Dear Aurelia

I hope everything goes well for you. I hope you find the right things to say, when you need to say them. I hope the blank piece of paper is filled with your squiggly handwriting, and that you can open your mouth when the opportunity presents itself.

I hope you can protect yourself from the demon that calls himself your husband. I hope his long legs get trapped in a machine with heavy metal spikes spinning swiftly, and he has to get an amputation.

I hope he smokes his lungs to dust and chokes on the remaining ash.

I hope his hairline recedes until he is as bald as he is disgusting. Very bald.

I hope one day you start growing properly again, and your fingernails reach their full scratching potential. I hope you always wear the right clothes and eat the right foods. I hope that your children become a source of happiness to you, and grow up to make you so proud.

I remember the first day I met you, your hair was yellow like freshly picked corn.

I remember all the compound ladies touching your golden locks, but you buried your face in your hands and cried and cried for your mother. I remember when you looked at me you were terrified, but I held you and wiped your face with my apron and told you to hush, else they would sell you.

They would never sell you, not somebody as fine as you were. Fresh faced young beauty, your dress a rag. No, they wanted to clothe you and feed you and make you a queen, a celebrated woman.

I remember when you married him, and it wasn’t for love or for money, but because your belly was swollen with his child. His demon child, I called it at the time but when you gave birth to little Teddy I couldn’t put his fat little body down, and I had never seen you smile before little Teddy came along. You were so happy you made me cry.

I remember when he slapped you so hard you flew against the wall and slipped down, unconscious, and little Teddy ran over to you screaming at his father, who wiped the smear of alcohol from his thin, revolting lips and grumbled about his cold dinner, which he ate callously while Teddy and I put you to bed.

I remember the birth of Lilly, and how she screamed and screamed and screamed for four months straight, and one day he couldn’t take it anymore and pushed her off the bed. Thankfully there was a pillow on the floor and she was safe, but that was the last straw. I took you to my little house, then, you and your poor shivering little children, and we all huddled under the sheepskin while he pounded at the door.

Soon he gave up pounding.

“They’re all yours, Peggy,” he roared through the door, “may they be the death of you!”

Teddy with his firm little face and his knitted brows. Lilly with her hair like spun gold, long and silky, just like yours. And tiny little Emily, who had never met her father, and hopefully never will. Kind, sweet Emily with her gentle voice singing you to sleep at nights when the tears flowed freely. Gentle Emily with chubby hands on your flushed cheeks, telling you she loves you.

I want to tell you that you are strong. I want you to know that you aren’t alone, and there are so many who love you. I want you to feel the love of the small family you have created, and your strength in numbers. I want you to see your Teddy protecting you, your Lilly losing her temper with the children in class telling her she was fatherless.

“I’m not fatherless. I’m motherful.”

I want you to remember that I remember everything. I will always remember. And to never  be afraid to speak.


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