Alaska Shorts: “Secrets of My Mountain” by K.M. Perry

K.M. Perry
I tried to be a
good girl so I wouldn’t need to sit on her lap anymore. Every morning I went to
mass with my friends before attending the local parochial school with my
favorite nun who wore blue jeans when she played kickball with us at recess. I
wanted to be a nun when I grew up so I could live in a convent with my best
friends and play kickball with the children at recess next door. I asked my
favorite nun why she wore a wedding ring and she told me she was married to
God. The idea of being married to God frightened and confused me, especially
wondering how she had sex with God. I was too afraid to ask her, so I kept
quiet and decided I’d rather grow up to be a veterinarian and marry a rock
When the priest
placed the communion wafer on my tongue every morning, I tried to plead to him
with my eyes to help me. I hoped the priest would tell God how dedicated I was
in going to mass every day. He would find me worthy of being rescued and send
someone who would adopt me, love me, brush my hair, kiss me goodnight and tell
me I was their princess.
One morning I
was in my bedroom and she called down to me to come upstairs in the sweetest,
most syrupy sounding voice I had ever heard. I didn’t know what to expect but I
knew it wasn’t good. I walked slowly up the brown, shag carpet stairs, quietly
reciting the Lord’s Prayer in case I didn’t survive what was going to happen to
me. As I reached the top of the stairs, she had a unusual smile on her face,
while standing next to her were two tall police officers in the entry way.
 I looked up at the one smiling down at me who
sternly asked, “Is this your mother?”
I stood frozen
in time and space, wondering what the right answer was. Did they know about the
chair in the kitchen and my mountain?
I wasn’t sure
what would happen to me if I lied and answered, “No” or was the answer “No”,
even if I wasn’t the kidnapped girl they were looking for, maybe I was some
other lost girl. I was very confused.
I knew no other
way to answer this suspected trick question, so I meekly replied “Yes,” while
questioningly looking up at both of the police officers. Everyone smiled down
at me for giving the right answer.
The police
officers left and she told me to come into the kitchen and sit on her lap so
she could take a look at my arms. I couldn’t see my mountain through the clouds
so I watched the little boy I babysat once a week, next door, riding his Big
Wheel on their back patio while I wondered where I would be if I had answered,
Two weeks later
she told me the kidnapped girl’s body had been found. I wanted to know if she
looked like me and how she died but I was scared to ask. I wondered if she died
because I answered, “Yes”. No one told me it wasn’t my fault.
When I was
thirteen I decided it was time to fight for the right to choose what happened
to me. The next time she asked me to come into the kitchen I boldly told her I
wanted her to break my leg instead of having me sit on her lap.
I was tall and
in good shape from playing soccer and I had watched a boxing match more than once
on television so I knew how to fight. She told me I was being sarcastic. I
didn’t know what sarcastic meant but it didn’t sound good.
I panicked and
ran downstairs and out the back door. I ran as fast as I could through the
alley, a block away to the loving home of my best friend. Her mom seemed upset
and frustrated when I told her I was escaping. I had showed up at their house
without an invitation or permission, but she let me go upstairs and visit my
friend. She called my house and let her know where I was.
 They came together to pick me up from my
friend’s house. I had broken the cardinal rule of all abusive families.
“Never tell
anyone what goes on inside of our home.”
“You need to
learn to keep it all a secret.”
 No one had told me this rule before and now
blood was dripping from my split lip. I smiled and promised to be good as I
wiped the blood off with my shirt sleeve…
“Secrets of the Mountain” is the story of a woman who came from an abusive life and took the survival skills she learned to become an international spy with her own personal agenda.

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