The thinly veiled insults from my half
Spanish mother began in my single digits.
She hid her ethnicity behind the smattering
of freckles on her nose and her shoulders,
behind her Irish nose and pale skin, and
found moment after moment to not call me by
my given name, but by Gordita—her cute,
chubby girl. Her cherubic parasite that has
tried over and over to latch itself to her
hip, around the curve in her upper thigh.
I was always too heavy to sit on her lap,
too wide to sit in front of the television
with my legs crossed, too hungry too often.
There were forced swimming and tennis
lessons. There were pictures of me with a
half grin, her slender fingers barely
resting on my shoulder while she gazed at
my father—who would put up with her until
my teen years, until he too was discarded.
You would whisper in my five year old
ear, "If you get lost, I'm not going
to come looking for you" while we
walked hand in hand through Hershey
Park, while my father was in line
buying food for us. It was always a
tenuous grip—your perfectly manicured
fingers around my chubby digits. Your
threat of abandonment is the oldest in
my memory. I was the most disposable
of your creations, the dark haired,
blue eyed picture that resembled nothing
you ever wanted, or needed.
In the moment before the cut
You slipped your hand in my left pocket.
You rubbed your arm against mine to feel my skin.
You talked about how you hated everything.
You told me that I wore too much black eyeliner.
You said that you were out of cigarettes.
You used your other hand to shut off your cell phone.
You told me you wanted to drive to Baltimore, for no reason.
You slipped up, changed the plot, and diverted the conversation.
You talked about the force of blood from severed veins.
You left me with fragments of you, walked away, said nothing
Arielle LaBrea is the former editor in chief of Thick With
Conviction, the author of the chapbook "Soft In The Middle", and
is working on putting together a new online press/journal. She
is a PA girl, born and bred. Her work has been in a few online
publications like Work to a calm, Drown In My Own Fears, Scythe,
and a few others.