bearing the burden of a secret storm

She cracks open the door ever so slowly, carefully, because she doesn’t know where her mother will be. Her face takes on a stoic quality. With a brush of her hand she wipes away the rain mixed tears and smooths her hair. The plain blue backpack gets hung on the back of her door and workbooks go on her desk.

The house is silent. No television, that’s in her mother’s room: forbidden territory. No radio or music, it hurts momma’s head. No talking because little girls are to be seen and not heard. They’re not even to be seen as momma says so often.

Opening up her first grade workbook she looks around her room: egg shell white walls. She’s decided that if she stands tight up against the way she looks like a crack in her beige dress. ’It’s fitting.’ Another sigh. Her room is too plain for a six-year-old. There’s a bed with plain quilted bed spread, a faux-wooden desk and a cactus on the windowsill. It looks more like a room for an adult than a little girl.

She hears the key in the lock and gulps. ’Momma’s home.’

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