Carrie posted an article written by a woman telling her story of being a battered woman. I thought about --- and Mike, how he hit her, how we told her after that fourth of July when he’d been wasted and punched her for the first time that she had to leave him, that she had to to end it, and then she didn’t, how she rationalized it as his being too intoxicated, how then some days or weeks or months later he hit her again, as we’d known he would. I think about --- showing up to the hike to spread our father’s ashes with large, dark sunglasses hiding the bruises on her eyes. I think about the explosive fights they had, screaming at each other with fury, about the transformation into a saccharine and loving couple afterwards. I think about the time they came for a visit in Danville, about how neither me nor my --- nor --- took Mike by his collar and threw him out of the house as we should have, how we didn’t tell him to get fucking lost and never come in any of our lives again, that he wasn’t welcome. I think about the time I woke and was in a sleepy trance and heard --- crying and pleading. Later in the morning I realized what had occurred. And since then I’ve cursed myself for not going into the room at that second and kicking him out and holding --- and telling her that she is precious and worth so much more than that. I think about how much --- has suffered and continued to suffer, how trapped she is inside walls and layers of the mistakes she’s made and the sadness and misery inside and outside her. I wonder what she feels and thinks when she looks back on the money she stole from my father, on the times that Mike hit her, on the the time he screamed at her in the yard, “You killed your father!” I think about how imperfect and fucked up I am myself, how many terrible things I've done, how ridiculous I feel observing and commenting on the suffering of others, about how much it hurts and terrifies to let it out and be honest with myself and the world.