An Unfulfilled Life
The repercussions of oppression
Sixteen. Babied, the last of four.
Sired by an itinerant jack of all trades, inventor, a charmer.
Raised by a convent-trained mother with no means.
Lithe Aphrodite, sapphire eyes, auburn waves.
Naïve, a virgin, an innocent in a time devoid of social media.
He was handsome, connected. A home, a car.
“Here,” he said. Pocket change for a dress, a wedding. Bride price.
She fled around the dining table, dress torn. She slammed a door, eyes darting, freezing on the black telephone.
“Daddy,” she wailed. “I didn’t know.”
He came. She shuddered, sobbing in his arms.
Twenty-one. Married. Mother of two.
Soprano siren, trained to fly high above the Baby Grand, the children hushed.
Blooming, curvy, model’s stride.
Wanting more than an iron board.
Needing more than stay-at-home mom.
Wanting accolades, self-esteem, admiration. Saint Jude’s children called her name. Doctors smiled and thanked her.
“No,” he said, her chosen mate. No work, no concerts, no candy stripes. Homebound.
Thirty-three. Piano silent, children schooled and roaming.
She sang Ave Maria on a small-town stage, a Christmas angel.
Placed on a pedestal by a Texas horseman, attention craved.
Nurturing wildlife instead of babies, a squirrel, a fawn.
Queen to the King of jobs, the master of games. She stayed below his radar. His sights strayed.
Forty. Feet curled beneath her, smoke curling upward around her painted lips that suck the refilled glass.
Eyes hooded, words slurred, a sudden swing upends the glass, propels the lamp onto the floor.
A shattered mirror, blood dripping from shallow cut wrists.
“God damn it, woman. You’re a waste.” He looks away.
She staggers to the hall, slings the growing boy into the wall, the daughter hiding one door away, holding ears, weeping.
Door slams. The king is gone. He is not dead.
Fifty-six. Lounge chair creaks from successive pounds, butts line the dish, ice tinkling in amber glass.
Soprano fractured by the rasp, the cough.
A small boy stands behind her periphery, perplexed but not engaged. “Grandma?”
She rose to help the neighbors move and moved instead a fatal clog.