Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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three hugs

I cannot remember that my mother hugged me
in her presence my body filled with fear—became paralyzed
I did not like how she smelled—somehow morbid as if dead
stiffly we kissed each other on our cheeks to say hello
keeping a distinct and formal distance
I remember the same distant hello and goodbye formality
with my father too when he—a very tall man
bent down to lend his cheek to be kissed

I know that Hotto allowed closeness and hugged me
and there are three hugs with my father that I do remember
the first happened after my car accident
when my father came and took me into his arms—without blame
simply holding and protecting me—I cry thinking about it

at my first wedding he sang poems he had written for me
while he showed slides of photos of my childhood
he started to cry, then I cried too—and we embraced each other

the third one I remember happened when I made an attempt
shortly before my return to Germany
to talk more openly and honestly with my parents about myself
my mother got increasingly hostile and attacked me
while he said—but, darling
the child only needs to talk and get it off her chest
whereupon I began to cry and my father hugged and held me while my mother left the room

when I left their house I started to cry
and cried through the night
suicidal thoughts tormented me as I realized
that I would never have
an open and honest relationship with my parents

© Barbara Rogers

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