You were young and unsuspecting, and eager to leave your mother’s home.
My father wrote you love poems and promised to make you queen of his castle.
He needed to replace my mother you see, and you never asked why.
You cut my hair short to match your own and we never mentioned Her.
It was convenient after all, to have your husband’s ex-wife cast aside and out of our lives.
She had left home, gone away, my father told you.
You never asked why.
Then one day she showed up, eyes full of grief. Shaking in my father’s presence, she handed me a birthday gift. I had just turned five.
Jealous and crying, you looked to my father to console you while I opened the gift.
I was scared to ask my mother to stay. Terrified to say how much I’ve missed her.
From my room at night, I heard you and my father fighting, loud and violent.
I heard his rage again and wondered; didn’t you think my mother feared him too?
But you never asked.
My sister acted out in anger and I regressed. You spanked her and changed my wet sheets each morning. You made our lunches and washed our clothing. We called you mother because that is what we were told to do.
Just like us, you fell in line. I see now that in a way, you were a victim too.
As a teenager, sickened by the lie I was made to live, I hung poetry on the wall, and searched for affection. I wondered who I was and how much longer I must hate the part of me that was Her.
In my silence, you never asked why. I understand now that you were afraid to know.
My father wrote your story, just like he wrote mine. But the truth never left me, my mother’s love, crumbling beneath the force of my father. I remember it.
I remember all that you did not want to know, all that you never asked.