“Mommy! You’re back!” I yelled as I ran into her arms and squeezed her tightly. She had only been gone for two days but for a seven year old it felt like ages. An eternity without hugs, laughs, jokes, or trying to figure out which language she was speaking in.
“Damme beso.” she said, leaning down and kissing my forehead.
“Gimme a kiss in Spanish!” I screeched with excitement while returning her kisses.
“Come on Fatz, keep me company while I make breakfast. Do you want pancakes?”
“Yes! And bacon!”
I sat down at the table as she gathered ingredients and cooking utensils from around the kitchen. I watched her intensely as if she would disappear any moment and for the first time that morning really noticed her face. Her smooth sand colored skin was shattered with pink and red scratches all over it. It was as if she had mistakenly lain down onto a pillow full of sharpened glass.
“Why are you staring at me?” she asked. “Is it my face? It’s not as bad as it looks.”
“Does it hurt?”
“No Fatz, it doesn’t hurt. Not anymore.”
“My heart hurts whenever this happens“
“Don’t worry I’m not going back to him anymore.”
“I don’t believe you. You said that last time” I whispered as tears began to roll down my cheeks.
And she did go back. She went back to him for years. More scratches, more cuts, more bruises, and more heartaches.
“I just don’t get why you’re still with him. What happens if you can’t put yourself back together again? What happens to me and Lenny when he finally breaks you?” I questioned in such a tone that let her know empty words were not going to appease me for I was no longer a seven year old whispering the inevitable under my breath.
My mother looked at me and saw the tears that once filled my eyes were now replaced with anger bitterness.
“It doesn’t matter if I go back or not but I promise you this, and that is that no one can or will ever break me. Or you unless you let them. That you can believe”
And she kept her promise and eventually she kept her sandy smooth skin. But more importantly she kept her spirit and resolved to never be broken.