i. My mothers hands never had a soft land on the skin across my cheek. Always rough side, knuckle bared swipe leaving me with the realization I could never do right. Could always do better, be better, be nothing like anything. Just say what she thought and do as she does and I could walk away with less bruises this time.
ii. That’s why when his rough hands took fistfuls of hair I grit my teeth, I did not swear. He always said, I could be like her. He wanted me to be like her. Just do as he says, and say what he needs and I would leave with less cuts on my knees.
iii. Yet her.. her hands seemed soft and safe, unlike past skin – against mine did not chafe. Though soft hands proved strong grips, with nails like claws – skin rips. She always said it was my fault. So I do as she says, repeat words that pass her lips in hopes that maybe this time she’ll loosen grips.
I learned to trust no hands, not even my own. As the most damage dealt was done alone.