Chapter 2

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Stay soft. Do not let things that have hurt you turn you into something you are not.
Most kids might wake up to the smell of fresh muffins in the morning, or the sun shining down illuminating the fact they were up far too late playing or texting with their friends. However this morning I wake up to bouncing on my bed that makes it feel as if I am in a wave pool, a screaming two year olds, and pain in my ribs that makes it feel as if my side is burning off.

I look over and see Cameron smiling at me, showcasing his dimples. "Sissy your hair is so messy!" He manages to get out between giggles.
"Hey! Yours does too, you look like you got beat up by your pillow." I accuse in a teasing manner, while fake pouting.
Cameron burst out laughing and I can't help smiling when I see him so happy. I look over to the clock and see that it is only 5;47 and we don't have to be up until 8.
"Hey Cam why don't we snuggle and go back to sleep?"

He thinks on it for a minute, stroking his chin as if contemplating the biggest decision in the world. Finally he comes to his decision. "Okay but can you sing to me?"

"Yeah buddy, what do you want me to sing?"

"Sunshine!" He yells while doing a sun motion with his hands. I shouldn't be surprised by this, it't his favorite song and he asks me to sing it to him almost every night before he goes to sleep. I don't mind doing it because it is one of my favorite songs to sing. I grab Cameron despite the protest in my ribs and let him snuggle into my side. When he gets comfortable I run my fingers through his hair with one hand, and rub his back with the other. After a minute, I start singing and lose myself in the song.

The other night dear, as I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
But when I awoke, dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cried.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away
I'll always love you and make you happy,
If you will only say the same.
But if you leave me and love another,
You'll regret it all some day:
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away
You told me once, dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between.
But not you've left me and love another;
You have shattered all of my dreams:
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away
In all my dreams, dear, you seem to leave me
When I awake my poor heart pains.
So when you come back and make me happy
I'll forgive you dear, I'll take all the blame.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.

When I open my eyes I see that Cam has fallen asleep and is snoring slightly. I have absolutely no clue if I do snore, but I really hope not. I try to close my eyes to sleep once more but the stress of the past few days catches up to me and I can't clear my head of thoughts.

One week ago it was announced that we were moving to Charleston, South Carolina. I have no clue as to why but that is what mother said. She also said it would be the last move we ever make. That meant I had 5 days to pack the entire house up, which was not an easy task but I somehow managed. The drive down here had been awful. I had to drive the whole way and we only stopped 2 times over the course of 14 hours. Mother and I were okay but Cameron and Lily were struggling. They're kids, they aren't meant to be sitting that long in a car without food, a bathroom, or even entertainment. We arrived yesterday, and today the moving truck is coming with all of our stuff. My to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer at this point. Tomorrow I have to go sign myself up for classes at Ashley Waters. I also have to find a daycare for the kids. Today my main focus is to get everything unloaded and unpacked, go to the store and get groceries. It doesn't seem like a lot of stuff to do but when you have 2 kids under 5, this can take all day.

Deciding there is no way I can go back to sleep, I pry Cameron off me and maneuver my way slowly off the bed. I walk down the hallway and  take a chance by poking my head into mothers room. I slowly open the door and pray that she is still asleep so that I can be in peace until her alarm goes off. To my luck she is knocked out. You can tell she hasn't washed her hair in days by the greasy look of it. Even though we only got here yesterday her room is already a mess. Bed sheets are strewn across the room and evidence of last nights takeout is on the floor. I sigh and walk out of the room. I always make sure the house is clean except for her room. If she would like to live like that then it is her choice, I make sure Lily and Cameron never go in there anyways.

I walk down to Lily's door and once again slowly creak the door open before I walk in. When I walk over to her crib she is cuddles up in blankets and has a serene look on her face. I would like to think I look that at peace when I sleep, but I am sure I don't. At least when I have nightmares plaguing my sleep every night. Content that everybody is okay I head to the bathroom to take a bath. Once I undress I am painfully reminded of my past just by looking at my body in the mirror. I truly am nothing special. I'm only 5'1, and probably much skinner than I am supposed to be. My blonde hair falls down to my waist. My green eyes used to be much prettier to look at. If you saw a picture of me when I was 5 you would see bright green eyes full of hope, happiness, and content. Now at 17. Years old they are full of guilt, pain, and doubt. What a difference 12 years can make.

I allow my eyes to travel down my body and look at all my scars. This is not something I allow myself to do often because it results in me wallowing in a pit of self pity. I don't have time to pull myself out of that pit when there is plenty of things the kids need. Right now though I know that everybody is safe and sound so I continue staring at myself. I allow myself to slip into that pit even though I know how much of a struggle it will be to climb out. Mother makes sure to avoid scaring my stomach, arms, face, and lower legs. My back and thighs are fair game though. They are the hardest to look at. On my legs are reminders of nights when she would throw glass at me and the pieces would get imbedded into my legs. There were also reminders of when I would have to kneel for hours at a time on rice. There are cut marks from where mother happened to get knife happy. My back is even worse though. That is where the words that define me are carved into my back. Mother made sure I would have a constant reminder of what I truly am in case I ever need to be reminded, which is not that often anymore. There is nothing pretty or remotely unique about me. Sure I have curves, but would never show them off in fear of what my mother or even other people would say.

I look over to my bath and realize it is full. I turn off the water and slowly sink into the tub. The warm water rushes over my body, and soothes all of my sore muscles. I slowly relax more and more until I am sighing in content. I only get out after I have washed every inch of my body, and my fingers have started to prune. I get dressed in loose sweatpants and a t-shirt. I brush my teeth, hair, and put deodorant on before opening the bathroom door and getting my day started officially.

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