What You See

by Catherine Aitken

"That’s it!" you bellowed at me with a puffy red face while sweat was pouring from your hairline in the Texas heat, "I am calling child welfare and sending you away forever, I cannot stand you anymore!" I remember the heat of your breath and the spittle that flew from your mouth to hit me as you screamed not two inches from my face and I began understand that it did not matter what my perceived sin was, because anything was an excuse for you to take out your rage, disappointment and anger of your own life, upon me, your own personal mental punching bag. You held the phone, that phone, on the wall in the kitchen with the lime green counter tops and linoleum floors, your tool to eviscerate me from not only you but my family, my home, my life. As I heard you talk, negotiating to give me away, I grabbed for the phone, struggling against you with all I had in me and I was balling at the same time begging and pleading that I would be good from now on, gasping for breath between the oceans of snot and tears running down my nine year old face. After you hung up the phone you helped me pack a bag, determining what I could and could not take with me, telling me there was no room for my bear to go with me and then you told me to wait on the front step for strangers who would come and take me away, but they never came. Finally, you told me to come inside and made mention of how sad and pathetic I was because "strangers do not even want you..."


Catherine Aitken, pictured above, uses writing as a tool to learn about herself, people, and the world around her.