The book A Prisoner by No Crime of My Own has been professionally edited and will be published this year. To pique interest, I will share tidbits from the manuscript with you each Tuesday.
When I was three and a half years old, I murdered a woman.
I spent the next fifty years retracing and recovering bent memories that had long been buried by the great force of denial. I went back and fought to uncover the truth that had been buried on forty acres, in a sink hole, on my parents’ property.
Returning because I too was a murderer. Although only three, I was old enough to feel the guilt when we walked out of that room alive, and she did not. Old enough to know that I now shared a secret with my father and his friend that no one else would ever know. We three would stay connected for the rest of our lives, incarcerated together with only each other as accomplices. Not a matter of speaking, but a matter of fact: I am guilty of murder just as they are.
Needing to reconstruct my past, the closer I got to it, the more the pain became real. By getting serious about exploring where I came from, I would not only be called a liar, but also be rejected by the only family I had. The closer to the truth, the deeper the cavern became between me and everything I had ever loved.
With each step I took toward my story, no love would wait for me. No mother to meet me there to comfort or soothe. No father to lay me down with a soft blanket at the end of a long day and tell me to rest now because I’d done a good job.
If I didn’t honor myself by returning to my past, and bringing vindication where possible, I would have been left abandoned. Not by them, I would have abandoned myself. I had to force myself to remember me. Everything told me to stop seeking, stop turning over rocks. “Learn to live,” they would tell me. Didn’t they see that’s exactly what I was doing? My goals to uncover my past made other people extremely uncomfortable. No one liked hearing my story. Not just my family, but friends, acquaintances, and all the rest who happened along during the years. Uncovering my past was a way out of the forest of abandonment. Trees of denial and thickets of shame kept me hidden in darkness.