As the aunt walked on she thought about how angry she was, sad also that such bad treatment was forced on an innocent child. How could anyone do such things. Bozonarciss was too young to remember but the aunt and other family members would never forget. The aunt’s blood was boiling with ire and her mind seething at all she had witnessed, but knew deep in her heart that one day, one day the truth would see the light.
As time passed the family watched over Bozonarciss and when they were concerned or worried that Bozonarciss was too frail and not being fed enough, they spoke ‘quietly and privately’ to Bozonarciss’ father and encouraged him to action. The family was limited in what they could do as they did not always have access to their brother, as Shrew had made definitely sure that access was limited. Such are the ways and means of control freaks, they cut of their victims access to family and friends, thereby lessening the control or influence that others may have over the victim! Reducing the risk of setting them free!
And so it was, when Bozonarciss was four years old, she came to be cared for during the day by another aunt. For the sake of brevity, we shall call this aunt Shine. Bozonarciss was skeleton thin and hardly eating at all. She would sit all day, with her knees and legs spread awkwardly beside her and continuously bang her head against the back of the lounge. She had been allowed to develop this habit because she was quiet, except for the noise of her head contacting the padding on the back of the lounge. In this state she was no bother to Shrew who was only too happy to allow this behaviour to continue, without thought, one might add to the health and well-being of Bozonarciss. Well we know, that repeated blows to the heads of boxers certainly produces brain damage. It is the movement of the brain within the Dura Mater (membrane enveloping the brain) that causes most of the damage, not so much the hardness of the blow. So the continuous rocking and banging of the head, back and forth, back and forth, would be having an impact (pun intended).
Bozonarciss’ family were struggling financially and Shrew was made to get a job, so she could contribute financially instead of always spending money. There was a twofold solution here, as Shrew working would improve finances and the daily care of of Bozonarciss would be given over to Shine in order to get Bozonarciss to eat and be fed properly. Bozonarciss would soon be enrolled for school and it would not do for her to go to school in the condition she was presently in. The authorities would certainly be called in and all would be exposed! The child would be taken away from her doting father. It was predominantly his care that was keeping Bozonarciss alive, after he came home from work. So Shine and Bozonarciss’ father had ‘quietly’ agreed upon this strategy, unbeknownst to Shrew. The father knew that Shrew barely fed his daughter and he himself had serious concerns for his childs health. Bozonarciss’ belly had become extended, a symptom of malnutrition, her legs were stick thin and the bones of her knees were clearly and bonily defined. Shocking in the starkness on that small frail body.
The subject of Bozonarciss’ health was a major issue in Shine’s family, and everyone from Grandma and Grandpa down, knew what was happening, for on the rare occasions that they saw Bozonarciss she did not flourish the way a growing child should. She was always under weight, was refusing to eat and then Bozonarciss would retreat to the lounge and banging of the head, instead of heading outside to play like her other cousins. The subject of Bozonarciss’ health and development was never broached openly with Shrew. Oh, the odd comment would be made here and there, but Shrew would always pass it off and say that Bozonarciss was sickly, was born sickly. It was not true, never had been and never would be. But it was a way for the controlling and self-absorbed Shrew to excuse herself for her abominable behaviour. So the subject was not broached in any meaningful way as the family knew what the results of that encounter would be – denial and lies – plain and simple, always denial and lies. So it was done ‘quietly’ through Bozonarciss’ father.
So on one bright and sunny day Bozonarciss went to be looked after by Shine. Whether Bozonarciss would remember this, only she can say. On this the first of many days, Bozonarciss had refused food in the morning, but at lunch time she was given a ham sandwich and a glass of milk. This was regular fare for Bozonarciss’ slightly younger cousin, who consumed it without any qualms. Bozonarciss bit into half of the sandwich and took one small nibble, no larger than the volume of a teaspoon and declared “I’m full!” Shine was astounded, could not believe her ears and said “You can not possibly be full!” To which Bozonarciss replied “Yes I am.” Shine was shocked to her core, this was unbelievable, the situation was worse than she thought. It was going to be a long hard slog to get this child to eat properly, for Bozonarciss’ stomach had shrunk so much it was the equivalent of a newborns and would only hold a teaspoons worth of food.
