My mother liked to joke I was the background character of my own story. A recurrent character, she used to say, popping up here and there, again and again, but never having much to say.
She liked to say many things about me, none of them kind.
I grew up with a keen sense of my inadequacy and lack of worth. We are what we learn to be. I was no exception to the rule.
I had just turned seven the night I fell from the tree. I liked trees, then. I still do. This was my favorite tree, strong and round and embracing, everything Mother was not. I was a good climber, but it was late, and the wind was strong, and I was wearing a long, fancy dress. There was a party at home that night. Many guests had arrived already. From my tree at the back of the garden, the house was a boat&m...
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