by Kam Whitaker


She laid back. Her brain began to flood with memories like a dam breaking, her whole world flowing down her cheeks. She was born into a life where she wasn’t wanted, conceived by a thought in the moment; It was like being sent into a party that you weren’t invited to, but everyone tells you to be thankful that you were even allowed to come. Her story was whispered all around her; she was a dirty secret everyone had to keep.

If she wrote about her life, allowed the story no one wanted to tell to be spoken of, what would she even write about? Would she talk about her alcoholic father and depressed mother? How her childhood was so much less than ideal? Probably not.

No, she’d write about the days her mother took her to the park, and pushed her on the swing. She’d probably write about how her mother had held her when she fell down at the park, hushing her, telling her that she’s okay. She’d probably write about the sandbox she’d walk around, balancing on the beams with her brother, and the way her father was always there giving her a penny for every time she made it over. She’d write about the happy things. 

She wouldn’t write about the smell of alcohol she smelt on her father every night, and the burn of the cigarette smoke in her young lungs. Ten was way too young to know about hot boxing. Eleven was way too young to want to try it. Twelve is way too young to be smoking at a park with people she’d barely met. She wouldn’t write about the bruises left on her arms and legs. She wouldn’t write about throwing up dinner, and not being hungry at lunch. She wouldn’t write about the burn in her throat and the ache in her stomach. She wouldn’t write about passing out in class, lacking the energy needed to stay awake. To stay alive. 

She would write about the three friends she did have in middle school. She’d write about the notebook filled with stories she’d made up in her head about her and her three friends giving her a world to escape to. She’d talk about her good grades and how the relationship she’d ended up with at eleven was amazing. She’d keep the secrets secret. The parts that hurt too much. 

She wouldn’t write about the way that her parents were always drunk. She wouldn’t write about the boys in her phone asking to see her body, complementing the curve of her waist and the size of her breasts. She wouldn’t write about how she was always searching for some form of validation. She wouldn’t write about how she got so thin or how she’d morphed her body like clay. She’d keep it a secret that she was still starving herself and how many hours she spent working out. She wouldn’t mention how she was slowly– no, quickly dying. 

She’d only remember the happy parts. The things that didn’t sting. The things that didn’t leave her trembling and screaming for someone to help her forget. She’d bask in the warmth of only recalling smiles and giggles. She’d relive those moments over and over again.