this is a little something i started a few years ago. it’s in need of some serious editing, but i thought i would share the intro with you all. Enjoy!
Mary sat there, not knowing what to do, absorbing the shock of the news.
“Miss, I’m terribly sorry for your loss. But we did all that we could.”
The doctor stood and looked down at Mary. She looked so fragile sitting there in the waiting room all alone. Her long brown hair hung down over her pale face. Her large brown eyes looked dull and empty. She wore an oversized Michigan Wolverines sweatshirt that no doubt belonged to her so recently deceased father. It was easy to see that she was very skinny, probably even slightly malnourished. She was a tall girl for her age, standing at 5’8” but weighing in at probably no more than 120 pounds. She had always wanted to be a runner but knew that she couldn’t since the jerseys would expose her bruises and rail thin body.
“Would you like to see him one last time, miss?”
Mary looked up at the doctor, her eyes brimming with tears, and nodded. Dr. Frank Aasgard took her to Room 214 in Hillsbrand Community Hospital in Pennsylvania where Alvin Hearn lay motionless, attached to a respirator that was no longer breathing and a heart monitor that was no longer monitoring his heart. He finally looked peaceful though, not angry like he usually did. Mary took three steps into the room and stopped. The door closed behind her and she was alone with her father. Fear began to creep into her body even though she knew he was dead. She held her breath and took another step closer. Seeing that he didn’t move, she slowly let it out. She checked to make sure he wasn’t breathing and took another small step closer to the bed. She then looked at his hand and saw that it wasn’t clenched into the fist she knew so well, but sat there, relaxed and unmoving. She was three steps away from him. Her heart was pounding and her hands were sweaty. She tried to swallow but her mouth was too dry. She shook out her hands and took another step closer. He lay there, motionless. Mary still half expected him to get up. She took the final two steps, holding her breath and flinching at nothing. She stood over her father and looked at him, not knowing who he was. The Alvin she had come to know was angry and violent, loud and brash. This Alvin looked peaceful and he was quiet.
“Papa?” Mary whispered, barely audible over her pounding heart, and braced herself for a backhand that she was pretty sure was coming. Nothing happened.
She reached out and touched his face, shocked at the coolness. On good days, she would sit with him and they would watch TV until she went to bed. His face was always cool. Almost too cool, but Mary didn’t mind. She liked it that way.
After her father died, she moved in with her Aunt Aida. Aida was a grouchy old woman who never had kids of her own because she didn’t want any. She didn’t want Mary, either, but Aida was the only relative Mary had left in the area, and so at 16, she moved 2 hours away to Franklin. Aida was a large woman of 6 foot 1. She was overweight from being married to Vernon, a black salesman in the south. They lived next door to Vernon’s family and she learned to eat well. Vernon had died 6 years earlier and afterwards, Aida moved back to Pennsylvania seeing no reason to stay down south. Aida was violent like Alvin, but Mary was so used to the abuse that she lived just how she did with her father. She stayed in her room most of the time and when Aida went out, Mary cleaned the house and did anything that needed to be done. As soon as she heard the unmistakable sound of Aida’s car coming down the street, Mary finished whatever immediate task she was on and went back into her room to wait for Aida’s call.
“Getcho’ lazy self down here and help an old woman, child! Ain’t you good for anything? Why I always gotta be calling for you? Ain’t you learned yet what needs to be done in this house. I ain’tcho’ mama or yo’ daddy and don’tcha ever forget that!”
It went on like that every day.
Mary had every sign of an abused child, but teachers didn’t do anything about it. They acted as though nothing was wrong. At her new school, she walked with her head down and flinched if anyone raised a hand. Some days, she was so sore, she could hardly sit. No one asked, and she didn’t say anything. In a class of 395 students, the smallest of the three grades in the high school, no one took notice of a quiet girl, slowly losing her will to live.