We all have times of great loss in life when our shiny surface is splashed with dullness My father’s death when I was fifteen cast a shadow on my patina a tarnished relationship I wished to know him as others did, I am told he had a quick wit and steady humor I saw the anger, the temper that brought me to the river of tears.

The object of scorn from an unwanted pregnancy feeling the sting of words severe “You make me sick” But so eager to please, to gain approval, to anxiously await the words “Good girl”.

My stain begins early with the clatter of pottery flung against the wall clanking, crashing I felt as though it were me breaking. Fits of temper, mother raging, father leaving in the dark the car engine roars tires squeal My heart thumps.

I can fix this if I do enough right things. Coffee percolating, two aspirins out, slippers poised by his leather chair, hot water bottle filled, newspaper neatly folded on the table nearby Waiting on the roof of the garage I see my father’s Buick down the alley I run and hide in the garage, the door is poised to fling open, my hands at the ready under, my little body squats waiting I hear his steps approach I surge upward with a thrust my arms strain to lift the heavy door My father yelps in pain his fingers caught in the handle sees me and says “Can’t you do anything right?” Cursing he put his fingers to his mouth

Not good girl. Not good girl.

He will feel bad I think to myself when he sees all the “right” things I have prepared for him. Yes, he will feel bad.


A need for approval that springs from rejection is warped my eagerness to please then, rewarding bad behavior sets a toxic pattern in place for decades chasing me in friendships, in family, in religion love me approve please.

See what I do?

The pastor threatens to treat me “as though we are divorced” not looking, not listening, not approving my spiritual pilgrim-hood control I stay anyway love me approve please.

See what I do?

My circle of friends knit closely the years that pass. May I trust you with my broken heart?

Will you approve please see my quickened pulse requires your approval.

Love me

See what I do?

For you Leave me alone

A man sees past the shards that lay true beauty of patterns emerge. I am brought together again. The steady strength a very good man loved unconditionally no matter what; no matter what.

I have been salvaged

As the gold of my broken pieces sparkle I see my beauty emerge.


That is me




BEAUTIFUL SIDE of BROKENNESS, THE [Barbara Symons]          1


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