via Daily Prompt: Almost


There are so many times in my life when the toxic little word ‘almost’ has had an unprecedented impact on my life. As a small child growing up in not much more than a shack with parents who were unintentionally detached from me almost was an escape.  I was ‘almost’ set free from that miserable existence when Children’s Protective Services showed up, had I not lied about the abuse I saw my brothers endure.  Or the nights when it was so cold lying in my bed that I could see my breath hanging above my face, my entire body shuddering in agony; had I kicked off the covers and embraced the cold frigid night I would have been free. My natural instinct for survival kept me buried under my blanket and encouraged me to pull all of the clothing out of my closet to bury myself beneath the pile for precious heat.  In middle school when my best friend ran away I could have joined her, another ‘almost’.  When at fifteen my mother was cold and dead, a single gunshot to destroy any positive element of my childhood, I loathed every breath I took that she could not.  For years I hated every new experience I had, because she had none. I sat with a handful of my fathers prescription painkillers, tears running down my cheeks, that could have been the day as well, or the day I stood on the edge of a rocky precipice staring down at the ground so far below me.  I wanted to feel, I wanted to fly.  I knew that the end would be fast, but I thought of my Grandmother and I knew that she would never recover from my choice. I stepped away from the edge, with hesitation. I had almost been brave enough that day, almost. A life so riddled with poverty, pain hardship and abuse with so many opportunities to escape. I almost chose them.  Now looking back, I am so relieved that I did not, could not, follow that elusive path of almost. Even the most horrible situations in life are temporary and aging has taught me that I do have control over my life.  I do not have to be cold.  I do not have to be hungry. I do not have to be abused and mistreated. Denying myself opportunities does not create opportunities for my mother, dead so many years now. I am glad that I avoided the trap of almost.

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