One Minute by Betty Freeman

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Was she 40 or 12?  That voice grated every nerve in her aching body, like the cheddar cheese that she grated on her salad.

So what!  A bitter angry voice shouldn’t matter to a mature woman.  Yet a mature woman had worried about that voice throughout her childhood and the many minutes long past her childhood.  

Her brother?  He got everything handed to him in spite of doing nothing.  She had been the dutiful daughter.  She even tried to be the son that her parents needed to rely on, but never could.  She was given nothing, but the promise of indentured servitude, and that voice degrading everything about her.

This was only a moment of her time.  One minute?  What harm could one minute do to her that all of those years hadn’t already done to her?  She was constantly told how worthless that she was as a daughter and a female and as a human.  She  was often told that she should have never been born.

So what?  She was a mature woman.  She had a 20 year marriage to a man that she dearly loved.  His touch still turned her into the 18 year old girl that fell hard in love with him.

That voice, though.  That voice imagined that every man wanted her.  She made every man crumble at the sight of her.  She was beautiful.

One minute?  In one minute she never heard that voice say anything so cruel  and hateful to anyone-but her.

Her brother and that voice?  She often thought that they would eventually kill each other.  They couldn’t get along-yet she never heard the cruelty toward her brother that the voice saved for her.

“You’re fat!  I wish that you were dead!  You disgust me!”  That voice said many hateful things to her in one minute.

But now, her brother was in jail.  Why?  He had it all given to him, literally on a silver platter.  

Really!  The voice always made a point to tell her  how much that she gave her brother.  Over and over through the years, she heard about the thousands of dollars that voice gave to her brother.  Everything  was meant to go to her brother.  

Her brother never went through the abuse that voice had to endure during her childhood.  She had been beaten and sexually abused so often that illusions seemed to cloud many of her childhood memories.  The voice needed to believe that this great guy would someday rescue her and put her upon the pedestal  she knew that she belonged upon.

One minute?  That voice gave her all the cruelty of her own abuse.  She wiped tears from her cheeks as her husband hugged her.

One minute?  Say something kind to me.  Tell me that you love me.  Can’t we please have a normal  mother and daughter conversation?

One minute?  She looked at her mother’s body in the open coffin and cried.  She wanted one minute to tell her mother that she loved her, but her brother had killed her during one of their many arguments over giving him more money. 

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