K is for Knife
I was barely thirteen years old when Mama died and left me and Will in the care of Papa, a man who’d think nothing of shoving a dose of castor oil down my throat just so he could watch my face turn inside out. “It’s good for what ails you,” he’d say; yet, I noticed he never gave Will the same big dose. Papa didn’t say it in precise words, but he made it clear enough he wouldn’t give two hoots if all the girl babies in Chestnut Ridge, Virginia, were in the graveyard along with Mama. Of course with him being a staunch Methodist, I don’t believe Papa was capable of taking a butcher knife and slicing off heads or anything; but he surely knew how to destroy people from the inside—a sliver of spirit, a piece of pride, a chunk of heart—until one day there’s nothing left but a walking around shell to do the cooking and laundry.
It’s a roundabout story, but Papa’s blind-sightedness is the very reason Destiny Fairchild may end up in the Women’s Correctional Facility—which is a fancy way of saying penitentiary. Everybody’s life could have been a whole lot different if Mama hadn’t died before she got a chance to set things right. She was the one to tell Papa there were two sides to every story and he should have the fairness of mind to hear them all the way through. Will, bless his heart, wasn’t the least bit like Papa; nonetheless, we’d get to scrapping over something—who was smarter, who slacked on their chores, who said what and who didn’t—and that’s when Mama stepped in. She’d make us sit at the kitchen table and tell both versions of how the tussle got started. After everything was all explained, she’d generally say we should be ashamed of ourselves, fussing over such a bit of nonsense when here we were twins, born of the same seed, a brother and sister, linked together for life. More often than not, she’d dole out a punishment that involved standing in opposite corners of the room and thinking things over for a while.
Unfortunately, Destiny didn’t have Mama to see to the fairness of things before they got out of hand; besides, in her case there were three sides, hers, Elliott’s and mine. Problem is, no one’s ever heard mine—not even Judge Kensington.