I look at these eyes of mine ,bluer than blue staring back at me from the mirror. The crystal blueness takes me back as I see one tear slipping across my cheek. There’s a vast ocean of pain that these eyes of mine hide. I do my best to deal with it, hide it, and keep it all in until it’s pouring forth like a waterfall of emotion. I think to my past and wonder if I could’ve been better. A better daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I think of all these roles I played from a young age. I became an aunt at the age of six, and I was quite used to being the youngest child in my family.
I sat on my Dad’s lap and watched my big brother holding this tiny baby. I had a mixture of emotion as I looked at him. Curiosity, excitement, and yes even jealousy. My Dad had left when I was four I remember it all too well; the crying, shrieking, and red hot anger of my Mom as she chased him out of the house. He was running for his life as she brandished a knife, and I knew this was a women on the edge between sanity and survival. He had pushed her to a breaking point and she had pushed back. My Dad left, ran out of our house and didn’t look back. He took on a new family, responsibilities, and lived in their home.
I visited every weekend and holidays and this never felt like my home. I was a guest and nothing more, and I struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. This wasn’t my Mom, bedroom, or backyard. This was too much newness for a little four year old girl to understand. I didn’t feel like I was special, wanted, or appreciated. I remember attending kindergarten in the fall. I was badly in need of a haircut and it was picture day on Monday. This would be my first and last haircut that my step Mom ever gave me. I couldn’t sit still the bowl on my head was heavy and cumbersome. The hairs tickled my nose and made me sneeze. It was an overstimulatmg sensory experience and everyone just thought I was misbehaving. I was called a brat and left on my own after that.
I looked in the mirror and saw this ragamuffin hairdo and I cried bitterly the rest of the weekend. My first Kindergarten picture and I looked like I had cut my hair with a butterknife! My Mom was furious and tried to fix it but the damage was done. I couldn’t even smile for that Godforsaken picture. It tore me up inside to look so ridiculous. The taunts, jeers, and stares overwhelmed me. I spent more time hiding or throwing my fists around to avoid any confrontation. I was no stranger to it in fact I welcomed it, then someone knew I was there and mattered. After that hideous haircut I avoided going near a pair of scissors or that stool again.
Then just like everything that floats around elementary schools and germ warfare I got lice at the age of six. I was horrified and scared about what was happening to me as I scratched my head until it bled. My Mom blamed my Dad, my Dad blamed my Mom and I was sent to stay with my Grandparents for a week. I remember sitting in the purple clawfoot tub as my Gram rubbed pink calamine lotion over my head, neck, and eyebrows. I felt that hot water pouring over me and watching those dead bugs lying in the tub. As they swirled down the drain my tears mixed with the pink liquid as it streamed down my face and into my eyes. It burned a lot, but not as much as my hot humiliation of having contracted the condition anyway.
These eyes of mine have seen a lot of pain, hidden a lot of lies, and have yet continued to be my windows of truth. These are memories I’ve stored away in the tiny box that I’ve buried in my mind. Then something will trigger it and like Pandora’s ill fated box it will open up again. These emotional scars I wear on my heart threaten to overtake me at times. I watched something tonight about children and what their Father represented to them. Some said pride, confidence, anger, pain, love, and nothing but emptiness because he was gone. This struck a nerve with me. A jangling nerve trigger that was hanging in the balance. And my bluer than blue eyes welled up with tears while I struggled to gain my composure. My children will never know of my pain, they will never experience that uncertainty or need to doubt their existence. They will know only love, guidance, respect, and firmness when discipline is needed. They will know only of my joy and gratitude when they blessed me with their arrival. They will know that they are and will always be, the key to my heart. ❤️