• Mathura Hawley


Updated: Aug 1, 2021

I would listen to my parents talk about me as if I were someone else’s child. "

At the top of the stairway up to the second floor of my parents’ home, there was a spot near the cheap plastic collapsable sliding door, the place where I sat when I felt lost or misunderstood. I would have run to my room, angry at my father for his cold dismissal of me, or from the unusual, harsh rejection of my mother, which would send me off like a jilted lover, my bedroom door slamming just enough to make the point but not enough to incite her. Then, I would open the door, and quietly sit at the top of the stairs, trying to hear if they were talking about me. Sometimes they were still at the kitchen table I had just stormed away from, my father going on about how I was “different,” which made me feel as if he did not love or want me, or even wonder how I got that way. My mother would not say much except to compare me to my brother in a negative way, reassuring my father that his first son wasn’t “different,” although my brother didn’t have to endure some of the nightmares I had. I would have given anything to be “not different,” and have spent most of my life caught in the middle, with not enough confidence to develop my own self-esteem and too much spirit to not try. I would sit, by myself, and cry into one of the little brown hand towels with the embroidered yellow daisies that I would grab from the bathroom closet. I would listen to my parents talk about me as if I were someone else’s child. I would wait for anyone to come up the creaky stairway and turn the corner to find me. And wait. Finally my body would tire from crying, and I would go back to my room and listen to music or write in my book. Just like I did today.

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