When You Were Young (Chapter 9, page 2 of 4)

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Chapter 9

"Aunt Mowwy, you cwying."

"I know, dear. I know." She dabbed at her eyes with a sleeve. "I would give anything for one more chance to tell my mama how much I love her. Do you understand now why it's so important to forgive your mama?"

"Because she could go to Heaven wike you mama?"

"That's right, dear." She stood up, turning away from the hearth. "We better get you changed and back in bed," Molly said. She carried Samantha back over to the table, changing her out of the second pair of soiled pajamas. Molly left her there for a moment, returning with a yellow nightgown. "This used to be mine when I was your age. It might be a little small."

The nightgown clung to Samantha's belly and left her bare legs exposed. At least it was better than those awful pajamas with the rubber feet. She squirmed on the table when Molly brought out a fresh diaper. "I know you don't want to wear it, dear, but you have to for now. I'll make you a deal: if you stay dry for three days you can try sleeping without it."

"OK," Samantha said. She let Molly put the diaper on. "Can I sweep in bed with you and Pwoodance?"

"Not tonight, dear. If you're a good girl tomorrow and are nice to your mama I'll talk to her about it. Maybe we can have a bed made especially for you. Would you like that?"

"Yes," Samantha said.

Molly set her into the crib, kissing her on the forehead again. "Don't worry about anything. Tomorrow everything will be fine. You'll see."

"G'night Aunt Mowwy."

"Goodnight, dear. I'll be in the next room if you need me." Molly patted Samantha on the head and then disappeared.

Samantha tried to sleep, but couldn't. She kept thinking of what Molly had said, contrasting this with what Mama Veronica had done. She should forgive Mama Veronica. After all, Mama had thrown her the bestest party ever, given her lots of great gifts, and found a pair of wonderful friends-she didn't count that stinkyhead Joey. Mama Veronica loved her, didn't she?

Samantha shivered at the memory of Mama Veronica grabbing her by the hair and screaming at her in that awful voice. That ugly, mean voice. Then came the thrashing with the frying pan. Afterwards, she remembered seeing not a look of sadness on Mama Veronica's face, but something else. Anger, yes, but more. Almost like a smile at the edges of her mouth.

Mama Veronica enjoyed beating her. She enjoyed putting Samantha into those baby pajamas and then into the crib. She said Samantha was a big girl, but she wanted to treat her like a baby forever. She was a monster and everything else just pretend like Samantha and her friends playing in the meadow.

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