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She

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A modern-day Cinderella

Slight in build, half-starved. "She" ordered me to wash the dishes. If I answered back, "She" would pull my hair and yell at me.

I fetched the kitchen chair so that I would be able to reach the old enamel, chipped sink.

I remember feeling sad, feeling afraid. "She" scared me, made me shrink, small. 

I was only ten.

The soapy water felt warm, soothing, comforting. I started to daydream. I was far away, in a balloon, watching the house of pain disappear. I felt the warm breeze upon my face and the wind in my hair. I felt light, happy.

I stepped off the chair, remembering my task. I began drying the dishes. Crash! I dropped a cup. It had slipped away from my tiny soapy hands. 

I was only ten.

Suddenly, into the kitchen "She" came. Her face was set into a scowl of hatred, her face red with rage. I knew she would start yelling at me, calling me her favorite name, "Little Brown Bastard." (My skin tanned very easily.)

It was always very easy to blame me for most things that happened in the family.

I was only ten.

I knew the beating would come, I would be beaten by her big hand. "She" always used the same hand to beat me. It was stronger than her left; she had broken her left arm when she was young and it had not healed as it should have.

Then it came... The battering, my hair being pulled. I cried out in pain.

I was only ten.

Suddenly, she stopped beating me and cried out in pain, bending down she started to hit out at the object that had caused her to cry out. Fred! Our half- starved tiny white poodle had nipped her on the ankle. She turned her rage upon him, ignoring me. Fred's lead always hung up on the hook on the kitchen wall. His lead became her "Tool of Torture." I watched helpless as "She" beat him without remorse. I cried for him, I was helpless.

I was only ten.

Fred yelped in pain. I felt each blow for him. I wanted her to stop beating him and beat me instead.

"She" beat Fred until he rolled over and showed submission. "Don't you go near him," she yelled, "or you will get another one." (Meaning another beating)

I was only ten.

"She" left the room. I went to Fred and cuddled him and I cried. I kissed him. His tiny body trembled. Fred licked me, whimpering. I sat on the floor of the kitchen, my arms around him, trying to comfort him.

I knew then, that the Fred's presence in the house was temporary. "She" would have her revenge.

Several days later, Fred's previous owner came to claim him. "She" had claimed Fred had bitten her for no reason. I remember how angry the lady was, when she saw the terrible state of Fred. I knew I was going to lose my brave little friend.

I was only ten.

The lady took hold of Fred and led him away. How I wished she would take me as well. I felt happy for him though. I knew Fred would be loved and cared for. He would have the life he deserved. He was free from "She." 

As I watched him being led away, Fred suddenly looked back, briefly. In my childish thoughts he seemed to say, "I don't want to leave you."

I was only ten.

Fifty years have passed by... Fred, of course, is long gone. I shall never forget the bravery of my brave, tiny, half-starved dog.

I miss you and will always love you. Dear "Little Friend."

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