Persephone's Daughters nominated this piece for the 2021 Pushcart Prize.
cw: some people will label the opening incident child abuse. I call it, the way things were.
My father would only tell the story once. How I’d fallen against the corner of the console TV causing a deep gash in my right eyebrow. He snatched me up as the blood and snot rolled past my chin. The doctor claimed I didn’t need anesthesia. He told my father to hold me tight against the examination table while he stitched the wound closed. When my dad spoke about that first jab, his eyes watered. My toddler body had lifted his six-foot frame off the floor.
The memory of it vanished, but not the lesson.
The jagged scar is more evident now that my eyebrows have thinned to grey wisps. Sixty years of muteness. Of not sharing the stories that formed me. The crib that cradled my babies was the same one my mother used for hers. It will not serve my granddaughters. I assemble the new bed. A hand gently halts my kinked fingers. “Your silence wasn’t weakness,” my daughter reassures me. “Who do you think taught me to be strong?”
Nina Fosati loves portraiture and historic clothing. She posts a daily favorite on twitter @NinaFosati. Recently named a Featured Author by the Heartland Society of Women Writers, her work can be found in JMWW Journal, Halfway Down the Stairs, Nightingale & Sparrow, and Oye Drum. A comprehensive list can be found on her website www.NinaFosati.com.