Poison Seeds

They would tell you that some of the details are a bit fuzzy. Their journey began only a few years ago, but each one will tell you it has been one long, prickly decade since it happened. Realizations slapped faces as if they were wooden paddles of shame, deceit and euphoric epiphanies all at the same time. Each one of them had their own truths to see and each would be changed forever because of those truths. Each learned to master the most essential tool of survival – when to trust and when not to, regardless of the cost.

My name is Elizabeth Porter. Known to most as Beth, I am the eldest sister of three. Eve is the middle child and is only 4 years younger than me. Because Eve and I grew up together, we are bonded in our sisterhood in a way that few are fortunate enough to experience. When we say we’d die for each other, we mean it. Megan is the youngest by a large gap and therefore was not raised with Eve and me. She was born when I was nineteen.

The timing of Megan’s birth is an unfortunate reminder of intense pain for me. When I was eighteen I became pregnant at the same time as my mother became pregnant with Meagan. I chose to end my pregnancy and have since spent the better part of my life thinking that I was being punished for my sin. Megan was born into this world approximately three weeks before my baby would have been born. While I loved and adored Megan, the pain and anguish which encompassed me every time I held my baby sister, surely must have conveyed in some form.

The three of us had always been equally rebellious, just in very different ways. However, this journey changed each of us so profoundly, that our former selves were completely eradicated; the evolution into womanhood began. There is a very specific reason for the phrase “a woman’s intuition”. It is only because what happens is so surreal that most women have virtually no memory of it. Only remnants and snippets of odd things they suppose they dreamed, yet send chills down their spines and cause goose bumps on their arms. The path into womanhood is a glorious one even as painful as that might be.

I caught my first flight out of Bozeman, Montana at six fifteen a.m. It was May and in Montana that meant there was still snow on the ground. The temperature was somewhere in the neighborhood of ten degrees farenheit. Montana’s nine month long winters creep spring in through the back door sometime in early June. Spring lasts 20 seconds and then its ninety-eight degrees, dry as a bone and summer’s lightening storms spark fires which begin burning millions of acres every year. I suspect very few Montanans own an air conditioner, either. Why bother? Winter comes back with a vengeance in 3 months.

So I boarded my flight dressed in layers that could be peeled off one at a time until I reached my final destination where the temperature was in the 80’s. I left my God-like husband and four beautiful children at home, anchored firmly in their dreams. I was leaving them to fly across the country to North Carolina on an early morning flight, and had said my goodbyes the previous evening.

Caroline is my mother. Her physical body still resided in North Carolina. I wasn’t flying there to attend her funeral, although according to Caroline, had she stayed there much longer she would not have survived. She would have died of a broken spirit and her heart would be shattered so completely it would be rendered void of even one beat.

So Caroline was moving to Montana. This is why I tell you that she had once lived in North Carolina. She claimed her spirit left there a long time ago. It was time to make a fresh start and she would do just that while living under my roof. This is the same roof that housed my husband Damon, our four children and myself in a 3 bedroom split-level with a door-less family room converted into a 4th bedroom for the boys.

Despite this, we moved one of our daughters into her sister’s room, which was barely larger than the laundry room. This was done so Caroline could have her own bedroom, her own privacy and a few creature comforts. In order to prepare for the furniture that would accompany Caroline’s arrival, I had already secured and paid for two months rent for a storage bin to house her life’s accumulation.

As far as I was concerned, I had worked tirelessly to prepare for her arrival. This was my attempt to take care of my mother in the best and only way I knew how. I actually felt proud of myself and my husband for providing rather well for my mother. Finally, I felt as though I had a means to thank her for the many years of thankless parenting she had bestowed so graciously upon me. So excited was I that my mother was coming to live with us, despite the cramped quarters, I carried upon my face a perm-a-grin as I boarded my plane.

That is precisely why I was so perplexed about the knots that had formed in my gut and seemed to be growing rapidly. It was ironic that I chose to ignore these knots of warning, since it was my very own mother who had always taught me never to ignore my gut instincts.

Caroline was the product of a father who was a self-proclaimed “Disciple of God”, passionately spouting passages from the bible at every turn. He did this, in order to justify anything and everything twisted and wrong in his life.

Welcome to the Southern Bible Belt.

