Broken Holy Warrior

Click here to listen to Aimee read Broken Holy Warrior. 


She was hoping to be happy by 47. School was a sharp checkmark against her. They called her stupid deaf dumb spaced out strange. Her third grade teacher Ms. Hutton asked her why she done breathe like that — the way she gasped for a breath like she done been drownin’ in the deep sea caught in the jaws of sharks beating thrashing whipping her body bloody ravaged by it all. It weren’t no sharks nor sea. Just life. And truth is she ain’t stupid at all but genius as it come when ya wanna grade survival.

Yep, she was hopin’ by 47 she’d learn about that thing called happy. She reckoned happy meant no more more breaths of terror beltin’ ya in the face and no more chasin’ mama’s car as though she’ll stop this time 40 some years on down the road. Stop. See her. Find her worth keepin’ safe. Truth is some brands of fear stricken memory don’t seem to know how to die, but keep livin’ hard between the lines of bone and blood and shattered lives. She that way of many inside one body. How it do with small babes that got no words and little child that got two ways of keeping alive — that happen either by dyin’ back home to her maker, or that there brain shatterin’ into lotsa lives just to ration the horror and survive. Ya see there are different makes of hero and to me she got the makings of hero in a gazillion fold. I done look at her and tears bust out lump throated burnin’ eyes just tryin’ to muster a moment of comprehension how she still here breathin’ life.

No, she ain’t stupid at all. Just that she live in a blind world — blind to the makings of her brand of success called survival. She’s a master. God call her hero of the highest kind. And ya see even so she ain’t found the brand of happy she dream of by 47, she still a hero — a warrior — an angel with mangled wings saturated in light. She don’t see it, but I do. And I pray one day she find that kinda happy — that kinda peace — that kinda quiet holy that rest in the knowing that God sees. Sees her real beautiful — real kind. Sees her battle life with a hijacked brain and fight every breath to save her shattered heart from dyin’. God see her and call her by name. Hero, his child of broken holy grace.

Soul collage card with religious symbols, statue of Christ

Nah, she ain’t stupid at all. Just that this here world is blind to her struggle — blind to her strength — blind to what make her one broken holy warrior every breath broken beat of her life. And you know what Ms. Hutton say when she didn’t respond to her question ‘Aimee, why you breathe like that’? She somehow just knew without knowing that it wasn’t stupidity nor bein’ deaf that she didn’t talk. It was plain ol’ fear beatin’ her up and beltin’ her silent, except for the screamin’ chasin’ after mama’s car. Ms. Hutton just say, ‘Aimee, you come walk with me out on the recess and say nothin’ at all.’ And that what Aimee do so she wouldn’t run away to hunt for mama to make her safe. She just walk real quiet by Ms. Hutton.

Yellow flowers with green leaves growing on red rock


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  • Carol Rogers says:

    This is such a moving piece. The language is melodious, the content is heart breaking yet full of strength and compassion. It is particularly touching to hear it read in the narrater’s own voice. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    • Aimee Harper says:

      Thank you, Carol. Thank you for seeing not only the heartbreak but also the strength. It is in the broken places that we are most strong, right? So thankful for our writing circle with you where these places in us all have a safe place to breathe and be seen.

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