Those words shot out of her mean streak like a poison dart and split straight through the new fibers knitting themselves in my twelve year old heart.
Nothing she ever said or did topped the damage from that one dose of cruelty that laid down its stain that day. I knew something about her after that that I couldn’t unknow.
It created its own imprint; the exact opposite of the one my mother had laid down in me that shielded me, allowing me to survive that and all the days that came later. I didn’t realize for a long time, but I would come to know that nothing was more potent living inside me than my mother’s love. She had just five years, but she managed to inject herself so deep that she remained alive, impenetrable, exerting her motherly protection. It was the antidote for everything.
Maybe that’s why Marj kept trying so hard to break it down; something inside her knew she could never win against something as strong as that.
The saddest part is she was the only one making it a contest. I will never understand why she chose to wage war on a dead woman. She just could never, not in all those thirty years, drop the sword she had created out of her own hand. It eventually turned back on her, releasing me to live exactly how my mother intended; free.
And that dart, that sword, they taught me something too that I had no idea I would need much later. People can leave a mark by their bad deeds too. It can show you exactly how and who you don’t want to be.