Well Met By Moonlight - Page 8

She eyed me closely, then said, “You don't sound like you think it was lucky.”

“I'm being brave,” I answered with a smirk. “I've never talked about this with anyone, you know.” A nasty thought struck me. “Have I?”

“Not with me,” she assured me.

“Okay then,” I said with a nod. “But for the record, the only reason I'm telling you this is because I know I won't remember it in the morning.” I took a deep breath. “It was right after Mom had died, and I had climbed out of my crib to give my father a hug and tell him that 'Mommy says 'kiss kiss.'”

I took another breath, wincing as I did so, before continuing. “I never even saw him ball his fist, and it was days before the swelling went down enough for me to see anything at all out of my left eye.”

She looked at me with a mixture of horror and disgust, shocked beyond politeness or words.

“He told everyone that I'd fallen out of my crib,” I continued. “And since nobody really likes to too closely question a man who's just lost his wife, everybody bought it.”

She just continued to look at me with that same expression.

“Look,” I said, feeling awkward, “my dad wasn't a bad person . . .”

“Yes,” she interrupted sharply. “He was!”

“Yeah,” I agreed with reluctance. “He was, but he was bad in the 'too broken to be a quality person,' and not bad in the 'evil' sense. He tried, he really did, but every time I told him one of my 'stupid lies' about still talking to my Mom, he . . .” I decided there was no need to finish that sentence. “Let's just say I grew up to be a 'rambunctious child constantly scraping myself up one way or the other.'”

“I'm so . . . so sorry,” she whispered.

“You'd think I'd have learned pretty quickly to just not say anything about seeing Mom or any other ghosts to him, but kids have a logic all their own,” I added with a pained and rueful laugh. “He hit me for telling 'lies,' and lying was bad, but since I wasn't lying, I kept right on trying to talk to him about it.”

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