Impressions come together; memories fall apart.

My thoughts of times past break into an array of glinting raindrops as waves against hard stone. They are gone. They exist as an illusion; a shaft of light careening through my awareness that is gone again before I can rightly focus on it. It is as if my environment elludes me, forever shifting beyond my grasp, and I am left reaching for a sense of the concrete that I will never find.

Soft, translucent brown hair appears copper in the sunlight which falls through slats in dull miniblinds. Her face is alight with the glaring midafternoon sun filtering through the kitchen. Warmth shines from her widely open eyes, as she gazes at the sun directly, a sun that I have to squint my blue eyes away from; I will always have to.

        "I might one day go outside when he comes to pick you up and talk to him," her eyes dull slightly, and her staring contest with the fiery sunlight breaks suddenly.
        "I wouldn't blame you if you didn't." I stare at the coffee cup that she clutches in her hands. It is chipped, along the handle: underneath; I can barely see it.

It is anger underlying; it is anger surfacing.

I sat, scrunched; my fourteen-year-old body cowering in the face of the expected, the feared, the imminent. It came; the thunderous rolling from the ceiling overhead. I charted his progress, my eyes flying to the ceiling above as if he would somehow sweep through it; a demon hawk from the underworld that could defy any material bounds.

I heard an ominous crash in the foyer, which lay a mere 10 feet from my position. He had thrown something large and cumbersome down the stairs. I could not see it; it was there. A steady, pulsing drumming sounded his decent down the staircase. My breath caught; I was caught; I was certain of it. I felt him pause just at the entrance to the living room where I lay curled beneath the small corner table, my presence clouded by the cloth that cloaked it. However, I was not aware of any protection from his piercing gaze, so much like my own, so much more terrifying. Steps away. Motion down the hallway. He was retreating, away from me, slowly; he would return.

Future comes too soon; uncertainty is its bearer.

Her coffee cup was empty. Wordlessly, I rose to fill it.

        "I don't know what to say to him, Mom." What could I say? What could words possibly do ... now?
        "Say the truth, Lauren."

The truth.