I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Another woman’s husband got a rattlesnake and kept it in a cage at home. He would threaten to put it in the bed or the shower with her. That kind of emotional torture needs no physical violence.
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The breakfast rush was hitting its peak when we learned about the dead woman lying not far from Table Four.
Gingerly, creeping, my mother drives her “safe” back way home, winding through the subdivisions bordering downtown Orlando, Florida. The little truck doesn’t have air conditioning. I stretch my arm out the window as if I might be able to feel the Spanish moss hanging from the trees like witch hair.
An illegal abortion, a brother’s drug habit, Cold War secrets
One quality that helps a marriage work is when partners respect each other and are each grateful for what the other brings to the relationship. Relationships run on an economy of gratitude. And if your partner needs to change his or her behavior, it’s important to ask for that change without attributing bad motives to the behavior. When you do argue, or when your partner gets angry, look for the soft emotion under the hard one and talk to that. A belief in the goodwill of the other person is critical.
My mother regularly told me, Heather, if you are ever in danger and I’m not there, make your way to a house with flowers. The flowers show they care and are kind and will help.
It didn’t occur to me until years later that we had not a single bloom in our yard.
Prison deepened my sister’s addiction, crushed her self-esteem, narrowed her options for jobs and education, and diminished her hope for a good life. She was in a much worse situation each time she came out.
On the subway, in a mine, at a gas station
It never occurred to me when I was little that there was a world in which dads did not come home from the bar and beat up their oldest sons. It was totally normal, you know what I mean?