A Letter from my Childhood Room

You were ten when we first met.

You were fighting with your sister for me

I was the bigger room

It was always about bigger things – better things

Younger ones are like that among your kind

You were no different

 

But my four walls were never enough

At ten years nothing is enough

It was the first home you owned – all four of you

“You can scribble in these walls”, your father said

Admit it though

You were still scared of sleeping alone in your bed

 

I was there

When you father told your mother, she was a terrible cook

You wondered why you loved everything she made

But You kept quiet

He was more important to please

So you became his perfect little girl

 

I saw him, so did you

But you let your silence win

Each time he raised his hand

Your father was always right, right?

Your sister had made a mistake in math

She “deserved” the punishment

 

I was there

When you were angry coz your sister wouldn’t come out and play

She is being a snob, you told yourself, why else?

I knew why

Back then you didn’t know the meaning of rape, neither did she

Little girls aren’t supposed to

 

I saw you learning every prayer your father taught

You were perfect in your efforts of winning him

I was there

When he decided to leave the house for 3 years

He left to buy you a better life

I saw you miss him everyday

 

I saw her –

Your mother fighting your teenage self in vain

Your sister becoming the man of the house

She bravely chased the rats away

She was always your knight

Her armor would never grow a chink

 

I saw your mother confide

She wrote in her diary

“Am I a bad mother?”

At the age of 11, you had made her wonder

Were your lies her fault?

You may’ve been a child but you weren’t easy

 

You invented stories by the day

Yet you were scared they’d come alive at night

I saw you read your sister’s suicide letter

She had torn it up and thrown it away

You walked outside her closed room that night aching to hear her breathe

You heard her move about and then you went to sleep

 

At 14, you’d wake up in darkness every night

You’d see a shadow on your doorway

You were not really scared of a nightmare

You were just curious as to why you cherished them some nights

The shadow wouldn’t say anything

It just stood there – a silhouette of a woman

 

You left me when you turned 17

By now even the house wasn’t enough

You were angry at everything

Angry at your mother for her silence

Angry at yourself for yours

Angry at your sister for not being angry enough

 

I lost you for a while

You slept without dreams and nightmares for 10 years

You grew up

You brought up your heart

You trained it to forget the fights, the beatings, the masochism of it all

You grew out of the anger

 

You stashed your pain away in boxes

You only shed tears for your friends

Your own sorrows didn’t deserve them

Your sister was still your knight inside your temple for Athena

She’d passed on her armor to you

There was no room for weakness now

 

And here we are 

You are 30 years old

You peeping into me from the doorway

You fear the darkness inside

You think you see her – the ghost of a memory – that 14-year-old girl

You wish you could tell her

 

It’s not you, dear girl

It was never your fault

You see that’s why you were never scared of nightmares!

You know now

These shadows at the edge of the doors are just pictures of you years from now

Now you wonder why that silhouette stayed in the dark?

 

You didn’t know then what you’d look like now

You didn’t know then you’d forgive

That you’d promise to fight for your sister when no one fights for her

That you’d promise strength to your mother when she’s crumbling

That you’d promise forgiveness to your father when he’s lonely

Above all, you promise tears for yourself

 

I see you

You’re a woman, a little rough around the edges but mostly nice

You – you look beautiful

I see you

You were my child too, if only walls could talk

I’d say I’m proud, dear child

I’m proud!

looking back at time.jpg

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