“Well” said Shine to Bozonarciss, “your cousin eats a whole sandwich and a glass of milk.” “Won’t you have one more bite?” After much persuasion and cajoling Bozonarciss took another tiny nibble declaring she was “really full”. And so it began – the long slow torturous days of getting Bozonarciss, to take another small bite, day after day. Then it became a sip of milk from the glass, which had been reduced in size because of Bozonarciss’ refusal to drink it, and also only half a sandwich was placed on the plate. It took much patience, tolerance and caring from Shine to enable this poor child to get an appetite. There were days when Shine despaired of ever getting her to eat properly and would have to remind herself that little Bozonarciss did not know any better. Shine would have visons of Bozonarciss being force fed in hospital, if something didn’t change. She basically had been starved her whole young life and Bozonarciss thought that this was normal as she had no other reference point to know different. Over the length of time Bozonarciss was able to eat half a sandwich and this brought a celebration and treats.
So when Bozonarciss had mastered a half sandwich and a small drink of milk, a second half was added to the plate and Shine then encouraged her to start on the other half of the sandwich. A rule had been established as it was part of the strategy to get Bozonarciss to eat properly. She was not allowed to leave the table until she had taken another bite and another drink of milk. This laborious process was needed as the bites were counted each day and one more would need to be taken on the next day. At first little Bozonarciss was defiant about eating -“didn’t want it” and was always “full.” She would retreat to the lounge and commence to bang her head again and again and Shine would have to take her from the lounge and back to the table. Shine would always encourage, cajole and praise her for trying. ‘She was clever, she was a big girl, she would be ready for school’ and so on, every day. So it continued, it had to be relentless if Shine and Bozonarciss’ father were to succeed, and to Bozonarciss’ credit she made it to a whole sandwich. Much celebration and happiness there was on this day and treats all round and much praise was given. Bozonarciss eventually was able to finish a whole sandwich and a glass of milk.
She was getting much stronger, putting on weight, becoming more confident, starting to blossom. And because she was not allowed to bang her head any more, she stopped retreating to the lounge for a ‘head banging session.’ (pardon the pun) Occasionally she would slide back into this habit but that was to be expected. Bozonarciss preferred now to go out and play with her cousin or go and play with Barbie, a favourite pastime of young girls, then as now. So after the success with lunch another task was undertaken. Recess, as this was also preparation for school. Shine then commenced ‘recess’ usually with milk, fruit and munchies and the same laborious ‘ritual’ began again and when that was finally successful, Shine started on afternoon tea and so it continued until necessary. Bozonarciss’ father had committed to doing the same at home around the dinner table. In a ‘quietly’ concerted effort, Shine and Bozonarciss’ father were able to get Bozonarciss to full eating capability with a healthy appetite, which showed with the development of a healthy robust Bozonarciss. Shine was so happy for Bozonarciss and knew that without a doubt that she had helped to save Bozonarciss’ life.
It had been evident that the child was slowly starving to death and doctor’s were worried and Shine had been happy to help, to have done it out of love for her brother and niece. The long struggle had been worth it, it had taken over six months to accomplish this goal but to look upon a blossoming Bozonarciss was reward enough! Shine also vowed to remember this, as suddenly one day Shrew gave up work and took control over that which she had lost, with bitter words to Shine. For Shine had been seeing and spending time with her brother every day, a rare treat indeed. So it was, once again that an Aunt had vowed to remember truly and that the truth would come to light as it usually does, though decades may have to pass. Shine had cared for Bozonarciss, with no thought for herself or of any reward. But reward Shine did see, through the growth and fulfillment of Bozonarciss. But now Bozonarciss had been taken out of Shine’s care and she wondered how Bozonarciss would cope. Would she retreat to the head banging and would the appetite remain or once again slowly fade away?
To be continued.
These stories are fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental. This work belongs to the author.