I. The Words of a Child You come home from school with another brilliant piece of artwork. It's a snowman created from puffs of cotton, with a felt hat and ribbon scarf. I feel each delicate section and can almost "see" the snowman.
You puff out your chest and proclaim, "I made this just for you, Mommy."The words of a child can make one proud.
I'm sick in bed, and you come to visit me. You proudly hand me a bouquet of dandelions. I know they are your favorite "flower."
You take your small hands and sign "daddy lion.
"The words of a child can cheer one up.
You watch again as your father abuses me. He pushes me hard against a wall. I crumple to the ground in a pathetic heap.You come running over and ask, "Mommy, are you okay?" The words of a child can break one's heart.
We are playing outside under your Elmo sprinkler. You try to catch drops of water on your tongue. Your father comes out to watch, and then turns away.Suddenly, you stop and say, "Daddy is bad because he hurts you."The words of a child can set one free.
II. Sunlight Just for Us We stand outside the women's shelter, waiting for the van to take us to a lawyer's office.
We stand there, hand-in-hand, in the blazing August heat.
The sun is unusually bright.I can feel the hot rays burning into my skin.
It's like a hug from the sky.This sunlight is just for us.
I bend over and kiss the top of your head.This is a sign from above.
Everything will be okay.
III. Judge in Black Robes "All rise. Court is now in session."The judge in black robes takes his place on the bench.I can neither see nor hear him.Yet, this judge in black robes will decide my fate.
I imagine the judge in black robes towering over the courtroom.He's a menacing figure, so tall and dark.In my mind, he has no face.Instead, there is an empty oval of blank flesh.This judge in black robes will decide my son's fate.
My husband takes the stand to tell his side of the story.I'm an unfit mother because I'm deaf-blind.I take the stand to tell my side of the story.I testify about years of cruelty and abuse.The judge in black robes listens to it all.
After two days, testimony is complete.
The judge in black robes takes a ten minute recess to make his decision.
Ten minutes to decide my fate...
Ten minutes to decide my son's fate.
I pray that the judge in black robes will have the wisdom to do what's right.
"All rise. Court is now in session."
The judge in black robes returns to the bench.
He begins to speak, and my heart pounds so hard I fear it might burst out of my chest.
It all comes down to this moment.
The judge in black robes delivers the verdict.
"Sole custody of the minor child to the mother.
"God bless the judge in black robes.
Angela C. OrlandoMarch, 2012