Published on November 1st, 2022 | by Megan Kennedy0
Here’s What I Know
Here is something that I know to be true. When my infant sister was sleeping in her crib her dad made it clear to our mom that she couldn’t leave. I know what their bedroom looked like in the house we lived in when the sister was an infant in the crib. I imagine them in their bed. Him pulling out a gun from underneath his pillow, holding it, but not pointing it at her. I know that the garage walls were lined with warehouse racks of Hostess desserts. In a bodega I see individually wrapped cherry fruit pies and I think of the garage. I imagine her pushed up against a stack of Twinkies. I remember him holding her against the kitchen wall by her throat. I don’t know if that’s real or imagined, but I remember it. And I know that it could be real. I know that I felt safer in his van than in an ambulance when I broke my arm. A roller coaster track between my elbow and my wrist. I remember him jumping off the couch. Noticing that he cared. I remember we followed my mom out of the house in the middle of the night. Her best friend waiting for us in a car. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my older brother – she, his namesake – attests. He says, it was the neighbor though, who drove us to the airport. I remember standing at the top of a staircase, feeling frightened by the look of her leg wrapped up in that burn gauze. I overheard that an urn of freshly made coffee had tipped over and scalded her. I remember wondering, is that really what happened, or did he do this to her? I remember my toddler brother putting his tiny hand through the diamond shaped hole of the baby gate. I remember the burn blisters on his tender baby skin. I remember many times, meeting him in the Mini Chopper parking lot to exchange the sister and the brother for visitations. I remember night after night after night of vigilant insomnia. I remember trying to find words to describe the pain of being woken up by wasps stinging my stomach. I know that, all the time, I was learning that nothing is good enough to not be thrown away. The first pandemic spring: a jolting return to trapped and unsafe. I binged on all foods frozen and boxed. I burrowed inward, clawing for personal space. I all but went silent with my husband and my daughter. But I could sleep. And I could wake up and recognize us for who we are, and who we’re not. I know that in our kitchen I’ve done fifteen days of yoga in a row. I don’t know if I’ll have the patience to break in these oven mitts, but I will try, because they’re good enough to not be thrown away.