Children

‘My town spent years trying to figure out this man’s secret. One rumor was Dave was a secret millionaire. Others speculated he was mentally ill and homeless.’

“Dave always dressed in a sailor uniform. One rumor was he was a certified genius, who found the most happiness dancing on the side of the street. Whenever somebody honked or waved, Dave would dance a little dance, then smile and tip his hat. I can close my eyes and recall that happy little shuffle. He was captivating.”

‘I pick up a pink sock from under the couch. Suddenly I sink to my knees. I try to smell her on the sock, hold it to my heart and scream, ‘COME BACK TO ME! I LOVE YOU! PLEASE!’

“I find myself softly chanting ‘daughter, daughter, daughter.’ I lose count as I hold that sock and rock it. Minutes pass, I don’t know how many. I finally pick myself up off the floor and I put her sock in her bedroom. I shut the door, stand there for a moment, my hand still clutching the doorknob as tears stream down my face.”

‘She came running into the house screaming. ‘What? What is it?’ ‘Outside.’ She pointed to the open front door. ‘Daddy. The bird.’ I picked her up, and she buried her head into me sobbing.’

“‘Okay, let’s go look.’ She was hesitant, but tiptoed out to the porch. ‘What’s going on out here?,’ I asked, still confused. ‘There are babies! He killed the babies!’ The look on my face turned from confusion to horror. ‘What?’ I snapped my head towards my husband.”

‘I hid my habits. On the way to visit my boyfriend, I’d down a burger in my car, hide the evidence, then go to dinner a few hours later like a proper lady. Salad only, please.’

“When I moved, all the women looked like movie stars. Blonde with bountiful boobs, thin waists, and faces full of makeup. I went for a haircut and told the stylist I felt so out of place; I’d never be able to compete with these women. He stopped his snipping just long enough to say, ‘Sure you will. If you’re willing to pay enough.’”

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