Only Women Bleed

Submitted into Contest #102 in response to: Start your story with a metaphor about human nature.... view prompt


Drama Sad

This story is taken from a manuscript in progress:

FAMILY SECRETS/Breaking the Code of Silence

“A Family Secret is a secret kept within a family. Most families have them, the nature and importance vary."

Ginny felt the layers of domesticity slip away from her shoulders like leaves on a tree in the face of winter's first blistering blast of arctic fury .

“Only women bleed”.

Not true she thought, as the ruby red water ran down her hands and splashed into the sink.

She’d been dreaming shades of deep rich red, craving a sweetness in her mouth that she knew not quite how to satisfy.

In frustrated desperation she bought a bag of beets, brought them home and carefully washed and peeled them as she prepared to make beet jam.

The blue blood red that stained her hands and washed down the drain brought frightening thoughts into her consciousness.

She held the sharp paring knife, gently drew it across her wrist, tentatively reversed it to a vertical position and knew that with one swift movement, her own blood would join that of the beets in her sink.

She was sorely tempted. It was not the first time she’d thought about ending her life.

She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and prayed it would be the last.

Ginny had flirted with living on the wild side many times over the years. 

She greatly envied the feral cats that roamed the alleys of her neighbourhood home.

Her innermost self, that unbroken, unbridled place, longed to join the wild ones as they scoured the garbage cans for bits and pieces of nourishment. 

One of her secret longings was at the same time a deep fear; she dreamt of joining with other women who had tipped the scales and gone to the ‘other’ side’. She would encounter these women on the streets, ragged, dirty, smelly and unkempt, all their belongings packed in a stolen shopping cart, or some other mode of storage with wheels. Her surface reaction was concerned pity, however not far below the surface was a certain envy for the freedom of this lifestyle. She longed to be so unchained that little mattered save where her next meal was coming from and where she might lay her head for the night.

Much to Ginny’s chagrin, she understood that she had lived the life of a rathered pampered cat. 

She was often quite puzzled by her lifestyle of, relatively speaking, opulence. 

It’s burden created an imposition that had caused many problems over the course of her lifetime. 

In the beginning Ginny’s life seemed to have been blessed.

She was conceived several months after the marriage of two young people who were very much in love. 

Her mother and father had moved in with her maternal grandparents on their small farm. They began saving money for their own place and were delighted and thrilled in their anticipation of Ginny’s arrival.

Ginny’s mother was an only child and extremely close to her own mother. They shared a bond that went deep and gulfed trials and tribulations known to few.

During the seventh month of her pregnancy, Ginny's mother received devastating news.

Precisely, two months before the day her mother pushed her out into the cold cruel world, Ginny’s maternal grandmother died.

Her first conscious memory was of waking up to an electric shock.

She had been sleeping peacefully inside her mother when the news came.

Her mother’s reaction released a deluge of toxic neurotransmitters. These chemicals, pumped through the umbilical cord, felt like a 220 volt lightning bolt.

Within the span of seconds, Ginny’s world dropped into a deep state of grief. 

She had been called by the spirits and haunts that trip the light fandango and dance across other realms with ease.

With little comprehension of what happened, Ginny absorbed the spirit of her grandmother, who at forty-seven, was not really prepared to leave this earthly realm.

She was even named after this woman. The confusion of where Ginny began and her grandmother’s residence in her psyche intersected, often perplexed those around her.

She seemed to know things that no child should know. She took on responsibilities that no child should have to shoulder and it was often blurry as to who was the mother and who was the child.

Ginny’s mother did the best she could, but was simply unable to cope with the grief that overwhelmed her every waking moment and haunted the landscape of most of her dreams.

Her parents had been alcoholics and though this greatly affected her life, she rarely spoke of it and downplayed any reference to the reality that had been her childhood. She had been well trained in the art of keeping silent and her parents drinking was a carefully guarded secret.

Ginny’s father, the youngest of thirteen children, was, to put it simply, a spoilt brat.

He had curly blonde hair, big blue eyes and was doted on by his older sisters.

Their mother had died when Ginny's father was two and the father, a rather strict, grumpy man of sixty was unable to raise the children left at home on his own.

Ginny’s father and the next few siblings were farmed out to various and sundry relatives. His existence had been one of some sadness, in spite of his happy go lucky nature.

Finding Ginny’s grandparents was an amazing connection for him and he simply adored them, as they seemed to provide that which had been sorely missing from his life.

He also was deeply affected by the death of his mother-in-law and did his best to pick up the pieces in a house haunted by loss and grief.

As Ginny grew older she began to reconcile what seemed impossible. She began to understand more fully how the tragedy of death had shaped and molded her own life and in her forties began the process of letting her grandmother go.

It took many years of hard work to separate what belonged to her and what she empathetically absorbed from those around her.

She valiantly fought this uphill battle, and for the most part survived, emerging a little stronger each time.

Then there were those days that found her at the sink, contemplating the sweet release of turning the knife against herself.

She knew that suicide was not really an option. Thankfully the dark clouds of unhappiness had become less and less frequent. Her days became filled with many bright spots of hope. She clung to these moments, slowly building a foundation that would end her internal war.

She closed her eyes and before her, in the darkness of her blindness, appeared these words: “God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Ginny opened her eyes and felt a deep appreciation for the comfort of this vision. She put the knife in the drawer, wiped her hands and joyfully began her next twenty-four hours.


More on the nature of family secrets:

“A Family Secret is a secret kept within a family. Most families have them, the nature and importance vary. They can be shared by the whole family or kept by an individual member. They can relate to taboo topics, rule violations or complex issues such as homosexuality, adultery,infidelity, divorce, mental illness; crime such as rape or murder; physical or psychological abuse, child sexual abuse; human sexual behavior like premarital pregnancy or teenage pregnancy; substance abuse including alcoholism. More simple secrets may be personality conflicts, death, religion, academic performance and physical health problems. Any topic that a family member thinks may cause anxiety may become a family secret. Family members often perceive keeping the secrets as important to keeping the family working, but over time the secrets can increase the anxiety in the family.The confidentiality of family secrets revealed by a patient is a common ethical dilemma for counselors and therapists.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

July 16, 2021 00:21

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