I was walking underneath the pier with my family whe I glanced at this magnificent spot. For some odd reason I was overwhelmed with anxiety; it felt as though the raging waters would swallow me any second, and yet, I felt strong. I stood there. I did not move, not because I could not move, but because I CHOSE not to move. 

I found a hidden strength. 

Where is your focus?

The Eighth Piece: Uncle #2 (Trigger Warning)


Charismatic, confident, friendly, and any other word or phrase that will describe a person in the most postitive sense; all three of my predator blended in, without a hint of suspicion, and my fourth predator was no different. 

 My uncle L immigrated from his home country to the USA and was introduced into the family when I was around 10 years old. My aunt thought he would flourish if he lived with us since my father had a successful small business and our economical status was better than the poverty line. My mother, without hesitation, agreed to take him in. I was surprised how my mother loved to take opportunities that would increase her reputation as being a “good woman” which she was by the way. The conundrum was figuring out whether she did it out of good will or advertisement. My mother was a strange one, but through the years I was able to turn this puzzle into an exciting game, very similar to I Spy. 

My uncle was a tall, very good looking, young man. He was polite, friendly, and conservative, but what stood the most was his smile. A similarity that I found with all my predators was the power they had behind their smile. To me, everytime they smiled, a shield formed because I knew who they really were on the inside. To others, their shield disintergrate and an automatic illusion begin to play. They were swept by the innocence of their smile and they lacked the vision of truth. 

I rarely talked to my uncle. The truth is I tried to keep my distance from him like I did with other men. I did not want to give him the wrong signal since I was convinced that something was wrong with me to cause the men in my family to act as they did. So, I kept my distance. I continued basic, everyday, conversations. Even though, my father continued with his routines, I was proud of myself, because i felt like I had control of at least a small part of my life…

Sadly, after everything that has occurred, I couldn’t learn my lesson: happiness is non existent. 

My small episode of self empowerment ended one night when my uncle opened the door to my room. 

“Psst. Psst. J. Pssssttt.” A very silent, but growling whisper awoke me. I scratched my eyes and looked towards my door and saw my uncle. He smiled a wicked smile and gestured a condom, swinging it back and forth. He jerked his head, telling me ‘it was time.’

My body quickly picked it self up and I began to walk behind him. 

Feet. Stop moving. Why are you walking? 

Go back. Go back. 

We walked to the living room and I quickly layed on the couch. I did not question the situation. I did what I knew best. To please. 

I layed down and he slowly pulled down my pajamas pants and panties, ripping the condom wrapper with his teeth. 

My body and mind were not intact. As he was preparing himself, something clicked within me.


  I jumped off the couch, pulling my pants up and ran to me room. I quickly closed the door and locked it, slowly walking backwards to my bed. My breathing was deep and silent; I couldn’t wake up my sister. I layed down on my bed and pulled the covers over my head. The tears rushed down. I couldn’t stop them. I was overwhelmed with disgust.

Why did you walk over there?

You’re disgusting. 

What is wrong with you?

 I continued the thoughts of self neglect through the whole night. I didn’t sleep. The following morning I found my composure and walked to the kitchen as if last night never occured. My uncle sat on the table and did the same. He glanced over to me, smiled, and looked away.

 My uncle didn’t last long with us after that. About a month later he decided to go live with his mother, my aunt. He said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you all. Thank you for everything.” As quickly as he was welcomed into our home, he left it. 

My life continued as it did after that. My father continued his daily routines. My mother was oblivious. My siblings were saved from the harsh truth. Everyday was the same. 

 The only new question that arose was Why did he do what he did? It’s as if he knew I would walk to him, no questions asked and do what he wanted. This new question brought back an unpleasant memory of my childhood. 

 Our family had one of their common family gathering parties. Everything was cheery, joyful, and alive. My father, uncles, family friends were obviously intoxicated. I was about 8 years old. My father made his way towards me and grabbed my hand. He walked me where my uncles and family friends were gathered and sat me on his lap. He began to pridefully, compliment on my beauty. He sat me in the middle where I was sorrouded by all the men. I did not like it. I felt trapped. I felt exposed. I could only focused on all the men smiling down at me. One by one; each one smiling at me. 

It was feeding time and I was the main dish. 

I was able to sneak past everyone and hide in a corner. Hide from the perverted eyes. Hide. 

That new question. That lost memory. That new incident with my uncle. 

I was convinced that my goal in reaching the status of being a normal girl would never arrive.

 I was a sex toy. 

 I was a puppet.

 I was nothing. 

