Daddy reaches across the table, through my stomach, to get a piece of pie. His hand went through my stomach and it didn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt. He hurt me.
Daddy’s eyes go wide and his worn smile melts off his face. His eyes went wide and his hand went through my stomach. It didn’t hurt. He pulls a piece of pie back through my stomach. It didn’t hurt. I can taste it. For a second — cherry, cherry was always my favorite! Daddy and I used to pick cherries and blueberries and blackberries in our garden.
I know he didn’t pick these cherries with Mommy. He hurt me.
It was a good thing that he reached through my stomach. It’s a good thing my dress can’t get dirty anymore. It’s my favorite dress! Pink silk, pink lace, pink, pink, pink! Cherry pie while wearing my favorite dress, oh times are good!
Mommy and Daddy and Uncle Chester sit at the table, the lights hanging above them. I float up, to sit on top of the light, swinging my feet. They don’t notice me. Uncle Chester isn’t really my Uncle. He is Daddy’s best friend. Mommy likes Uncle Chester a lot.
They eat cherry pie and they do not offer any to me. Next to Daddy is an empty chair, covered with stuffed animals. That used to be my chair. It is sad. It is sad that they took all my stuffed animals and re-arranged the order. Mr. Fluffles is far far away from Mrs. Fluffles. They are supposed to be together. No matter what. He hurt me.
"So how are you dealing with the grief Bill?" Uncle Chester asks. He turns to Daddy, an expecting look in his eye.
Daddy doesn’t answer. He just sighs and shakes his head.
"Marie’s been telling me how much the funeral cost. Thousands you say?" Uncle Chester frowns, then pats Mommy’s hand. I don’t know why he does that. Uncle Chester is very fond of patting people’s hands. And heads. And things.
Daddy nods, the wrinkles around his eyes deepen. “So Chester, what are you telling your own kids? I’ve been trying to avoid their questions. They call every day now, always saying ‘so when are we going to see a movie with rosemary?’ ‘where’s rosemary?’ ‘i miss rosemary, she’s never over for dinner anymore.’”
He hurt me. Uncle Chester sighs. Mommy sighs too. It is Uncle Chester who speaks: “I’ve been telling them that Rosemary’s away. I wouldn’t let them go to the funeral. Thought it’d be too traumatic for the young ‘uns.”
Mommy gets up to clean collect the dishes. Daddy gives her a kiss on the cheek when she takes his plate. Mommy looks surprised, then hurries to throw the rest of the dishes in the sink. Daddy smokes a little bit, but throws it out before he’s half way done. I miss smelling the smoke.
"I think …" Daddy gets up from the table, and Mommy and Uncle Chester look up from their conversation. "I think I need to go to sleep." He leaves the room, and I float out after him. No one notices me.
But he doesn’t go to Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom. Instead, he walks outside to the garage. He has a little cot set up on the side. I don’t want to go there. He hurt me. I don’t want to go there. He hurt me. I don’t want to go there. He hurt me. I don’t want to go there. He hurt me.
The bottom of my pink dress is ripped a bit. I promised Mommy I wouldn’t rip my dress. It’s ripped. It’s ripped. It’s ripped. I move a lot when I go to sleep. When I used to dream, I’d dream about Uncle Chester driving a car and screaming and Daddy looking sad. I don’t dream anymore.
Daddy pulls the blanket over his head and cries.
I don’t want to go in there. He hurt me. I don’t want to go in there. He hurt me. I don’t want to go in there.
Instead, I float back to the dining room. Mommy and Uncle Chester aren’t in there anymore. I float up the stairs, looking for them. In Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom there is noise. I look in. There is Mommy and there is Uncle Chester and they are screaming together but Mommy looks happy and Uncle Chester looks happy and he promised he’d STOP.
I swoop in this time, and just like that night, I try to stop. I get between them. But this time Uncle Chester cannot hold onto me, and I cannot push him. This time he cannot throw me into the garage and turn on the car and roll down the door. This time he cannot turn away and leave me and pretend not to hear me screaming and ripping my dress.
And Mommy doesn’t notice me. And Uncle Chester does not notice me. They continue on, even as I try to pull Uncle Chester’s hair.
So I take a deep breath. Float to the ceiling. And try again.
"HE HURT ME!"
Mommy stops. Uncle Chester stops. And I stop.
Daddy comes bounding up the stairs, like a lion. He kicks down the door and looks at us.
I feel freer, even when Daddy starts yelling. I feel lighter, and I float up, up, up.
The sky looks beautiful. I don’t hurt anymore.