The milk bottle fell in slow motion. She flung out her tiny hands but it was too late. She lost control. It poured like a stream of innocence across the kitchen table and Kitty knew she was in trouble. That was the last time her daddy hit her, always on the body where nobody could see. Sitting in the dark cupboard among the spiders she realised love is like a fire escape. It rusts out of sight and out of mind, but carries you to safety in emergencies.
Next morning in school the teacher called for the principal who called for the police. And like the little old woman who swallowed a fly, prison and showers swallowed Daddy. He sat on the bunk shaking with fear. Some prisoners scratch away the days, the weeks and years to release on their cell walls. Kitty’s dad scratched away the hours to the blade. He’d feel it one way or another. Either from behind when he least expected it, or from his own hand when it all got too much.
Kitty sympathised with the parcel in the children's party game. Home to home, family to family she was ripped apart, turned and passed around. One day the music stopped for good and the parcel found a safe pair of hands.
Nobody ever asked if the six year old had cut her own face, marked it for life. Nobody would ever think such a thing possible. They assumed her father had been careless. Most only mark the body, places where clothes hide the abuse.
Love is like a fire escape, she though after her new mum tucked her in. On the way down it’s scary but on the way up it feels like going home.