she sits silent

by Elouise

she sits silent
focused and determined
not to eat

A Short Story

Suppertime, early in the 1950s
Sister #3 sits in her high chair
She hasn’t finished what’s on her plate
Everyone else is ready for dessert

No dessert until you finish what’s on your plate!
She says nothing, does nothing
Expressionless, she looks straight ahead
Out the window at the other end of the table

Father takes control:  Mother, serve dessert
We eat dessert in front of Sister #3
She doesn’t move a muscle
We finish dessert in front of Sister #3

Father takes control:  Leave the table if you’re finished
He sits, waiting for Daughter #3 to finish her supper
Silence. . . time passes. . . no progress
Sister #2 and I peek from the kitchen, willing her to comply

Time for bed
Still no response, no tears, nothing
Father takes control:  Mother, put the food in the refrigerator
We all go to bed and sleep

Next morning the leftover food is Sister #3’s breakfast
We eat our breakfast in front of her
She sits silent, focused and determined
She will not eat this food

Ditto for lunch
Sisterly pleas for mercy fall on deaf ears

Suppertime again; Mother is concerned
Father takes control:  Mother, dispose of the remnant
He dishes up Daughter #3’s supper along with ours
She picks up her fork and eats

* * * * *

This family story flew into my head a few days ago.  It got me thinking.  I had a burst of insight and decided to follow through.

I hereby honor
Sister #3’s amazing courage and determination,
and repudiate publicly and joyfully
a noxious label
my father gave me early in life.
Take a look right

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 January 2014