Perfidiously, he never quite embraced his real-life character as an All-Consuming-Abusive-Alcoholic. He simply replaced his alcoholism with religion when I was four years old. It is quite unfortunate that he did not do this when Caroline was four years old, instead. He pursued his religion in the Pentecostal Holiness Church with as much fervor and obsession as he had previously done so with his liquor bottles. Because nothing had really changed on the inside, Caroline’s father, James, continued to emotionally abuse her in an attempt to destroy her self esteem. She was, after all, just a woman. At fifty nine years old, Caroline was still being crushed under his foot like a dying baby bird.

Caroline wanted to move to Montana to start fresh, be near her grandchildren, and to be surrounded by love, tenderness and white light. I could never have imagined at the time, how very untrue and impossible this would be. I never saw the blackness coming.

Caroline’s western adventure had been in the planning for a year before the actual journey took place. The beginning stages of the plan were to move back into her father’s house in order to save the money it would take to move herself and all of her possessions out west. It was such an oxymoron. She desperately wanted to spread her soul wings and fly. Not literally, but out of herself, so to speak. Desperate is the key word here. She wanted to fly away from her father and the ties that always seem to bind us to those who shape our childhood, whether good or bad.

Much too late, my mother’s decision would strike me as strangely self-destructive. I still do not understand why it took me so long so see it. Because I had endured an abusive marriage many years before, I understood the rationale, even when those who have never experienced domestic violence claim there is no rationale. Having said this though, I also understood how very dangerous and debilitating it could be. It would be many years before I would clearly see how these things tend to trickle down; how much they dwell in death and all things shaped in anguish. The sins of the father.

Caroline felt that she was on the verge of an evolution. She was convinced beyond reason she would become almost angelic in her power. She would tell us that she simply knew that she would finally be in her own power and not her father’s. She knew this in her core despite, or maybe because of, the oppression she had spent her entire childhood living under.

There was something about Caroline’s line of thinking that made me nervous, but because I could not come up with a tangible reason for this, I simply chose to ignore it. Unfortunately, I had no idea just how much this ignorance would cost me in the end. I had always taken pride in my ability to see things for what they really are even when others could not. Because of this, I was shocked to learn how deeply the waters in families run; so deeply that they do trickle down, temporarily blinding us all.

Shed the Tears and the Trash

When James Guthrie was ten years old his mother died. On the eve of her death she came to him and told him that she was going to die that night.

As a child I was told various vague stories about the nature of her death. As an adult, and with very direct and firm questioning, I was finally told that no one really knew for sure what happened. What we do know is that my grandfather was woken in the middle of the night and told that his mother was dead and he was brought downstairs to see his mother on the floor in a pool of blood…at ten years old. We also know that his father was having an affair with his mother’s sister. Maybe she committed suicide.
Maybe she was murdered.

No one ever really wanted to talk about it. As children, the whole matter of our great-grandmother’s death seemed terrifyingly shrouded in secrecy and mystery to the three of us, as well as our cousins. As adults we just seemed to know that the subject was off limits. However, having the incurable curiosity of a cat, I had to know. So one day I asked my grandmother point-blank. And there my friend, you have it.

After his mother’s death, James’ father became an alcoholic and ceased to be a father. James simply ceased to develop emotionally. To this day, at 87 years old, he still has the emotional capacity of a wounded ten year old boy. He is just as frightened, abandoned, angry and sodden with guilt as the day his mother died. In his heart, he had been abandoned by his mother in her death and then by his father, whose unwillingness to accept his role in her death led to his disease.

He eventually remarried and the woman he married was physically abusive of James, his brother and three sisters.

In order to afford his alcohol habit, but not to afford shoes for James or his siblings, James’ father began bootlegging. This brought some very unsavory characters into James’ realm of reality and ultimately became the setting stage for the remainder of his life.

When James married my grandmother Claire, she became his “mother” and treated him accordingly. For James, his reality was that this was the only way for him to survive. Claire, lacking any true character of her own within the marriage, absolutely knew that she belonged to him. Understand that when I say “belonged”, I am not referring to matters of the heart. I am referring to a matter of possession, almost as if she were an object that he owned and could bend to his will whenever the mood struck him. Claire fully believed this, and still does to this day. Sixty-five years they have been married. I would be tempted to say that if two people have been married for sixty-five years, then whatever their marriage is…works. I would almost buy into this theory, were it not for the fact that Claire is now legally blind.

I have always believed that whatever ailment or disease a person develops is directly related to how they have lived their lives. Claire walked through life with blinders on—just ask Caroline and her brother, Michael. Now Claire is blind.

