It was a cold, brisk night. My sisters, brothers, and I huddled together in a one-room bedroom on a dirt floor. We watched the snowflakes float through the hole in the ceiling and dance down to the floor as if trying to remind us that things were not as bad as they were. We had two mattresses and a couple of raggedy blankets to cuddle under. The snow was making a path of white. Our only warmth was our closeness and the touch of our skin against one another.
I was the eldest, a second mother to my siblings, parentified without wanting it. I was tall, thin, and pretty with dark-black, long flowing hair, and blue eyes. I was a spitting image of my mom. Only I was driven, I was strong, and I refused to let my fire dwindle down to nothing due to "Him." I was a survivor.
Unbeknownst to me and in retrospect, I can look back and cherish that time in that room with my siblings. Soon afterward, we were whisked away into a children's home. I will never forget my mother, running beside the car, watching in horror as we were taken away. Her screams still haunt me as a ghost, etched in a part of my brain so as never to forget. Tears filled my eyes. I could see as she was losing the race that she loved us more than ever.
Alas, my heart filled with an incomprehensible loathing for my father and for the life that he had given us. Now, we have a new journey and one to be feared even more. Our lives will never again be the same, and I will forever long for the night in that room because the bitter cold was nothing compared to what we're about to face.