Dream of Sanctuary

LETTERS

Written by: Lily Dauphinee

Some ghosts haunt us, some serve as constant reminders of what we could have done or been. Some take their time before they find solace elsewhere. Some drag us down for the rest of our eternities. Mine lives with me, making my greatest accomplishment the only thing I’ve truly done wrong. When called to strength, I prevailed, yet made the lives of others increasingly worse.

When I could’ve shared the burden of my past with those I loved, I decided instead, to shed the sins of my father for a better life of my own. I’d be leaving behind my own blood, the only person I ever truly loved and wanted to protect with my life, my sister.

It’s funny how three words, spoken a dozen times in my head had no effect until I said them aloud in a moment of weakness. The phrase “he touched me” left my lips and turned the life I knew on its head. Then my mother locked the doors and shut the blinds, all because of three little words. Yet previously, the words “stop” and “no” served no effect other than to encourage misbehavior.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sucuri-text-1.png

My mother held me all night as she cried into my hair, and I cried into hers. She cried for not being able to protect her children from her ex-husband’s temper and heavy hand; I cried for leaving my blood, not being able to protect my only sister like I had done for years before. I knew then what I had done could never be changed, I knew then that I’d never let anyone hurt me again if not for me but for my sister. I had failed her and left her in his grasp for no reason other than my own weakness.

That night I dreamt of my sister…

While we shared a father, her skin in contrast to mine was dark, though even in the shadows, I could tell she was crying. Her tears ran silently down her cheek, not letting as much as a whimper escape her lips, for we had been trained not to show weakness. We were told weak women were undesirable in the eyes of man, and man should be the only thing we seek. I wiped her tears and soothed her with impromptu stories of fancy all through the night.

In the world of our room, we weren’t victims of child abuse…

rape, or the injustices that came with being women in a household dominated by a man. The covers provided us sanctuary guarded only by our imaginations. Beneath these yellow-stained sheets, we were spending our Sunday’s playing in a swimming pool, suckling on strawberry popsicles, and drinking homemade lemonade out of mason jars. Here the worst pain in life would be the sunburns on our backs, reminding us of a day well spent. I knew in this environment I could truly do anything, be anything. Too soon, however, the daydream would end. Too soon, a knock on the door would come. Too soon, we’d be ripped from the sheets that kept our utopian fantasy safe. Eventually, as all things do, the dream we could never reach came crashing upon on us, as the winds knocked down the door and swept up the tented sheets.

He’d separate me from my sister…

As we drifted apart, my sister let out a single sob, not of sadness or even of fear, but one of longing, longing for the sanctuary she knew she could never have. The sanctuary I would achieve just three months after that day. For I was grounded in my mom, tethered to the possibility of achievement; of the love and respect that comes with freedom, while her life remained in the air, never to know what could’ve been. She remained in the eye of the storm while I sought refuge elsewhere.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Curadebt-text-logo.png

I haven’t dreamt about her since…

and let myself accept the fact that I left that small, trembling girl in the hands of the devil. Though I never saw him touch her I wouldn’t let him, she was mine to protect, and that had been my purpose, to put myself in harm’s way so she could be strong and…

grow. Yet with those three little words that she’d never even heard, her life had drastically changed forever. She would lose a protector, and I would become bereaved of my purpose.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ZoneAlarm-text-1-1024x143.png

Now I live my days trying for the best. I do all that I can and make the most of this life I would give back in a second just to wipe away that one last tear. I will forever be grateful for the existence I’ve carved out for myself, and do my best to succeed in spite of my father and all of his wrongdoings. I triumph for my sister, and look forward to the day when I can hug her once again. But for now, I continue on the path I’m on and vow to make not only my family proud but myself proud. I believe in that, my dream of sanctuary can transform into a reality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s