Zero Four, Zero Four, Twenty-four.

Submitted into Contest #194 in response to: Write a story inspired by the phrase “Back to square one.”... view prompt


Coming of Age Contemporary Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of sexual violence.

It was the fourth day of the fourth month of the year 2024. I would soon be turning 74, and as I approached that landmark, I began to reminisce about the years I had wandered this planet I called home.

I occasionally visited a time many years before. It was not a time I like to remember and I was grateful that as the years passed, the memories had become softer, and a little bit more gentle.

 I still approached cautiously for there were days when the images filled my brain with ugliness that spilled down throughout the veins and arteries of a body that would begin to disappear.

There was a time in my life when I loved the month of April. I gleefully proclaimed the adage, “April showers bring May flowers.”

 I had loved gardening for my entire life thanks to a mother who passed on her own love of the experience.

For the past 30 years however, April had become a month I began to dread. It had become a month of reflection and contemplation. 

I followed a program that called upon me, to make searching and fearless, moral inventories.

This was not been a step I was particularly fond of, but I knew it was necessary for the development of my well-being.

Something strange happened as I approached this fourth month and a new fourth step. The dread I usually felt was replaced with a quiet happiness and a certain amount of joy.

I wondered if perhaps I had dug so deep over the years, that there was nothing left to look at. The other thought that crossed my mind was that my denial had once again, risen and overflowed it’s banks.

My fear of the pain from processing this step was definitely not as dark as it once had been. However, it didn’t take a whole lot to trigger that fear.

My journey of exploration took me back to a square, that if not number one, was very close to a detonation centre that had created a huge crater in my soul.

I did my best to soften a vision, which had haunted me relentlessly from the time I was five years old.

I had been in love with a 13-year-old boy. He was the son of a family that was very close to my own. In many ways, he was like an older brother, and yet my little girl crush was the joke of both families who would tease him relentlessly as I followed him like a little puppy where ever he went.

His own family had been riddled with problems that were best left unspoken of.

The reality, however, was that around fires at the campsite, these dark secrets were quietly discussed by concerned adults.

It was these concerned adults that did their best to keep the young boy away from a father, who, in the light of a more educated world, would have been sent to prison.

Those times were not so enlightened, and this man has been allowed to wreck havoc on children who should have been able to find safety in a home he ruled.

I began once again thinking of squares. It was strange the way they moved. I would get to the end and discover that I was yet one more time at the beginning.

I had been around the board a number of times in my life. Every time I passed “go” and collected $200, I would celebrate with a joyous whoop! Then there were those days where I landed up in jail and was instructed to go straight to that place not even able to collect my $200. 

Those were the dark days. 

Those were the days that seemed to go on forever. 

Those were the days that often turned into years.

I had never been much of a property owner. The thrill of laying claim to a piece of land was something I could never quite get my head around. I was always puzzled and absolutely amazed that people would fight one another to the point of death simply to claim ownership of a substance that would one day bury them 6 feet under. 

I valued each day that I woke up, and as I drew breath, I would utter a quick round of “thank you’s” to a Higher Power that was so much greater than myself.

There was a game I loved very much as a child. This game sold blocks of property, including famous railroads. I loved the idea of riding the rails. The thought of owning a few had occasionally crossed my mind. I settled instead for seeking roads less travelled.

As I moved through childhood and began to navigate the seas of a perplexing adulthood, I put away those early memories.

Buried deep, seldom looked at, these memories, nonetheless tainted every moment of my existence.

It was not till I was in my early 40s that I had been able to share with another human being what I had carried alone for so many years.

I had sought help with a group of other women who had worked up the courage to look at issues in their life that haunted most of their waking moments.

I had listened in awe to stories of survival that would have put me 6 feet under.

When it came time for me to share an experience I had told no one ever, I was reluctant to voice my story.

I tentatively began as my sympathetic counsellor listened carefully to my words.

I looked cautiously into her eyes as I told her of a day long long before.

The boy I loved, had been carrying me on his shoulders, as we made our way from a campsite down to the ocean.

The path we walked wound its way through giant evergreens that had stood for centuries upon centuries.

It was a mystical magical place that thrilled the young child I had been. 

I felt safe from the many invisible spirits that poked their heads out from hidden places as we walked.

My hero, this young man I loved, would protect me.

And then the unimaginable happened.

My little legs were over his shoulders as he carried me along the path. In an act of protection, the boy had reached up and cupped my behind to stop me from falling.

Then, slowly, insidiously he worked the middle finger of each hand into the recess of my wee body.

I was so shocked that I was unable to utter a word of protest.

To my horror my body began to respond with pleasure.

As he stroked my clitoris and pushed the finger of the other hand deeper into my being, I left my body for the first time in my life.

I remember, somehow, leaving through the top of my head. What I remember next was looking down at the ground and the experience that was happening to my body. I felt like I was 1000 miles above the earth. I was no longer a participant, only an observer. As terrified as I was of what was happening, it became like a movie, and the two bodies that moved across the screen were strangers to me.

I have forgotten the rest of that day. 

I stopped following the boy I had once loved. He now terrified me, and any time our families were together I stayed as close to my mother as I possibly could.

Eventually, we each grew up. I heard of him occasionally, but chose to close my ears to what was going on in his life.

More years passed. I became a woman, and seemed plagued by sorrows and troubles.

In a deep well of self pity, I blamed many people around me, and much of my life experiences for actions and behaviours, that were entirely of my own making.

I gathered angers and resentments that became my excuse for a life that required much examination.

I felt myself blessed to find a way of life that assisted greatly in helping me find a new perspective, and a solution to a problem that had begun to destroy me and those around me.

With diligence, and dogged determination I moved through a series of steps that eventually brought me peace and resolution.

And here I stood, once again faced by another series of steps.

The squares before me turned into an infinity symbol, which held no beginning or end.

What once had been a life of extremes, mellowed and shifted.

I rarely strayed across boundaries that once sent me spiralling into the depths of despair or up into the pinnacles of unrealistic joy.

I looked around, peacefully, serenely. I realized I lived almost entirely within each moment.

In those moments, the square ground I stood upon, was a glorious spot.

I would gaze deeply into a space, once riddled with resentment, and feel only peace and forgiveness. 

I closed my eyes and decided to walk down memory lane. I looked up the name of the boy I had once loved so deeply.

To my surprise, I found his obituary.

At first, I was shocked. Then I began to read the words carefully.

The man he had become apparently had passed peacefully away, held in the arms of a wife that loved him and surrounded by children who missed him.

I smiled as I realized I had truly forgiven this person, and in the process had learned to forgive myself.

I knew that if we were to ever meet again, he would gently put his hand out to me as an offering of peace. I knew in my heart that his sorrow was deep for what he had done. I knew that my hand would rise to grasp his, and then I would smile my forgiveness.

I opened my eyes, looked around and saw that I was safe within the boundaries of a huge square. It’s edges were soft and gentle, twined with fragrant flowers. Small woodland creatures quietly sat, and gazed at me.

I wept, knowing that this was a Square I would never leave.

April 20, 2023 13:03

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02:59 Apr 27, 2023

Thanks Rita. It was a story whose time had come to be told. I read yours and smiled gently for your own journey, through the twists and turns of life❤️


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Rita Kimak
21:41 Apr 26, 2023

What a difficult story to tell but you did so with a great peace. Thank you for sharing.


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