Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 17, 2009 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 


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Valerie asks her mother a simple question

A chapter in the book A Leaf on the Wind

A Simple Question

by S. Pumpkin



Background
Valerie has been abused by her father her entire life. Her family denies the abuse and view Valerie as nothing more than a troublemaker. Valerie exhibits signs of both physical and psychological dama
Just because something isn't a lie does not mean that it isn't deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.”
-- Criss Jami


For several weeks after the disastrous conference, I walked around in a daze. I was numb. I felt nothing. I seldom slept, completely lost my appetite, and when I went to school, I spent the entire day hiding in the bathroom. When Bonnie called, I refused to speak to her. Despite my sullen behavior, no one seemed to notice, or care, that I was in the room.  

The only positive aspect of my situation was, Daddy avoided me like the plague. 

One morning, I walked into the kitchen, and in a calm voice that even surprised me, I said, "Mom, can I ask you a question without you getting mad?" 

"Sure, ask me whatever you want." 

I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down at the dining room table across from her. 

"Why won't you do anything about Daddy?" I asked. 

Although I had asked the same question a hundred times,  I asked it again in the hope that this time, she would give me an answer that would help me understand. 

Mom rolled her eyes and sighed. 

"Valerie, we have been through this a hundred times. I really don't want to talk about this again." 

I was determined not to let her off. Still speaking in a soft, quiet voice, I said, "You know what Daddy is doing, you have always known. I just want to know why you let him do it." 

"You are just a child. You don't understand how hard it is to keep a family together," Mom said . 

"Help me understand,"  I replied.  

"I know your father drinks too much and I know he can be difficult, but you don't understand what would happen if I made him leave."  

"But what he is doing is wrong and you have to make him stop," I countered. “And if telling him to leave is the only way, then you have to do it." 

"It is not that simple," Mom said. "If your father left, we will lose everything. We have a nice house. We live in a nice neighborhood. We just planted grass in the backyard and in a few weeks, the roses will be in bloom. I have put too much time and money into making this a home to simply walk away because you and your father don't get along. Are you really willing to give all this up?" 

"Yes, I am," I said without hesitation. 

Her casual comment that Daddy and I just didn't get along annoyed me. I felt the thick fog of numbness slowly lift and the familiar emotion of anger rise to the surface. 

Mom regarded me silently for a moment. Then said, "I have a responsibility to the whole family, not just to you. In a few years you will be all grown up, you will move out, start a family of your own, and you will put all this behind you." 

"So what you are telling me is that the house, grass, and roses are more important than me." I snapped back in anger. 

"No, that is not what I am saying." 

"Yes, that is exactly what you are saying."

"I know it is hard, but someday you will understand." 

I shook my head, "No, I will never understand." 

Whatever peace I received from two weeks of numbness was gone.  The anger had returned. I got up and left the room. There was nothing more to say. Mom really believed we had a good life and we were a happy family. I wondered if she would ever understand what I was going through. I doubted it would make any difference even if she did.


Earned A Seal Of Quality


Valerie responds to the betrayal of her family by falling into a deep depression. She feels no emotion. Her family continues to act as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened. In a unusually calm manner, Valerie asks her mother why she has done nothing about her father. Her Mother's pathtic response only adds to Valerie's confusion, anger, and frustration.
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