I ask myself what I'm doing here in a room filled with friends and family who are strangers sipping on my beer.
I laugh, trying to conceal the scars as the subject comes up for why I ignore him. He is family after all. My smile begins to fall.
It doesn't matter how old the wound is; the mere mention of him makes my mood shift.
"Let the past be the past" they claim. I am. "What's your problem?" I have none. Leave me alone. Three drinks in and there I am, hiding.
Playing my favorite game of hide and seek when he finds me. Telling me if I was really quiet He wouldn't tag me out. Three years old and I didn't even shout.
I open my eyes when it's over, unsure of what game this was when I mention it to my parents. But who believes the word of a toddler over a seventeen year old who has a reason for everything.
No one wants to see the bad or even acknowledge it. So we make excuses. "Kids do that. It's a joke. It's exaggerated." Well, it happened.
No one talks about it as it sits as a lump under the rug. Everyone tip toes around afraid of the dirt that will come up. They look at me as if I am the one that caused this pile. Why because I don't say hi?
I am not mad anymore. Not mad at how they handled it. Or how they acknowledge it now only in whispers. Or even how every time he sees me he runs in the other direction spewing gossip to try and tear me down. I am not even mad at myself for staying quiet or shutting my eyes instead of fighting.
"Let the past be the past," they claim. I am. "What's your problem?" I have none, because I am the lotus growing out of the mud and no one will ever force me to do anything again.