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The Day I Got My Life Back

By Tori Weston

From the outside looking in, it seemed like we were just a normal family having dinner, my stepfather placed prominently at the head of the table, my mother at the other end.

All the delicious food—chicken parmesan, green beans, and garlic bread—lined neatly in the middle. My two sisters, my brother, and I were strategically seated on either side, two on the left-hand side of my stepfather, and me and my other sibling on his right. After the platters of food were passed around, my mother pressed me to say the blessing. Losing faith in the words I mumbled, I ended with a barely audible “Amen.”

     My stepfather tore into the food on his plate, shoveling it into his mouth. While my siblings talked about school, I watched the man who preyed on me nightly consume his meal. For a moment our eyes locked, and then his pupils grew big and he opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but no words came out. I noticed the veins on the side of his neck pop out, lines of blue against caramel-colored skin. His nostrils flared open, as if they would suck all the air out of the room. His hands reached for his throat, covering the scar from his attempted suicide months earlier. I looked around to see if anyone else noticed that he was choking. They didn’t.


About the Author

Tori Weston is a writer/artist living in Somerville, MA. She is currently working on an essay collection tentatively titled Losing My Reclaimed Virginity. Her work has been published in What’s Up Magazine, The Providence Journal-Bulletin, and Sleet Magazine.