You were fourteen when you watched your mother take her dying breath. Such a young age to see death so close, to hold it in your hands, to feel so much and then, to feel nothing at all.
And for some reason, you refused to cry. Could've been so that Maisie saw you as someone she could still depend on; if fourteen was a heartbreaking age to feel alone, then nine must've been even worse. But part of you wonders if it's just a part of who you are: an ego, a pride. You feel for those in need, sure, even got a job working in an orphanage so no other kids had to endure the treatment you and your younger sister faced for four years. But you carry your hatred as if it were a weapon: sharpened steel and clenched teeth. For the people who take, you vowed to always be there to take back. For the people who hurt, you vowed to always hurt more. And at the center of this is a father who never cared enough to stay longer than a night when it was convenient; he stayed long enough to make two children he never planned on taking care of. And though you don't remember his face, you like to imagine it sometimes.
Before, and after.
How it must look now, smug, oblivious to what is coming.