Welcome to the 2nd Annual Artemis Rising, a celebration of women and non-binary authors.
By Victorya Chase
“Riley’s a Godsend, isn’t she?” Lily asked.
We were standing in the doorway of our daughter, Absidee’s, bedroom watching her sleep. She started to stir, face contorting in the fear of a nightmare surfacing, when Riley put a glowing paw up and patted her on the cheek. Her face immediately softened.
I sighed. How was it that Riley could do what I couldn’t?
Four years ago I gave birth to our daughter, a blessing and symbol of our blessing. Absidee was a fairy tale in each and every laugh and gurgle. But, a child who had nightmares so terrible she’d wake us up with her screaming even when she was too young to talk. We kept her in our bed, and still she couldn’t sleep. Absidee shouldn’t have been aware of anything terrible, not in the overprotective home of two first-time mothers.
When Absidee turned three her pediatrician warned us about the long term effects of helicopter parenting, especially with both of us hovering like news copters at a crash. Since birth she had slept with us, the crib at the end of our bed empty most nights, her screams waking me and her little body lashing out in night terrors. We conceded to her own room. This only meant that her yells echoed down the halls. At four she was lingual and no longer spoke in just the gurgling speech of babies. I heard her murmur the name from her dreams and realized my trauma was transferred through the womb; the umbilical cord a pump of memories into her tiny growing body.
I had never even told Lily the name of my abuser no matter how many times we spoke in hushed tones about the experiences I somehow survived. And suddenly it was on the lips of Absidee.