This piece is part of a series I write occasionally called Childhood Memories where I recall a memory in story form. These pieces are short, to the point, and piercing as I process memories of emotional abuse, neglect, and fear.

It was just sitting on the kitchen table; no one around to tell me not to touch it.

How curious an object, my young mind was alert with the possibilities. How little I must have been, 7 maybe 8 – of course, I grabbed it!

Soldering irons are normally kept anywhere from 500° to 700° degrees.

I remember immediately pulling my hand to my chest and cradling it tightly with my other hand. I can hear the scream that echoed in my head; I can sense the intensity of the burning and the tears that stung the back of my eyes until they were blurry. The skin across the middle joint of my first two fingers had immediately bubbled and peeled. I remember the spike of fear in my stomach at the grotesque look of my burnt flesh, my knowledge limited regarding injury of this manner and severity, followed by the fear that I would be in trouble for touching it, to begin with.

Not a single tear hit my cheek; not a sound escaped from my lips.

My dad used to keep a small tub on the counter next to the sink with water in it for dishes to soak during the day before washing. I remember standing on my step stool with my hand in that cold, dirty, dishwater, staring out the kitchen window into the parking lot of our apartments. The water barely a comfort to the pain I felt, physically and emotionally.

I have no memory of dressing the wound, just the faint essence that eventually my dad found out and treated my hand properly.

What a dangerous world I lived in.


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