the reflection


“Look at me!”

I shook my head.  Raising my face to look at his was not something I planned on doing.  Now, or ever.

“Just look at me, damn it.”

That brought a response.  Even without thinking, I lifted angry eyes to settle on his youthful expression before lowering my head back to my arms.  “Don’t talk to me in that tone.”

“Why not?”

“Because you are a child.  I am an adult.  I deserve respect for my age if nothing else.”  I laid my head back against my knees.

“Age deserves respect?”


“So you respected him because he was older?”

I couldn’t answer.  I don’t know that I ever ‘respected’ him, unless fear is part of respect.

“Not gonna answer me?”

I remained still.  A grown adult, sitting in a corner, knees to my chest, being grilled by a mere boy.  My arms were wrapped tightly around me and my head rested against my knees.  Like a frightened child.  In many ways, I felt it.  Though frightened of what?  An elementary-age boy?

“You don’t like people very much, do you, Mister?”

Another reflex look.  I don’t know how much pain I registered, but the agony reflected in his eyes was palpable.  “You don’t know me.”

“I know you.  Very well.”

“You don’t know me.”

“I know you as well as you know me.”

What?  “I don’t know you.  I’ve never seen you before.”

“You see me every time you look in the mirror.”


“Ooh.  Catchy comeback.  So very grown-up.”

“What do you want from me?”

“I want you to look at me.  To see me.  Like he never saw us.”

“Sorry, don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Lies.  I know how he abused you, you know.”

“You don’t know anything.”

“You forget I was there.  Every time.  It was us he beat.  Us he raped and humiliated.  I was there until that last time.  When I died.”

This time when I raised my eyes I took a good look at the five year-old standing in front of me.  Sneakers, jeans, and a white button-down shirt.  Blond hair and the softest, kindest, gentlest eyes.  Eyes far too young to hold the pain rooted so deeply in his.  “You … died?”

“The day you gave up.  The day you decided what he did was right.  The day you stopped fighting and accepted the lies.”

I laid my head back down.  “I repeat – what do you want from me?”



“You want to be whole.”


“I heard your heart.  You want to be whole.”

“What if I do?”

“You have to accept me.  You have to take me just like I am.”

When I looked again I shuddered in disbelief.  Bruised and battered, torn clothing, cuts and scrapes.  Tears streaming down his face.  I buried my face in my arms.  I couldn’t – wouldn’t go there.  Instead I just remained silent.

He sighed as if the weight of the world was on him.  “I’m not going to keep trying.”

“What’s that mean?”

“I’ll be around – but you’ll have to come get me.”

“It’s too much.”

I heard a soft whimper, then the slight sound of his shuffling feet as he walked up to me.  I shivered at the cool touch of his tiny hand against my cheek.

“It’s ok, Marc.  I forgive you.”

When I looked again, he was gone.  And now the tears won’t stop.


18 thoughts on “the reflection

  1. This is a process I have yet to go through. I am still in the “If only I had (fill in the blank). This doesn’t help much in the healing process. I know that, I’ve been to enough therapy sessions in my life (still go to them), but I still can’t look past those dark nights, when I could hear those quiet footsteps approaching my room…. I tried to pretend I was asleep but that didn’t work very often. But I am now in my mid-50’s, and I want to be whole, but I am afraid…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Acceptance is so difficult but its a step that cannot be ignored. One has to find a way through it. I love this post, found yours from Danny’s. Well written. Hang in there. Hugs.


  3. Wow, so very well written, brought tears to my eyes. How do you get past the anger? Once I’d reached this place of acceptance (of sorts), the anger took over, and will not go away easily. Writing and music help, but barely, and the outrage at such abuse doesn’t stay buried for long. What do you do with it? I’ve made it a point to become a teacher to be able to educate, care for, and act as a protector of sorts for children, but I’m still angry. Does it ever go away? People say to practice forgiveness, but I refuse to forgive someone of something so heinously committed. Is it wrong? I talk to my daughter about trust and respect, and hope she grows strong, and that something like this never shows its ugly face to her in life. But I’m still angry. Are you angry? How do you get past it?


    • Writing and music help. Anger comes and goes. I’ve learned to accept the anger, and the fact I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. That was a major start. I think I’m more in the grief stage now. It is not wrong to be angry or to refuse the forgiveness. Forgiveness is for yourself yes, but you have to be ready for it.
      Something that has helped is the writing and sharing with others that have been through other major pains. You’re on the right road, Ryn – just trust your instincts and keep walking forward 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your words, and yes, sometimes sharing the experience helps, other times it doesn’t. I don’t think I’ve allowed myself the grieving; it shows up sometimes, but it’s the anger that I’m dealing with. I do realize my right to be angry, but where do we draw the line? When anger turns to complete mistrust and bitterness? I’m trying to decode these emotions, but ultimately am grateful to be on the path that I’m on now. Thank you again for your words of inspiration, I’m glad to have found your blog here. 🙂



        • “Where do we draw the line?” I think I’ve drawn, erased, and redrawn that line a few times now… For me the driver was loneliness.


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