Shelter from the rain

Trigger warning – child abuse

Furious drops of water cascaded against the windows and rushed in rivulets across the street outside. It was cold in the stairwell. We huddled on the marble floor, leaned back against the wall. I was probably the warmest of us, sitting on your lap and sheltered by your arms. Someone had stolen the blanked we’d hidden in the attic for days such as this one. I was four our five years old and you being eight years older, must have been twelve or thirteen. Sooner or later your parents would come looking for you. But maybe we could just be safe for a little while. Only for some hours… 

Every time you turned up on our doorstep, you asked to stay only for a little while. You’d been visiting a friend in our neighborhood and didn’t feel like going back home just yet. My mother looked stressed, because she knew your parents (her cousins) didn’t approve of your wandering. They’d even lash out at her for opening the door to you and inviting you to eat with us. 

”It only encourages him to run off”, they’d say. ”Don’t let him in, just call us and tell us he was here”. But my mother felt this to be heartless advice. So she kept letting you in, but felt obliged to call your parents afterwards. Sometimes you’d enter and then sit staring into space with your eyes tearing up. You never told us what happened before you left your house, what prompted you to run away. But looking back on the full picture of our childhood, I can very well imagine it. Anything would become an excuse to stay some moments more at our place: Donald Duck was on the TV, it was raining too much, your legs hurt from walking too far, or you just didn’t want to se me sad. 

I would cling to your legs as hard as I could and beg you not to leave. 

It was early morning and my mother was sleeping in her bed. She’d heard someone knocking on the door but wrote it off as a mistake. Nobody in their right mind would come to visit us before six o’clock in the morning, she said. As she fell asleep again, I snook up and unlocked the door. You were hungry, so we pilfered some fruits from the kitchen table. Sadly the sofa was out of blankets (my mother hadn’t yet replaced the old ones we’d taken). You didn’t want my mother to call your parents, so we made way for the stairwell before she woke up. It was deserted. The apartment building slept soundly, lulled by the soft sound of rain pattering against roof and windows. You told me you were thinking of going very far away, so far you would never be able to see anyone again, not even me. I clung to you and begged you to stay or take me with you. 

”You don’t understand”, you said. ”I can’t take you with me, because I would never hurt you”. 

”You wouldn’t hurt me by taking me with you”, I said. ”We could have so much fun!” But you shook your head silently, tears falling. It took some time before you explained that the long journey you were talking about was death. I suggested we take a hot air balloon and fly between heaven and earth, and so never need to part with anyone who was still alive. You told me it wouldn’t work, that there was no way for a dead person to come back again. I couldn’t understand this, but I knew I could never part with you.

So I hugged you as hard as I could and told you I would never let you go.

Dear Eric, I’m sorry I didn’t keep my promise. 

I – Bianca – was forced to forget you. But now that I’ve started integrating with my other alters…I carry you with me always. I couldn’t let you go even if I tried.

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