I always wondered why you beat my sister so much more than me. When you hit me, it was a single head-spinning bear-paw slap across the head when I irritated you – or something did, and I just happened to get in the way. I was nothing to you; no love, no hate, I was just there. In your way. But when you beat Kiki it was always different. There was hatred. Every night she and I watched, waiting as you let loose the caged bear with booze. You would pace, muttering, with each drink coaxing that bear to come out of hibernation. And then, our hearts would freeze as you finally looked up, glaring balefully, noticing us for the first time. The bear was here. Kiki would cower in her bedroom, in hopes you would forget her. But you never did. You sought her out, on some vaguely imagined insult or slight, and beat her till she was a cringing whimpering, helpless pile in the closet. I always wondered why her, more than me. Until the day you told me: “You will get further in life. You are pale skinned. Blond haired, blue eyed people rule this world, they are the top of the pyramid, and you have those things. Not like her,” he jerks his head in contempt and hatred at the bedroom where my beautiful raven-haired sister has hidden, waiting, hoping somehow this time it will be different. “She is lower on the pyramid and will get nowhere in life.” I knew then that you were filled with disgust and loathing for this dark child that you had created, from your blood, your roots, carefully hidden and buried in lies until Kiki emerged to show the truth. The little Indian changeling-child who reminded you each day that your lies will not lie buried forever. I learned to hate my pale skin, blond hair and blue-green wolf eyes. They bring me such shame. And I, poor spider, am forever caught in the bitterroot web of your hidden half-blood lie.
Bio: Leslie Gentile is a freelance writer and singer-songwriter living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. She writes music reviews, articles on musicians and current events, as well as fiction and poetry. Her home is littered with scraps of paper with jottings: grocery bills, flyers, notepads, yes, and even the cliché bar coasters hold the germs of stories, poems and song lyrics. She is married, has three grown children and one granddaughter, and lives with her husband Dan, Hudson the German Shepherd, and Oscar the cat.Her day jobs have included musician, riding instructor, clam shucker, music therapist, music promoter, and Education Assistant, all of which have provided her with a feast of writing ideas.