2. what fresh hell is this

When I collect Dora from her fourth grade overnight camping trip, she is an exhausted, irrational mess.  She sobs the entire trip home. As I shepherd her little body toward the bath she insists she does not need, I notice the bright, bloody tiny wounds dotting her forearms and I stifle a gasp.

Jesus Mother of God.

Hold it together, I tell myself. Stay calm.

“Why do I have to take a bath!” Her blue eyes are cold, angry slits.

I ease her gently into the water.  Her anger subsides as she sinks into the warmth. She flinches when the water reaches her raw little wounds. A tsunami of nausea rises from my belly.

“I’ll be right back, honey”, I say.

“NO! You stay!” she growls, slapping the water hard enough to drench my shirt. For a moment I am too stunned to respond.

“I’m going to get some clothes to keep you nice and warm when you get out.” I am pretty sure Caillou’s mother would say this. 

But likewise I am pretty sure Caillou’s mother wouldn’t take a detour into her own closet, sink to the floor and sob directly into a pile of laundry.

Sweet Jesus Mother of God.  What territory have we entered?


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