Her father worked out of town and often. This left her mother to care for her and
her two siblings. Her father’s parents moved in with them when she was three. It
may have been to help with the children but remembering the tension in the home
she was sure that it only stressed her mother out more. For the most part though she
loved her life. When he was home, her father built a bridge from a fallen log over a
creek in their backyard. She spent hours crossing it into the woods, her younger
brother following close behind as they pretended they were children of the forest,
each day bringing a new adventure. Sibling sleepovers let the fun days continue into
the nights, she felt safe laying on the floor beside her older sister.
There was a large pond less than a mile from their home and one of her favorite
memories was her mother bringing the three of them to a clearing by the road that
rounded the pond. There, they set up a lemonade stand and spent the day with the
Summer sun on their shoulders as neighbors intermittently stopped to buy a
refreshment. As the sun set, its rays had moved to her face and the warmth made
her want to stay in that moment forever.
Days later, driving home after a lunch out with her grandfather they rounded the
same pond and she smiled. As he drove he asked her if she’d like to drive the car. She
knew he must be kidding for only grownups could drive cars so she laughed at him
and watched a butterfly pass by her window. It was so beautiful, she remembered
thinking as the orange and black wings carried it off closer to the water.
She was quickly brought back to the inside of the car when her grandfather placed
his hand on her knee and asked her again if she’d like to drive the car. This time he
told her that he needed her help because it was a lot of work to drive her around all
of the time. He motioned to her to climb onto his lap as he unclicked her seat belt.
She felt afraid and excited all at once and couldn’t wait to tell her sister and brother
that she had gotten to drive a car before them. But her grandfather quickly put that
idea out of her mind by telling her that she was not allowed to tell anyone about her
helping him drive. He told her that she was special to be able to drive at such a
young age but that if her parents found out, they would both be in trouble.
She did not understand why he would ask for her help but then not allow her to tell.
Although this confused her she was sure she didn’t want to go home and be yelled at.
So she sat upon him with her hands on the leather steering wheel that she could not
even see over. After a few moments she bored of the idea of driving and went to
crawl back to her seat. Her grandfather pulled her tightly back to his body and she
felt a bump growing beneath her. He held her there until the feeling of the bump
was gone. The old man released her young body but from that point on she always
felt she was in his grip.