At the Zoo
It was our secret, my running. Mommy didn’t like for me to run. “Men do not like ladies who are improper at the wrong moments.“ I asked her once when it was the right moment for a girl to be improper. She slapped me and sent me up to my room without supper.
So, I still didn’t know.
Aunt Bertie turned me loose, said “what Nadine don’t know, won’t hurt her.” She always let me run wild at the zoo. Sometimes, we’d lie in the grass side-by-side, me in my fancy dress. We’d look at the sky through the tree branches and listen to the birds.
It was all fine until the day I fell. I climbed up the fence at the Louisiana bear pen, but I somehow messed up my footing. A ruffle from my dress caught in the fence and ripped. Aunt Bertie bent over me, lying there in the dirt. “You done gone and got yourself in a fix now, girl. Nadine is gonna beat your behind but good.”
The thought of one of Mommy’s beatings made me want to cry, and I hated to be a baby. “You gotta help me. You just gotta. Sneak me back into the house and help me change clothes before she sees me.”
“Ain’t gonna fix that dress.”
I stuck my fingers through the hole. “Can you make it like new?“
She pulled me to my feet and kissed the top of my head. “Child, I’d make the whole world over for you if I could. I’ll see what I can do with it when we get home. Now, come on. Race me to that tree yonder. Might as well make the best of the worst situation while we can.”
I grabbed her hand, threw out my arms, and ran. Maybe someday, I would run away from Mommy, go hide someplace she’d never look.
I already knew where.
Welcome to Mommy Dearest, a series of fiction. If this is your first visit to the series, please click here to read the first installment. Thanks for your feedback on fiction posts. Your thoughts will help me make a believable character.