I so desperately want to hold on to any remnant of happiness and functionality this family has to offer that I have developed a somewhat romantic timeline in my head that begins in a fictional era dubbed “pre-abuse “
I used to tell my kids that monsters weren't real. They would be afraid of the shadow in the closet, or the creaking tree outside the window, or the tap-tap sound coming from the bathroom. Monsters, they'd claim. But I was able to convince them otherwise - usually by simply exposing what was actually there. There's no such thing as monsters, I'd tell them, we are safe.
This is the place I go to, over and over. The path behind me is overgrown and eroded; I know better than to take more than a couple steps in that direction. But the path splits where I stand, and I can't move forward without making a choice.