Alive time. Dead time. Those were the words repeated to me by mother so often when we were young. At the end of the day when she was tucking us in, we would have to tell her what we did with our time and decide whether our day was spent more alive or dead. We began to make sure we spend our time wisely so we could be fully alive every day and not disappoint our mother. We read books. We wrote stories. We played outside. We built treehouses, forts, bankers, bird feeders, everything. We were never bored and we were never inside.
We were lucky to live on a farm with plenty of room to grow and plenty of fresh air. We always had food to eat and the freedom to run. Every summer was magical. School was even fun because it gave us fresh ideas on what our next adventure would be. We were truly alive when we lived on that farm. They were the best years of my life. That all ended the day my mother died. We never wanted for anything – love, food, freedom, imagination – but that all ended when she died of cancer. It was sudden and unexpected. She was here and two weeks later she was gone. Our father came out of nowhere, sold the house and we were sent to live with relatives in the city. I’ve been plotting revenge ever since.