At this point, James no longer seemed to have much use for her, except in the sense that wherever he was, her mere presence is required at all times. He just doesn’t necessarily want her in the same room with him. Claire now has a separate bedroom. Beth is never quite sure if Claire is secretly relieved by this twist of fate, or saddened by it. When they have dinner “together”, James inhales his food without so much as a word to Claire, who cooks all his meals blind, and then leaves her at the table to finish her meal alone. She spends most of her time alone and this makes both my mother and me very sad. Even Claire’s smiles are saturated in her sadness. James has completely isolated her not only from himself, but from anyone else that tries to be close to her. She is his possession and the church confirms this bullshit. Claire is not allowed to wear pants or makeup and she is not allowed to cut her hair. A woman is always subservient to her husband. More church rules. James is still ten years old and she can never leave him, no matter how tortured she is, because to leave him would kill him. The little boy can not ever be abandoned again, and he has spent the last 65 years making this her reality, too. She doesn’t get that she has a choice.

This complex and dysfunctional love, I will never understand. It was his mourning over the loss of his own mother that set his fate in motion. Why then, are women not revered by him? Instead, he places them lowly–mentally and emotionally forcing them to remain there.

He does not, however, treat his son Michael that way. Caroline struggled desperately during that last year that she lived under his roof, to remain in her own power. The weight of his emotional abuse was heavy, but she felt that she managed to find peace and solace within herself many times. Then again, there were also those times that she had no choice but to escape–fleeing in the middle of the night. She would patter quietly as a mouse, nearly running out of his house, sobbing, racked with pain and scars so deep and so old her bones nearly shattered under the weight of it. She would drive the 45 minutes into town, hysterically dialing phone numbers seeking refuge for the night, and a lifeline. This would go on for days, sometimes even weeks at a time. His oppression was the prison that housed her wings, just as well as it was the prison that housed his own soul.

My prayer for him would be that his soul could shed those acidic tears of his childhood loss, so that he may be free to love unconditionally, and to be loved unconditionally.

It was unfortunate however, that I no longer carried much faith in prayers.

The Belief

So now the time had finally come for Caroline to spread her magnificent wings and free herself from his prison.  It wasn’t until much later that I would realize just whose prison Caroline was in.

I was flying across the country to North Carolina, so that I could drive back across the country to Montana with my mother and both of my sisters.  I wanted to support Caroline in her chrysalis–be joyful and celebratory.

On my first stop in Salt Lake I shed one layer of clothes and then I promptly boarded my next flight to Denver, where I shed yet another layer of clothes.  It was in Denver that I met up with my youngest sibling, Megan.  She lives in San Francisco but we had coordinated our flights so that we would be together for the remainder of the flight from Denver to New Bern, North Carolina.

When Megan first moved to San Francisco she had moved in with Eve and Michelle, Eve’s partner of 10 years at the time.  Megan has since moved out of Eve and Michelle’s “House of Chaos”, where she resided with ten dogs, three cats, two birds and Eve and Michelle’s constant feuding and drama over Michelle’s control issues and Eve’s alcoholism.  As I said, things do trickle down.  Megan needed a place to be Megan, to call her own, uninterrupted and free of anyone else’s energy.  Megan was at a place in her life where she was just learning to really take care of Megan.  She was just learning to look inside herself for her answers, and not to her external world.  She was glorious in her transformation, and terrifying at the same time.  It’s hard sometimes, to let go of someone you love, in order that they may grow.  But Megan is strong and demanding of her space.  I used to feel that she was incredibly evolved for her age.  She does have a knowing or understanding of certain things in life that most people are clueless about.  She is also completely aware of how strange and odd our family is–how far from normal…yet she has sense of humor about it.  I am certain that Megan is one of the oldest souls I have encountered on this life’s journey.  Sometimes when Megan speaks, I am in awe of the meaning of the words that roll off her tongue like liquid gold with moments of silver streams.  She gets the insanity, but doesn’t buy into it.  How many twenty-somethings can you say that about?

I had a knowing also–a knowing that there is something very large about my youngest sister, maybe even large enough to change the world.  Maybe even large enough to destroy it.  Much later I would come to realize that my knowing was dead on, but it was about the wrong sister.

Megan and I met in the airport in Denver with bear hugs and tears and yes, a little bit of that same old reservation that always came with Megan.  From there we flew to Charlotte, North Carolina, and spent that time just generally catching up with one another.  It was a fairly lengthy flight and we ended up spending most of it just laughing.  We laughed at everything including our own wildly dysfunctional family.  We discussed our significant others and the fact that they are so much alike. Mike and Damon are two peas in a pod in some regards, and they had never even met one another.  They are both perpetual comedians, mischievous as hell and both intellectual and common sense geniuses.  All attempts to scare either man, play a trick on them or in any way surprise them, were thwarted before—Stage One—could even get past the first line or two.  We laughed to the point of tears about everything from the ever frustrating uncanny ability the men had, to reminiscing about embarrassing childhood moments.

