The One Thing


PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

 

“It’s the one thing I want.”

His siblings’ squabbling over their late mother’s items woke memories he preferred to not revisit. He wondered if not leaving a will was her way to continue their jockeying for her perceived affections even after she was gone.

Linda fixed her suspicious gaze on him. “Why?”

He shrugged to feign indifference. “I find the carvings interesting, and,” he pointed at his black clothing, “it’s kind of Goth.”

He wasn’t going to tell them about the hidden compartments. Or their contents. Grandpa had shown him. “Black sheep need help, Son. In case of hard times.”

 

For Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers

 

Spill The Beans

dip AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

Spill the beans

On what is

And never

Should’ve made

Secret.

Share the stories

You know

And others

Also

Have lived.

Find the balance

Between

Private stashes

Of sorrow

And the tender joys

To be had

In remembering

Both.

 

 

For The Daily Post

Tom’s Secret

The animation video below was chosen to lead the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse which is held on November 18.

The five-minute video had been originally launched in Hebrew, and was since translated to Russian, English, and French. It guides parents, teachers, and other caregivers in ways to identify and react to cases of sexual assault and abuse in children. It has been incorporated into learning programs in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

The clip portrays with sensitivity and clarity the reactions children often have to sexual abuse: dissociation, denial, secrecy, fear, worry, shame, and more. It also shows the behaviors children might display and which should be treated as red flags: reluctance to do things or go places they might’ve enjoyed before, irritability, sadness, refusal, lack of appetite, bed-wetting, physical complaints, etc. While these may not be specific to sexual abuse, they are often representation of distress, and need attending to.

It is a fact that most children who endure sexual abuse don’t tell. At least not directly.

It is also a fact that many parents/teachers/caregivers don’t know when to ask or how to ask or what to do or say if they find out something did take place. They may not understand how a child can seem okay, even when they are internally not okay. Even those who want to help, may not know how to go about it.

This video offers a good start.

Watch it. Share it widely.

 

 

For the Hebrew version, and more information (in Hebrew) about sexual abuse of children, and ways to identify and respond to red-flags, click on the link to an article below:

http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4880054,00.html

 

A Small Bewitching

She came up the stairs dragging a very sorry looking mop.

To my raised eyebrow, she smiled, “it’s a secret,” and said no more. She placed the mop in a corner (head double tied in a plastic bag per my insistence), and sat down to work. Once in a while she lifted her face to look at the mop’s handle with a little “I know something that you don’t but this is working really well so far” grin.

I was of course dying of curiosity but had to admire her resoluteness to not spill the beans. This was no easy feat for a girl who would usually share just about any tiny detail she could think of.

Not this time.

This cat, I could see, was not being let out of the bag. How apt, when we have been working on symbolic language, and how she adored the image of that specific idiom. Thought it was the funniest thing after being “all ears.”

When the mother came to pick her up at end of session, a storm paced near.

“What’s this?” The parent curled a lip.

“From outside,” the child replied regally and more than a little challenging.

The mother shook her head at the mop. (My thoughts exactly … from OUTSIDE? Who knew what peed on this, or worse, and why someone decided to toss out the scraggly mess! She brought this in here from OUTSIDE?!)

The child remain stoic. “I told you I’d figure it out,” she said cryptically.

“But …”

“And you said that if I found a way then I could AND that this can be a secret until Halloween! So you can’t say anything or you’ll tell!” the girl jumped in rapidly before the mother said something that would reveal what was to be kept hidden (and … I think, to prevent any conversation from putting her at a disadvantage …).

The mother looked at me helplessly but all that I could do was shrug slightly and observe. This was better than TV, definitely. I did not have a clue what was going on, but the child’s delight was fun to see. I did have to hand it to the gal: she clearly made a point and seemed to be driving it home (hopefully not literally … I could not see any cab driver happy to see this in the taxi … and was already thinking how there’d be some disinfecting on my end once this thing left my floor, plastic bag or not …).

A long moment ticked. Another.

“Okay!” the mother sighed. The girl’s grin was humongous.

“Okay?!” I could not help it. The girl picked this up from the garbage and it was okay?? This was not a woman who collected toss-out stuff from pavements, and I could not see her letting this into her house. I could barely believe I let it into mine …

“Oh, she means she’ll get me one!” the girl explained. Victorious. “She didn’t want to but I told her that I will find one myself … though,” she turned to her mother, all nectar and loving sweetness, “it WILL be so much nicer to have a new clean one to use …”

The girl grinned at my bewilderment and left hopping down the stairs. Her mother–I am not sure quite as relieved–carried the offensive mop between two careful fingers (“So it does not smear who knows on each of your steps,” the parent shuddered, keeping the bagged mop head well above the ground.)

Neither mother nor child offered explanation for the girl’s newly found interest in housekeeping. It remained a mystery to me.

Until today.

(Picture of an unrelated child in a similar costume …)

Little Witch via Karen Perry

Spilling the Beans …

idiom

I heard them arguing all the way up the stairs. The mom sounded consoling but confused. The little boy sounded angry, hurt.

“Why you lie?” he demanded.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she countered, frustrated.

“You not suppose to lie!”

“I didn’t … oh, just drop it, will you?”

“Drop what?”

“Nothing, okay. Just climb up, we’re late already …”

Two frowning faces, one a smaller version of the other showed up at my door. The little guy took one look at his mother, letting her know that he was not done with this discussion, and announced to me: “My mommy lied!”

She shook her head, sighed.

“Let’s go in and sit down and you’ll tell me about it,” I suggested.

The story unfolded: there was a party planned. A surprise birthday party for the dad, and both the boy and his older sister were in on the plans. All very exciting.

“Actually, initially I didn’t want David to know,” the mother interjected, “I worried that he would not be able to keep it secret … but he found out, and of course he went right ahead and told my husband …”

Little David gave her a withering look. “I didn’t mean to, it slip out,” he noted, vindicated by fate. He then turned to me, righteously riled, “and anyway, my mommy lied!”

“What did I lie about? What did I say?” the mother was clearly tired of this back and forth. She looked at me, “he’s been at it since we left the house. I didn’t lie to him about anything. It’s been really ridiculous.”

“You say I spilling things and I didn’t! I was careful!”

“What did your mom say you spilled, David?” I asked, slightly amused by the exchange and the boy’s insistence, and by a suspicion that was already forming in my mind …

“Beads. She say I spill the beads. I didn’t!”

“The BEANS,” the mother corrected.

“I don’t even LIKE beans,” he snapped and rolled his eyes, and I struggled to keep a straight face.

“It’s an expression, David. To spill the beans, means to tell a secret … maybe your mom was saying that about you telling your dad about the birthday party?”

The little boy glared at me suspiciously–one never knows when adults gang up to take another adult’s side–then looked back and forth from his mom’s vigorous nodding to me. I smiled.

“But why she lie?” his voice was hesitant now. He knew that there was something he had missed.

“She didn’t lie. She used an expression. Remember when we were talking about it ‘raining cats and dogs’ when it actually meant that it was raining really hard? How it was a silly way to say that it was raining hard but it did not mean that dogs and cats were REALLY raining on us? How ‘raining cats and dogs’ is an expression for strong rain?”

A nod.

“Or when we talked about ‘giving a hand’ meaning helping someone, and how a ‘couch potato’ is someone who sits around too much watching TV and doesn’t go outside and play and move around?”

Another nod then an eyebrow started going up. A dawning. “Like ‘heart of gold’ thing being nice?”

“Exactly!”

“Oh,” he pondered. Then his lip curled up in distaste. “But why spill beans? Can’t I spill something else? I HATE beans!”

spilled the beans