The Family Secret – A Story

Warning: this story contains mature topics (death, abuse). 

For many, home is a safe place; a place where you could escape all your troubles. For Stanley, it was anything but.

At only age six, the world revealed its cruelty to Stanley. In a flash, his childlike innocence was stolen and replaced with anger. Time and time again, he’d try to speak, but his tongue never allowed it. He was loyal to his father’s command. “Don’t say a word.” So he didn’t. He never said a single word. His peers feared him. His teachers couldn’t understand him. It seemed as if he were alone in his little word, and would always be.

Sometimes he’d watch his mother applying makeup to cover the scars, and he’d feel overcome with guilt. He felt useless, allowing this to happen to her over and over again. When he did fight, he was overpowered. When he didn’t, he was filled with guilt. Little did he know that he’d only been a child, and there was only so much he could do. But one day, it all came to an end. Now my mother can rest in peace, he thought. Now he’s been locked away for good.

At age twenty, he promised himself that he would never become like his father; that he would never hurt the woman he loved. Then one day, he did, and he thought he’d become the very thing he hated the most. He knew the cycle would only continue if he didn’t stop at some point. But Stanley was not like his father. He was good. He had a conscience, and that was his strength.

Finally, he decided to start therapy. At first, things went well. He acknowledged his wrongdoings and wanted to change, but again, he fell. It was almost as if his body wasn’t his own at times; as if the past would forever haunt him. He blamed therapy for its lack of efficiency, but deep down, he knew the real problem. He knew that a therapist could only guide him; that only he could really change himself.

Many called his wife a fool for her loyalty, but she loved him, and hoped that one day, this love would get through to him. But at some point, she’d had enough. She left him. Then in a flash, all the guilt, shame and regret had returned to him. He was at his lowest point, and it felt as if there was no hope left. But just then, a small voice spoke to him, trying to convince him that maybe, just maybe, there was something to live for.

Months later, he’d become a new man; a man who had forgiven his father and himself. He wanted to love again. He wanted her by his side again. He wanted to prove to her that he was different now, but it was hard. She despised him, and she no longer forgave so easily. But slowly, he worked his way back into her heart, and together, their wounds healed.

The past can be painful, but love heals all wounds. It has been a while since I wrote about something a bit on the dark side, but I feel that I must be honest in my writing. The world can be dark, but there is always hope. Sometimes, you just have to find it.

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