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  • Chestnuts

    It isn't their fault and I have always loved them.

    I have always loved the secret of their silky dark coolness and how they feel in my hand.

    When I was about 7, he was about 16.. known briefly from church, I didn't know he was bad.. that he would try to harm me right there in the broad summer sunlight on the hill on the corner lot. The old lady saw this from across the street, didn't she see me struggle?... didn't she know I was trying to scream for help but could not because the breath was being crushed out of me? Somehow I struggled and kicked enough to get free and I ran and hid for hours. I could not go home.. no one was there. My mother was at work and I was left alone to take care of myself...

    Eventually I did go home and because I saw the disapproving look on the face of the old lady I told no one what happened. I had feelings of confusion and shame. I did not understand what had happened. I was only 7.

    What does this have to do with chestnuts? Well, there was a chestnut tree in that old lady's yard.. and I used to gather one or two for my pocket when she paid me a dime to go buy a loaf of bread for her at Pete's grocery store. After that day, she wouldn't speak to me, turned away if she saw me... no more trips to get bread, no more dimes for candy.

    No, it wasn't the chestnuts' fault and it wasn't my fault either.

    I recently came across a scattering of chestnuts under a tree at the park where I walk my dog and so these memories are coming back and are unwanted. How many times do I wish I had a delete feature to clean out the way-too-many bad things in my head?! But I do not and so I am left remembering the bit about cognizant trauma therapy... it's just a chestnut.


    I have to think deeper to feel better. I remember all the good laws that have been passed to protect women and children. Men too because that happens as well. All the ways we are more free to talk about these things, to learn we are not alone. So much more needs to be done but looking back, lots of ground has been gained too and that helps me be able to smile, albeit a bit wryly, as I feel the dark secret cool smoothness in my pocket.
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