Families Who Hide Their Secrets Well

The smiling mother holds a pie, behind the picture; the crust has burned, happiness is brittle,

I don’t dare set foot in Northeast alone, even then I am always on guard—always looking over one shoulder. My children and I have fled our 1940’s bungalow on street lined with shady trees, running for our lives after I was attacked by their father and now we are homeless. We are one of the blips on the 2nd Precinct crime maps; fuzzy circles pinpointing assaults and domestic incidents in Northeast that indicate something terrible happened, but so often are ignored. Ignored even by families like mine, who hide their secrets well, taking great efforts to portray a Norman Rockwell dream. The smiling mother holds a pie, behind the picture; the crust has burned, happiness is brittle, breaking. The stern father holds a newspaper, his feet propped on a plush stool. Behind the picture, he has thrown the newspaper down, swearing at his trembling family. The family will learn to fear the building tension. It becomes automatic to please him, to learn to serve. Secrets are decorated with bows and ribbons hung in the windows of small bungalows on tree lined streets.

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