In the Hallway
By Mindy Lawrence
I remember standing in the hall at home arguing with my mother. It happened often. She’d call me stupid and sometimes slap me for saying the same thing I said the day before when she smiled. She accused me of talking to her "the wrong way.” I was unaware that I said things differently from one day to the next. This time was different. I can’t remember what started the argument or what it was about, but I remember the outcome.
When I was 5 years old, I had an accident. I fell out of my swing set in the backyard and broke my left arm. It broke both bones in my elbow and I wound up with gangrene and paralysis. Eventually, the feeling came back, and I regained limited usage of the arm.
During our argument, my mother grabbed my right arm and twisted it behind my back. It was painful and I was afraid. I couldn’t twist away from her. She said, ”I’ll make it like the other one”, meaning my damaged left arm, and continued to twist to where it hurt. I don’t remember how it stopped but I never forgot that it happened. I’m sure she would say it didn’t, that it was my imagination.
Later on, I discovered my mother was on medication for nerves. That helped to partially explain her treatment of me, but it didn’t make me forget or make my inner pain go away.