The children refer to the apartment they lived in as ‘the dirty house.’ Their time in Arizona continues to haunt them, and they beg not to be sent back with their father. They vividly remember the arguments between their parents. Jorge beating my sister, while she cried for help, knowing the neighbors would do nothing. They remember how they would watch him leave, promising never to come back. They consoled their mother, as she cleaned up her own blood from the floor. Sometimes, she would fight back. It’s why they did not have dishes. Juliet had broken them all against her husband’s face, the wall, the doors. They had both done the same with their furniture. And all of this is important to document, as their father threatens to fight for custody of them.
This has nothing to do with me. My nieces will heal. Time and care will see to that. So, I cannot say that I hate him. Though, perhaps I should. He does, after all, call me periodically to tell me that he has my abortion stamp card, and I will soon qualify for a free one. I found it clever the first time around, but months into the same joke, it just isn’t as funny.
Here is what we have: It is All Hallow’s Eve. I say, the dead do not belong to me, and I do not belong to them. I say, damn the darkness that lives inside of me, and moves me toward battles. But it is what I unconvincingly deny that has allowed me to both conquer and befriend demons, far more powerful than an exasperating brother-in-law. And if he wants to step forward and claim what he views as nothing more than possessions, then he will be met with my fire. Those children are a part of me, and no one gets to rip me apart anymore.