Document Type

Creative Writing

Publication Date


Department 1



I could not distinguish between them except by what we did. I was ten, then eleven. I would not ride the school bus. I always slunk home saying I missed it. I made my mother come to school with me every day, and sit in the lobby so I could wave to her during recess and class changes. In the evenings my father would come home from work, hear my mother's report, and storm upstairs, his weight pounding on the hardwood steps. I would be out of breath with crying, my head in the pillow, waiting to feel what he would do. He never touched me, but several times I was unable to resume breathing, and they'd take me to the emergency room, where a doctor or nurse would look me over, measure my pulse and temperature, and send me home. At night I stole into the bathroom and with my fingernails dug as deeply into my bare arms as I could tolerate. [excerpt]