It wasn’t long before people on the flight began to listen to our stories as they unfolded.  We were making fun of some of the passengers on the flight, discreetly so, as well as ourselves, the latter being funnier to us simply because it was personal.  We were giddy–so tired that we had somehow passed through that warped door to that place where everything is funny to no one but us.  We giggled at things we were pretty sure no one else could even see.  At some point, our giggles became uproarious laughter and began attracting the attention of our in-flight stewardesses and even more of the passengers.  Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we were both so far gone overboard in our secret and elusive comedy that the attention of the other passengers only made us laugh harder.  I had never felt that close to being sixteen since…well, I was sixteen.

I was consumed with excitement about everything that was about to happen; the whole purpose of this journey and the fact that all four of us were going to be together for the first time in many years.  In fact, I was pretty sure that the four of us had never taken a road trip all together.  I also was very excited about my mother coming to Montana to live, or at least I thought I was.

The closer I got to New Bern, the more the excitement took me over.  The louder the excitement became inside my head, the less I could hear the wings of warning fluttering.

Megan and I were feeling the excitement building even more when we boarded the little red prop plane in Charlotte that  would hopefully get us to the New Bern airport in one piece.  I was certain the little red plane was at least old enough to have seen things I have only read about in my history books.  Megan tentatively began her ascent up the stairs to board the plane and turned to me whispering quietly, “Oh my God, I didn’t even know planes like this were still in the air”.

“It’s not in the air, yet!” I quipped.  We both giggled nervously, but boarded that little red plane anyway.

If we made it in one piece, this touch down would be our last.  Eve, who had flown out a few days before to help Caroline pack up some things, and our mother ,would be waiting for us when we arrived and we couldn’t wait to see them.

When we arrived at the airport and deplaned, we did not immediately see anyone.  A few minutes later however we spotted Tom; Caroline’s on-again, off-again boyfriend of eight years and I was convinced that Tom was part of Caroline’s pain and part of the reason for her escape plan.  He was smiling, as he almost always is; like a snake in the grass.  I thought to myself that I had never known anyone that could smile that much.  Farther down the road on this dark journey, I would come to realize that his smile was actually a mask and was slyly hiding a pair of vicious fangs.

His perpetual smile would explain why what happened next caught us so off guard.

Walking just a step or so behind Tom was Caroline.  Several steps behind her was Eve.  Both Caroline and Eve were wearing scowls, as if they were trained pitt bulls ready to tear each others throats out, but were being restrained by their inbred perceptions of societal morals and regulations.  As if it is unacceptable to yell and scream at each other in a public place… but it was somehow ok to convey your hostile feelings in every crack and orifice of your being by way of physical demeanor.  Like how they glared at one another, walking stiff with arms folded across the chest…and absolutely refusing to even look at one another.  But they each held their dignity.

Southern women truer than blue.

We kept smiling and waving at them all as we walked toward them, but were having a conversation under our breaths, which rendered us instant nominees for Ventriloquists of the Year.   That conversation went something like “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” and  “oh fuck, not again….not now”.  I felt like a cavewoman with a limited vocabulary, but the truth was that I knew in a fraction of a second that Eve and Caroline had cat-scratched out some kind of “disagreement”, that raked mercilessly at the core of all their pain and the rest of the trip was going to hell in a handbasket.  Suddenly, my knots in my gut came back with a vengeance.

What no one knew, or could have even imagined, was that this journey was going to be even worse than hell.

We suddenly felt as if we had been flown straight into the twilight zone…and there was no turning back.

Megan will tell you now that had she had she foresight of things to come, she would have turned around and literally ran back to the little red plane and re-boarded without any regard to its destination whatsoever.  I agree.


Eve and Caroline walked slowly toward us and the closer they got, the more my stomach soured.  Being raised by Caroline and being a part of the family she belonged to, I had grown to detest drama.  This scene in the airport reeked of it.

Well, it wasn’t the reception I had hoped for, so began my epiphany.  I wondered when I was ever going to learn not to have expectations.  But I didn’t realize how fully this revelation would encompass me on this journey.

