“You’re gonna end up as a prostitute. Mark my words.”
She could feel every inch of her being cringe as her father’s words entered her ears. They wouldn’t register. They refused to. Maybe if they did, she would break his neck. But she didn’t feel like it. She just kept opening and closing her eyelids against the surface of her copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
Have you ever heard the sound of your lashes crashing against each word of a book? It feels hypnotic somehow. She used to spend hours doing it. But it didn’t feel the same when her eyes were wet.
She wasn’t always like this. She was a joyful little girl with dreams of touching the sky and dancing beneath the clouds. She used to think her father was the most precious person in the whole wide world. Her mother having died during her birth, she was all alone. Her dad was the only friend she had.
As she reached 6, she saw her dad take her friends from the field to his bedroom room. He wouldn’t let her in. “it’s a game” he used to say. A game she was forbidden to play. She used to sit alone in the porch as the other girls stopped talking to her.
As she turned 13, she saw a new woman come into her life. A new mother. How anyone can have a new mother was beyond her. All her friends had just one mother. She would have two? She was overwhelmed with joy.
As she turned 15, she couldn’t sleep at night because of her new mother weeping next to her bed. She tried to ask her, but she figured she couldn’t help. She stopped dreaming of the sky. Her new mother was the one who got her into reading books. She gave her all her old books and she loved them. They helped her feel something, anything.
As she turned 18, her father burned her books; all of them except one. She had hidden her favorite one beneath her dress. She watched as their old house burned to a crisp, with her new mother and her precious books inside.
As she turned 20, her father tried to take her only book away from her. Hiding it beneath her skirt didn’t help anymore. He could reach everywhere now. And she wouldn’t feel anything. She knew somehow this would happen. That she was the next. She knew, the day she stopped dreaming of the sky.
As she turned 21, she was tired. Tired of never feeling anything. Tired of never doing anything. She refused to let him touch her anymore. So he cursed her again and again. She knew he wouldn’t stop at cursing. He’d go on doing whatever he wanted. That’s just how he’s always lived.
As she finished her book, for the last time, she scribbled down something on the cover. “I love you dad, I always have. If you want me to become a whore, then that’s what I’ll do”. She gently placed it beside his bed and sneaked out. As she walked towards the road, the fire she lit had spread and she could her father scream exactly like all the times her new mother had screamed.
She kept walking and walking wondering about what could unfold of her life. What else could she do? All that was left of her story now was a blank.