April 15th, 2014 –
It all started with a room filled with wood. I remember sitting on a pile of them, I was cold and I was crying. It was mid winter in Maine, each breath I took was me giving up a piece of my childhood philosophy. Goosebumps rose on my skin as my clothes became colder, challenging my natural body temperature. All I could smell with my frostbitten nose was snow and chopped wood. I could hear my mom inside.
A tear rolled down my cheek, I quickly wiped it away as our landlord’s husband, William, walked outside to get firewood for the inside furnace.( I didn't want him to think I was spoiled or weak.) William was old, in his sixties, he never spoke much. Unlike most retirees though, he had more muscle because of chopping wood, hunting, and yard work that he busied himself with. I guess it was because of how he grew up working all the time, it seemed only natural that a person would keep it up after retiring. Of course, this made him into a serious person, usually straight faced or frowning at someone, it matched with his graying hair and beard. Most people I knew my age who knew him were intimidated by it, but I wasn't, it reminded me of my mom. She usually frowned or had a straight face when talking to me. Which, at the time, I thought was normal for mothers when their five-year old child tripped over their cat and down the stairs and passed out, making them unable to finish laundry.
William looked at me with his usually straight face, and then, to my surprise, his face softened. He pulled a pair of gloves out of my jacket, I took them. Realizing they were my blue gloves, I put them on and smiled at him. I was afraid of speaking because I had cried so much while yelling sorry through the door that my throat hurt. He took two or three pieces of wood and walked back inside. I was left alone again, cold, tired, and sad.
Looking back now, I don’t even remember what had happened to cause my mom to kick me outside like that. I do believe it was because I was scared of the dark and refused to get something from the van. So she got angry and made me sit outside for an hour or so. Most of what I remember is from afterwards, my mom left my sisters and me at our landlords for the night. When she had gotten out of the driveway, the landlord, Vickie, had gotten me inside as fast as possible, wrapped me in thick blankets and gave me a small cup of hot chocolate.
It was the longest hour that I had ever experienced in my life, and hours get pretty long when you are in high school or so depressed you can’t sleep. I guess it was long because I was five and my concept of time wasn't developed too well. Yet, I also believe it was due to how cold and terrified I was. Our landlord lived in the woods, which usually meant rabid stray dogs, wolves, or bears. Maybe some coyotes too, but I think they are usually somewhere else in the U.S.
All I know is that was the night I changed. My child self had locked herself away, the one who was always happy, smart, healthy, fulfilled, caring and optimistic. She was replaced by the person I am now: coldhearted, alone, pessimistic, bitchy, spoiled, temperamental, and sick. Though you could blame my mother’s cruel and strict parenting for it, I will still fight about it. I allowed myself to change, what else was I to do. Out of my sisters and I, someone had to appear as strong for my parents. And who knows, maybe I am just seeing myself they way I allow my family to perceive me. Though, I hate it, I want to bring the child I was back, but it is seemingly impossible. Maybe one day though, the child can return as the strong, confident, and beautiful woman she was destined to be.