Over the next twenty minutes or so, Eve updated me on the latest disagreement she and Caroline had.  The two of them have been doing this for years.  When they bicker, not only does the whole world know about it, but the whole world gets sucked into it, also.  While Eve gave Beth a play-by-play on this most recent incident, she was in tears.  They were not angry tears but rather tears of raw pain.  This broke my heart; shattered it into a million pieces.  I simply could not understand why Caroline continually rejected her middle child, and dismissed her and tried with might to break her.  Much later down the literal road, the answer to this perplexity would be revealed and it would utterly rock my universe.  It would change our relationships with each other for all eternity and alter our individual paths forever.


Eve was also a wounded child. Silken blonde hair that appeared to be woven from something otherworldly.  Her eyes were so intensely blue, as the depths of the oceans and yet, sometimes she would turn to you in the sunlight and they would be brilliant shining jewels, accompanied by her trademark tilt of the head when she suddenly seems so…innocent.  She was always our father’s favorite.  A tidbit I had learned while listening to loose lips, just days before our journey began.  While some, including me, would be envious of this favoritism, it would actually prove to be a catalyst, of sorts, to our demise.


Our parents divorced when I was eleven years old.  Eve was only eight.  Eve and I lived with Caroline for a short time.  One night I had a horrible dream that my mother was in a car accident and she died.  I tried to beg her not to go anywhere, because I was so afraid of losing her.  What if my dream came true?  What would happen to Eve and me?  We’d have to go live with our father and for reasons I didn’t understand at the time, this made me feel uncomfortable. Caroline easily dismissed my dream with  wave of her hand and and mumbled something under her breath that I couldn’t make out.  She kept telling me it was just a silly little dream.

Three days after my dream, Caroline was on her way to work and the roads were icy.  She never saw the black ice on the road until it was too late and she was spinning out of control.  Her car severed an electrical pole and left her semi-conscious with live power lines lying on top of her car.  That accident was the beginning of a horrifying time in our lives that would teach us not to ever trust again.  It stripped us of any innocence we had left.   So began my grieving process for the loss of things I couldn’t even comprehend.

After Caroline’s accident, she was bedridden.  It was then that I was thrown violently  into a world void of safety and filled with fear, and sadness.  But the real damage was that I had formed a less than high opinion of myself that would determine the path of my life and all of the hardships along the way.  I was only 11 years old. Just a child.

Caroline was pretty heavily sedated after the accident and had a very hard time getting back on her feet.  I distinctly remember trying to take care of Eve as well as myself.  There were many times that I felt afraid and alone, but didn’t think I had anyone to turn to.  My father would come pick us up to visit with him from time to time but he did not seem concerned about his girls in Caroline’s care.   It was not because he didn’t care, but rather because he didn’t know.  He also was deeply rooted in his own sadness and feelings of betrayal over the divorce.  Therefore, I didn’t think that I was supposed to be worried either, but I was nonetheless.

This made me second guess myself constantly.  I wasn’t just merely frightened, like a child who thinks there is a monster under her bed.  I was paralyzed with fear.  I was only 11 years old and suddenly, my whole life was instantly saturated with grown-up burdens.  I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get my sister up and fed in time to get her out to the bus to go to school.  I also worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything in the cupboards to make for dinner, because there were severe limitations to what I knew how to cook, and I worried that my little sister would starve.  There wasn’t much in the kitchen to cook anyway.

Seeing Caroline lying in bed, so out of it, scared Eve too.  I didn’t know how to console her and I tried so hard to convince her that there was nothing to worry about, that this was “normal” and that I would take care of her.  God, I was so afraid.

At some point, Caroline finally realized that she just couldn’t take care of her girls, though she never talked to us about this.  She simply moved out of the house one day, and our father moved in.  When I realized what had happened, one would have thought I might be relieved, but that wasn’t the case at all.  See, I was twelve by the time my father moved in.  I had recently started menstruating, and developing in other ways also, both physically and mentally.  I needed my mother.  I needed her because she would understand.  She would be able to guide me and make sure that I was taken care of.  My father was so incredibly clueless regarding these matters, that I was shocked and angry at Caroline’s untimely absence.  I felt abandoned and unwanted.

Once, I needed some maxi-pads and my father was going to the grocery store.  I had already had my period for 2 days and was stuffing chafing toilet paper in my underwear, too embarrassed to ask dad for help.  I was fairly certain that my father didn’t even know that I had a period.  I was terrified to ask my father to go to the store to buy maxi-pad’s, partly because I was at a very awkward age as it was, and partly because I had never, ever discussed such private matters with my father before.  Those conversations were reserved for my mom, and I was entirely too embarrassed to start talking to him about it now.

