A Present for My Mom
I'd met Nurse Nancy just before Halloween, when my second-grade teacher took me by the hand and led me to her office. In the other hand, my teacher carried the paddle mom had sent to school to be used when I caused a problem. And so my teacher and nurse became the only adults to see the welts, bruises, and cuts inflicted by a variety of weapons on my chubby little body.
At school, they kept my secret, but the punishments lessened at home. And I told Nurse Nancy, but no one else, what I wanted to give my mom for Christmas.
The night of the party, mom dressed me in a pretty green-and-red dress, one of the hand-me-downs from Andrea's family. I was going to meet the real Santa! Since this was a church event, I knew they wouldn't allow a fake.
Mom didn't want to come, so she sent me and Terri with her friend PJ. We arrived along with Sara and her girls at dusk and walked through a fresh layer of snow in the parking lot to St. Francis of Assisi church.