- A Four -Letter- Wordby Sasha
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Valerie questions her inability to feel love
A Leaf on the Wind
: A Four -Letter- Word by Sasha

Valerie has conflicting feelings about Teresa's wedding. Unable to feel love from anyone she still longs for the warmth and security it once provided her. Valerie falls into a deep depression.

Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you can not bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.”
-- Kahlil Gibran

It was not long after Lee left that I realized how foolish I had been. I really didn't like him at all. I had been so convinced that I would never have a boyfriend that I had settled for someone cruel and disgusting just to fit in with the crowd. When I entered the eleventh grade, I actually found solace in being unattractive. Bonnie and I were still close, but I had no interest in making new friends.

Daddy continued to taunt me mercilessly. As he had done a hundred times before, he would sit across from me at the dinner table, wink at me or stick his tongue out and wiggle it, knowing I would curse or throw something at him. No one ever admitted seeing him do anything. Angry I had ruined yet another dinner, Mom would send me to my room. When we were alone, Daddy would lay a twenty-dollar bill on the counter, wink and say, "How about a quickie?"

I continued to complain to Mom, but it was futile; she only saw me as a troublemaker. I wanted to tell her everything Daddy had done to me, but I was ashamed and was afraid she would not believe me. With each passing day, my anger grew into a hatred that consumed me.

Toward the end of the school year, Teresa told me she was pregnant, and that she and Bill were planning to get married as soon as she graduated from high school. I was happy for her, but the thought of being alone with Daddy frightened me.

As the wedding approached, I found it difficult to sleep, and when I did, I had terrifying nightmares and I suffered from constant migraines. I was seldom hungry and cried for no reason at all.

One night I woke from another nightmare trembling and covered in perspiration. I sat on the edge of the bed rubbing my aching head. It made me angry to see Teresa sleeping so peacefully in the bed next to mine. She was completely oblivious to my agony.

I couldn't understand why Teresa's impending wedding upset me so much. She had never been supportive, so what difference would it make if she were gone? And, since I hated her most of the time, why did I care if she left? Tears welled up in my eyes at the realization that I loved my sister, even though I knew she didn't love me. Why else would she not ask me to be in her wedding? 

Why was I so hard to love? What was it about me that made it so easy for her, and everyone else, to hate me? I buried my face in my pillow to silence my sobs and cried myself to sleep.

As Teresa's wedding grew near, I sank into a deep depression. The darkness that surrounded me every minute of every day was unbearable. I refused to go to school. I hid in my room for three days pretending to be sick. No amount of coaxing could get out of bed. Mom's sudden show of concern infuriated me.

When she came in to check on me, I cursed and yelled at her, "Get the hell out of here! Leave me alone!"

"Valerie, I am worried about you." Mom pleaded.

I laughed and said, "YOU are worried about ME?"

I pulled the blanket up over my head to hide the tears that had started to well up in my eyes again.

"Valerie, I love you very much."

"You don't love me. You never did."

"That's not true. I love you very much."

Angry I yelled, "I don't want your love. I don't want anyone's love."

"Valerie, how can you say that?"

I laughed, and through my tears said, "You never loved me. You never cared anything about me. If you really loved me, you would have done something about Daddy years ago. You love your stupid house; your stupid yard, and your stupid flowers, but you don't love me."

Mom shook her head and simply left the room without saying another word. I lay beneath the blanket pondering why no one loved me. I had heard the word many times but it meant nothing. When Daddy said he loved me, I felt rage. When Auntie Bea said she loved me, all I could feel was the hatred I felt when she betrayed me. When Mom said she loved me, I felt nothing. The more I thought about it the more I realized how desperately I wanted to be loved; really loved. What was love anyway? It seemed that to my family love was just another four-letter-word. It was just something to say at the end of a sentence. I tried to remember the warmth I felt as a child when Daddy told he me loved me. But all I could remember was the pain I felt when he took it away. Inside my chest was a big empty hole where the love I so desperately wanted should have been. My heart actually ached from the painful yearning I constantly felt.

At that moment, a strange question popped into my head. Was it true that no one loved me? Or, was it just impossible for me to feel it? The answer to both questions was yes.

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Author Notes
Years of abuse and her family's denial turn Valerie into a sad, lonely, depressed, and very angry child.


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