At nine I watched my mother, small, frail, diminished further by my father, and the one before him. She was a stranger to me then, alien. Weak, complicit, she was of another time. Even then, I wondered why she stayed, why she didn’t get out, and later, when she did leave, why she left me behind.
At nineteen I fell in love. I found my soul mate, believed that love strengthened me. I was independent, a woman, special, empowered, loved. I was far from home, far from my mother. I left her behind.
At twenty-nine I was still so young, married, ready to have a child, optimistic that the future was bright, full of possibilities. In love, I felt supported, we were in sync, I had grown into a woman, a wife, a part of someone else. I didn’t know I had left myself behind.
At thirty-nine I left him. I had lost myself, become weak from compromising myself. The woman I had been was a stranger to me now. I wondered why I had stayed, why I didn’t leave for so long. Now I understood the fear, the pain, the frailty of the future alone. I went back to the woman I had been, and to my mother, who I had become. All those years I had lost, I left them behind.