Haunting

Patty Brown
7 min readMar 4, 2022

When I was about five years old, I became aware of what cruelty looks like. My older sister, who is developmentally disabled, had gone up the street with me to play with the neighborhood friends. One girl named Marilyn took a keen interest in laughing at my sister. My sister was somewhat unaware of the nuances of this girl and the origins of her pleasure. Marilyn, out of the blue, told my sister to pull down her pants. My sister looked at her funny, but started to pull up her dress. Everyone stopped playing and the front yard grew very quiet. Marilyn was standing with one arm folded across her chest and the other holding her hand across her mouth as she tried to cover her giggles and pleasure at demeaning my sister. I ran between them and told my sister to run home. Simultaneously, I picked up a rock and sent it sailing into the air towards Marilyn. It landed with a thud on her forehead. Her giggles turned to tears, and she ran for home. With my own tears falling down my cheeks, I took off after my sister. My mother met me at the door wondering what happened. I spilled out the story as I was gasping for air while sobbing. My mom took me in her arms and told me how proud she was of me for standing up for my sister, Janie. She then explained that I would have to learn not to choose rocks, but to choose words instead the next time something like this happened. I told her in a quivering voice that I would. I had to go to Marilyn’s house to apologize while…

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Patty Brown

If life steers you into a dead end road, and you are trying to find your way, skip the GPS, take the road with no traffic. Founder studiO, early morning poet.