But after two days of this misery, a miracle occurred.  Dad said he was going to the grocery store, so I decided to ask The Question.  Once this decision had been made, I got the words out of my mouth as quickly as possible, so I didn’t chicken out. “Dad, will you please buy me some maxi pads when you go to the store?”  I held my breath, my heart stopped beating and I could feel my body size diminishing….becoming smaller and smaller under my father’s perplexed gaze.  I was sure that soon I would just go *poof* and disappear altogether. How relieved I would have been.

Dad simply grumbled “okay” under his breath, and walked out the door.  I was so happy that I would finally have some maxi-pads.  As horrible and retched as that whole exchange had been, I would at last be free from the confines of toilet paper maxi-pads.  I would not, however, ever be able to ever look my father in the eye again.

An hour later, dad returned from the grocery store and began unloading the groceries.  I sat in a corner of the room, trying to become invisible, but desperately wanting to just grab the damn maxi-pad’s first.  When my father had unloaded and put away all of the groceries, I felt knots forming in my stomach.  There was a terror building there that I could not immediately explain.  My father began to walk out of the room and my trembling voice gave validation to my fear.

“Dad…..did you get my maxi-pad’s?”  It was barely even audible.  I felt the tears stinging my eyes, and spoke quickly and softly, for fear that I might completely lose it altogether.  I knew that my father had not accepted the fact that his little girl was no longer such a little girl and in order for him to continue his obstinate and selfish refusal to accept a fact that simply was, he would have to deny not only her needs, but her very existence, as well.

My father would not look me in the eye when his answer came.  He simply mumbled, “Well…I didn’t think you were serious.  You don’t really need those, do you?”

HELLO?  You either need them or you don’t!

“Yes, I do, dad” I replied in a very small voice. Maybe he won’t even be able to actually see me.  Tears began to roll.  I was mortified, humiliated.  All of the sudden, my parents not only stopped taking care of my basic needs as their child, but they had become non-existent; shadow-forms of former parents and all the guidance, unconditional love and safety they had once been to me, suddenly ceased to exist.

What he did next, and what would follow, was far worse than anything I could have imagined.  He reached into his wallet, took out a couple of bucks and threw them at me.  He still wouldn’t look at me.

“Just go up to the store and get some.” He mumbled.

I was horrified.  The “store” was a little mom and pop general store at the entrance to our neighborhood.  The “store” housed gum, candy, pop, teen magazines, pinball machines, the first Pak Man video games and every one of my friends and classmates. I was sure that I would die right there.  I couldn’t believe that my choices were to either continue wearing toilet paper until I was chafed raw OR go to the store where all my friends were, including a boy I had a silent had a crush on, and buy maxi-pads right in front of them.  What horrible choices!  I didn’t feel I was allowed the freedom to go outside and play (which I was longing to do), because the toilet paper would not hold her for more than 20 minutes at a time, and surely would not stay in place anyway.  In the end, I decided to walk to the store, reassuring myself by trying to convince myself that maybe…..just maybe I’d get lucky, and for those 5 excruciating minutes, none of my friends would be present.  I had wadded up a huge fistful of toilet paper and had to put on a skirt, lest I look like I had taken a huge crap in my pants.

I looked to the heavens and I prayed: “Please God….please I am begging you….don’t let any of my friends be there…please God…thanks.”

They say God works in mysterious ways and that must be true, because I have no memory of what happened after that pleading prayer.

It’s as if God just said  “I can’t just send everyone home, so you go do what you have to, and I will erase your memory of it.”  And he shut off the lights.  He killed the silent screams.

None of my friends ever said a word about it.  Maybe they were there and didn’t notice…or maybe they did and just didn’t say anything.  Maybe they just didn’t think it was a big deal.  Either way it didn’t matter because I survived the maxi pad nightmare.


It was this incident with my father that changed the shape of things to come.  I decided that I would talk to Caroline the next time I saw her and explain that I needed to come live with her, because only she could understand what I needed.

The first three times I asked, Caroline said no.  She gave reasons of course, but I couldn’t comprehend them.  She kept saying she “wasn’t ready yet”, whatever that meant.  Again, I felt rejected and abandoned.  The very last time I asked my mom, I thought I had steeled myself for the rejection.  I was wrong.

We sat on the beach and I asked her once again if I could come live with her.  Caroline avoided my eyes and told me she just wasn’t ready yet.  What I was unprepared for, was my mother’s irritated tone of voice; as if I was a nuisance to her.

I cried myself to sleep that night.