                                                                 Alone I stand.



I watch him sleep. 

Eyes closed.

His breathing pattern, the sound of a lullaby.

I lift my finger and slowly trace his lips.

 The hair follicles on his chin, slightly twisting them around my finger. 

I trace the curves of his broad chest.

I bring my hand to his hair, his waves identifying to the waves of the ocean. 

He twitches. 

I smile. Happiness. 

I wake up and turn my head. 

He’s not there. 

I look up and watch the popcorn textures dance around my ceiling.

What is this feeling?

Come back my sweet love.

I am in the mist. 

I am waiting for my light.



 I was never fond being by myself, wether it was sleeping alone or being home alone, especially since I became accustomed in having my protection; my husband. I always had and have this fear that being alone means that you are exposing your vulnerability, especially since everytime I was alone i was being abused in some ways, so I tried any means possible to never be alone. 

 After my predators were physically away and my mother  was forced to start anew, I still chose to sleep with my mother in the same bed. I refused to walk nights, even in our apartment. I was afraid. Fear was my friend; it protected me from the evil eyes hiding in the dark, but it  could not protect my mind from projecting images and echoing noises; the night was scary. During the day,  I was able to continue life, but I was always self aware. Every movement and every look was an attack and I had to be in self defense…all the time.

 Now, that my husband is out of town for work, my anxiety keeps me up at nights. I will not lie, I am afraid. Afraid that if I close my eyes I will be exposed. I make sure everything is locked, secure, and safe. 

 My husband thinks I am doing well. He know i fear the dark. He knows my mind travels many paths to prevent me from knowing the sense of tranquility, but I utter the words  I’m doing good. Don’t worry with a smile,  so his mind can be worry free. 

 And I am okay… 

 I will be okay…

 I have to be okay…



Tick. Tock. 

Time walks forward. 

Why am I not moving? 


Eyes on me; stripping me naked. 


Whispers in the air…

They know…they know about me. 


Stop it. 

Tick. Tock. 

Stop it. Stop moving… Time, stop moving. 

Be still.

Like me. 

I’ve ran out of places to hide. Where to?

Here? There?


Don’t you see? 

I’m on the verge of exploding.


The seventh Piece: The  Confession (Trigger Warning)


 Trust is like a plant. Nurture and love will give it life. Neglect will give it death. 


 I was sitting on our antique dinner chair facing my mother, father, and my uncle who stood next to my father.

I don’t remember how we all gathered. I assume I told my mother if we could all speak. For some reason, that part was left out within my perplexed memories. 

My mother had a baffled expression. My father was still and calm. My uncle’s nerves were protruding through the sweat rushing down his neck. 

I spoke before my voice was chained by fear and anxiousness, “M-Mom…he touched me.” 

My mother’s eyes looked like they were about to jump out and land on me. She turned her head and  looked at my uncle, “Did you touch her?” Not an ounce of shock, surprise, or concern in her tone; the complete opposite of her expression earlier. 

He gave me a malicious stare, as though his eyes were telling me she will never believe you.

 “I never touched her.” He answered in a simple sentence. 

 My vision was a blur. My hands trembled. I started to scratch the top of my thumb nail. I was nervous.

My mother looked at me. Everyones’ eyes were on me. 

“He didn’t touch you. You see. Come on. Let’s go.” My mother turned her back and left. They all turned their back and left. I sat on that chair. I stared at the kitchen tiles underneath my feet. She didn’t believe me.

All the emotions I was feeling, slowly dissipitated. I couldn’t feel anything. She didn’t believe me.

I remember walking to my room and sitting on my bed. Why didn’t she believe me? Did I make it up? Is it okay that he did this to me? Is it right?  The questions continued pouring and an answer was never found. My uncle continued his frequent visits. He continued looking at me… smiling at me. The one good thing is that he never touched me after that. I assumed he was scared, but his distant gestures made me doubt that. 

Every day after that continued as usual; my father’s abuse, my facade, my uncle’s distant perverted gestures…nothing changed, except one.

 I lost something, something that children hold very dear, even adults…a mother’s trust.

The Sixth Piece: My Uncle (Trigger Warning)


 It didn’t take long to get used to faking a smile or laugh. I’ve forgotten how it feels to be happy. How it feels to smile without a centimeter of sadness or shame. I was able to fool everyone around me. I applauded myself for that small accomplishment
 My uncle, my mother’s brother, was a short, slightly thin man who had the most vivacious personality. He could walk in the room with a huge smile and everyone would lighten up. I admired his strength and his love towards his dying wife. 

