By Linda LeMoine
PROMPT — No one noticed ...
My mind flashes a memory of a mini me. I’m about five years old and we are on our weekly drive to visit cousins. Dressed in my Sunday best after attending church, I’m admiring my green cotton jacket over my pale pink satin dress, white bonnet and black patent leather shoes. Straddled between my mother and father in the front seat where I sat each ride to contain my motion sickness, my four siblings squished in the back of the faded blue Rambler in the days of no seat belts. As we pass the Dairy Queen, we all start singing, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”
"Not now," my mother says. "After we visit."
We're on our way back home and anticipate our treat.
"Five Vanilla Cones," she says.
"But I want chocolate today," I said.
"Could I have a twist then, half chocolate, half vanilla?"
"No, Five Vanilla Cones."
"What about you and dad?" I ask.
"I don’t want one and your father can lick the melting ice cream from all of yours. By the time he’s done, it will be like one of his own," she said.
As my shoulders slumped slightly forward and my eyes cast down, I didn’t bother asking for sprinkles. I already knew the answer. I stuffed my hands into the two square pockets stitched on the outside of my zipped up mint green coat. My tiny hands balled into fists bore down heavy against the seams. If not for the hole pushing through the stitches, they would not see the light of day again. This would become my signature pose in the many photographs to come. My secret armor, my body housing restraint as the temperature steadily rose inside, ready to do battle in the years ahead.
Five vanilla cones gave birth to the silent warrior that day. No one noticed, “the quiet kid” who gathered the gift from the mother before her and stuffed it into a corner of her heart. Now she knew how to repress her feelings too.
I didn’t know it then, but the mission as the family outlier, breaking the code of silence, was about to begin.
* Photo painted by Sophia LeMoine, the author's 14 year old daughter.
Linda LeMoine has been a Professional Executive Coach and Trainer for over 25 years. Through COVID’S gift of time, she discovered writing. Linda hopes to continue inspiring a shift in consciousness through the portal of the written word. She lives on the North shore in Massachusetts with her husband, twins, and Yorkiepoo, Macy.