SNAP: Stories for Living

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Story #6 – A Survivor, Once Removed

     She knew well the disease that consumed her family.  It wasn’t the kind that erupted suddenly out of nowhere, but one which festered over generations, continually going into remission.  Without warning, it would emerge, only to creep back into hiding once the physical and emotional damage was complete. 

     Everyone she knew as family was deceitful.  They hid the truth behind their veils of forbidden whispers and forgotten reasons.  For this there was no cure.  The origin of the sickness was lost forever, taken to the grave with all the secrets the family kept so well over the years, but she yearned for truth.

     It was on restless nights, when the darkness crept too far under the blankets to allow for comfort, that she would have the nagging thoughts.  The thoughts that said perhaps, just perhaps, someone else was responsible for the incestuous acts of her brother. She could only recall where it all began for her, in her lifetime of events.  It was all perception. This she knew; this she remembered; her mother disliked certain men of the cloth, immensely.  Her parents, one time good Catholics, gave up going to church and talking to the neighbors.  It wasn’t until years later that she put together the pieces and discovered the truth.  Her brother, the perpetrator, was sexually abused by a priest; a trusted and honored figure within an establishment that fed the dark stench of her family secrets.  Once the truth surfaced, she could finally see and understand the reasons why. 

     The years haven’t softened the pain of lost childhood dreams.  No one has been held accountable.  The man who started the downward spiral of a family’s innocence sits free with his perversion.  Her life moves on, but her thoughts often go to “what if?” or “where to put it all, now.”  And, although she was not directly violated by the clergy, she is a survivor, once removed.  

Note: this story is from 2009. View other 2009 stories and 2009 voting results. View current stories.