I originally posted this in August 2006, in a WordPress account I had set up but I can't remember the password and I can't get a new one for some reason. I wrote this ages ago and have it printed somewhere with the original date I published it on the web in one of my writing groups.
The family walks together with the children running ahead in a joyful scene. A large family made up of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles. They are a close family that rally together—especially in times of need.
Today they come together to celebrate the life they have and the warm weather on this fine summer day. It’s the best time of the year to romp and run. Serenity and peace are a special place they like to visit. If you followed the river to the entrance of town next to the milepost marked zero beneath the bluff, there is a section where the river has made a beach. Dark sand covers the ground and small imporous pebbles smoothed from the river are scattered along the beach.It’s a resplendent sight to see on this hot July day. Lush verdant trees and bushes cover part of the beach with their long branches. Small ponds are scattered throughout the bushes with overgrown wild strawberry and raspberry bushes wedged between the rocks that crowd the ponds.The family disperses about the area when they arrive at their destination. The adults start to build a fire for the roasting of marshmallows and wieners next to the river.
They set out blankets for lounging on and turn on old radio to listen to. It’s a day for relaxing and fun. The children scatter into the trees to explore and get into mischief.One girl, the oldest of the girls wanders off by herself. She feels separate from her family—at ten she’s older than her brother and cousins by at least five years and she’s too young to hang out with the adults—she makes her way to her favorite spot. It’s a large rock that is smooth and sits next to one of the ponds. There is a raspberry bush within arms reach when you sit on the ground. As she walks through the trees she sees a red Cardinal, a male and smiles at seeing such a pure sight. She takes her place on the grass next to the rock, leans against the rock with her back and closes her eyes. She likes to sit here by herself.
Sometimes she’ll bring a book but today she just sits and listens to all the noise around her. She hears the river as it flows by, the sound sooths her. She listens to the squeals of the other children as they play and she listens to the radio as it plays the new song ‘Walk like an Egyptian’, it’s one of her current favorites. She longs to run and play with her family but is hesitant.She is in a dreamy state as she listens to the splashing of water and is sure her brother and cousins are being catapulted into the big bottomless pond by one of their uncles. She smiles and thinks again about joining them but would rather enjoy her secluded sanctuary.
The pond next to her is clear and clean. The pebbles on the bottom smooth like the ones on the beach. She takes her sandals off and dips her feet in the cold water. She sighs. The heat is sweltering and the coolness in the trees is a treat.Her name is Libby. She likes to sit by herself and ponder what life is. She has a subjectiveness about her that is unusual for someone her age. She likes to think, read and learn what ever she can about her latest interests.
She’s not into most things ten year olds are interested in. She likes to keep to herself and makes few friends. Though the friends she makes, she keeps. She is sweet and innocent in a way that makes one want to take her in your arms and protect her.A voice calling her name pulls her from her reverie. She looks up towards the voice and sees her mother. Her mother comes to her and sits beside her. Pulling her into a close hug, she whispers her love for her daughter. The love she feels from her mother sedates her like morphine would.
Grasping her mother’s shirt, she buries her face in her mother’s hair and hugs her back. Libby is learning to love again. Her father, the biggest parasite on the face of the earth has left behind a legacy of pain and horror. Libby got the brunt of his madness. He was a mean, abusive drunk who over the course of five years molested his daughter without anyone knowing. Since Libby was a shy and quiet girl; she felt shameful and never told a soul. She was relieved when her mother came home early from work one day and caught her husband’s deeds.
That moment had saved Libby from more years of unmitigated abuse. She is grateful to her mother, yet still feels shame at the things that were done to her. She has had a hard time opening up to her mother or anyone else. She wonders if things will ever be normal for her. She knows that all of her family knows what happened.
She knows that today is supposed to be about her and getting her mind off of everything—to show her how to live again. She is unsure if she will ever know how to live again but she does know that she will try. She is still young and there are still so many things that she wants to do. She knows that she will have to talk about it, so she can deal with her feelings and try to get passed what was done. She just needs time to do it. She knows she will do it. She smiles into her mother’s shirt. She is grateful for that moment.