I Am from Broken Light Switch Covers and Bruises

Brenna Vanderheyden

I am from fine china teapots sitting in the china cabinet, full of lost teeth and the victims of first haircuts.

From old, broken gas lamps in the backyard and loose, rotting railroad ties in the front.

I am from wood-burning stoves, dusty picture frames sleeping on the mantle, and my father’s anger.

I am from late nights in my car, broken recliners in backyards, and sleepy smiles early before the sun wakes up.

I always heard, “He doesn’t really mean it, he still loves you,” and “Trust in God with all your heart, for He will sustain you.”

Now, I hear, “You don’t need them in your life,” and “Family is who you choose, not who you are born to.”

I am from late nights of screaming and crying and fighting, days of exhaustion, and pawned wedding rings.

I am from nights of thinking, parties on Friday nights, and headaches on Saturday morning.

I am from the smell of Stouffer’s lasagna in the microwave and cherry Kool-Aid.

I am from the smell of bonfires and cigarettes.

I know the taste of rice and beans and pancakes for dinner because they were the only things we could afford.

I know the taste of cheap beer on the weekends and chocolate milk every night just because it makes me happy.

I am from broken light switch covers and bruises.

I am from kind awakenings by tiny, soft fingers and a little button nose.

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