She was diagnosed with cancer and her death was well predicted by herself and everyone around her. She would make multiple visits to the hospital and with each visit, her life expenctancy slowly decreased. Her long, wavy, black hair was completely gone; she would wrap her head with a colorful head wrap. Her caramel-like skin drastically lost its color; transforming into a pale-like tone. Dark, purple circles dwelled under her eyes. Her lips chipped, cracked and dried. Her life was slowly slipping from her grasp, and she still smiled everytime I saw her. She still forced herself to function, even though death was waiting, she embraced life as if every day was her last. 

The days that my uncle’s wife spent at the hospital, he would spend it with us. 

I convinced myself that he was lonely without her. Who wouldn’t be? Seeing someone slowly die in front of you isn’t something easy. 

My uncle and my father would spent hours talking and laughing. Every now and then, during their talks, my uncle would glance over to me and smile. His smile was different during those three second. I was overwhelmed with the same feelings when I saw my grandfather smile at me. 

One day during spring time, my uncle came over and knocked on our front door. My parents walked outside and greeted him. I followed them and heard my uncle ask my mother if I could accompany him to the hospital since he needed an English translator. In my mind, I thought it was a bit odd since they have bilingual employees in the hospital. My mother gave a quick response, “Yeah. Sure! ” She looked down at me and smiled. I janked my mother’s arm and shook my head, rejecting her response, “I don’t want to.” I grabbed on to the end of my light blue dress. 

 That day I chose to wear my favorite light blue, power puff girl dress. I fell in love with that dress, mainly because it had my favorite cartoon characters; Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. The dress had two thin straps that folded over my shoulders and small flares at the bottom. With the Texas heat boiling us alive, the dress kept me cool and fashionable at the same time. 

Sunny days.

 My mother stared at me and her look was enough to tell me that I was going. I walked towards my uncle’s black, four door truck. He grabbed my waist and helped me get on the back seat of the truck. I will never forget the smile he gave me as ge closed the door. I latched my seat belt and he began to drive. It took about thirty minutes to arrive to the hospital. My uncle decided to park away from other vehicles. I took of my seat belt and placed my hand on the door latch. My uncle turned off the car and looked at me, “Wait. Not yet.” He climbed over the seat and sat next to me. He places his hand on my thigh and smiled, “Let’s play a game. Don’t tell anyone. It’s between you and me.” 

More secrets.

My heart sunk. I couldn’t decide whether I should do as he said or run out the door. Before I could come up with some sort of logical reasoning, my body moved on its own. My uncle was already on top of me. His pants down to his knees and my panties completely removed. I squeezed my dress as he pushed and groaned. The Texas heat was becoming overwhelming. It was hard to breath. I couldn’t think of anything, except one thing I should have worn jeans.

 When he finished with me, he pull up his pants and climbed over the seat. He buckled his belt, inserted the keys in the ignition and started the engine. “Hurry up and get dressed.” My body slowly moved. My legs couldn’t stop shaking. I found my panties on the floor. As I was picking it up, I noticed my hand trembling. My vision blurred. I had to fight back the tears and so I did. I slid my panties on, fixed my dress, and tamed my frizzy, curly hair. Instead of visiting his wife, my uncle drove away. I buckled my belt and this strange thought devoured me as I saw the hospital disappear behind us His wife. How could I do that to her? I’m disgusting. 

 My uncle drove me back to the house. My mother helped me get down, but I almost collapsed as soon as my legs touched the concrete floor.

 My legs were still shaking. “Are you okay mija?” My mother rubbed my arms, her worried eyes tore me inside.

 “Yeah. I think my legs fell asleep.” I pulled myself together and jumped up and down. 

She smiled and hugged me, “I’m so proud of you. You know your aunt is happy that you are helping.” I smiled and ran inside.

 I ran to my room. I couldn’t scream on the pillows or sheets. The images of my father almost made me gag. I stood in front of my door. I looked at my tiny hands and my trembling legs. I didn’t feel like a normal eight year old girl. I felt dirty. 

 The night quickly replaced the day. I realized I was still in my room. I didn’t wan to eat. I didn’t want be around anyone. 

I can’t add another mask to my collection. 

 I had one more dreadful encounter with my uncle after that first day. He used the same routine as last time and I was forced to agree. They didn’t know what was happening. My mother was ignorant. Oblivious. 

I wonder…did my father know? Was he the one who told my uncle? 

I couldn’t bare the silence. I couldn’t handle the filth that devoured my body. Disgusting. 

So, I decided to confess. 

Confess my secret. To break the silence.