’m trying,” her mother answered.

Mia tiptoed to her door and peered around the corner.

“Give her to me!” he hissed again. Her baby sister cried louder as her father snatched her from her mother. He shook the baby and yelled in her face, “SHUT UP!”

“Stop!” her mother insisted. “Stop right now!”

Her father tossed her baby sister into the crib. She let out a wild scream and then lay still and silent.

“Get out of here! Leave! RIGHT NOW!” her mother yelled, as she ran to the side of the crib.

Her father turned to leave the room, and Mia quickly pulled her head in and hid behind the door. She stayed there until she heard her father slam the front door. He was leaving.

Mia tiptoed to the baby’s room. “Mommy?”

Tears streamed down her mother’s cheeks as she held her baby close. “You’re gonna be alright, Sweet Dear,” she whispered. “You’re gonna be alright.”

“Get your brother, Mia,” her mother demanded sternly. “You’re going to stay with Mrs. Stapleton tonight.”

______________________________

It all came back. The trek across the alley to Mrs. Stapleton’s in the darkness of the night. Her mother leaving in a hurry to the hospital. Being put to bed on a blanket in Mrs. Stapleton’s living room. Lying awake all night. Her mother coming back in the morning without her baby sister.

“He killed her,” she whispered in realization, as she slid down the wall and pulled her knees up to her chin. “He killed her!”

 

Blockston, Pt. 1

Blockston, Pt. 2

Blockston, Pt. 3

Blockston, Pt. 5

*This story is fiction and does not represent my own childhood.

 

*photo credit