What a bloody mess. And there I stood. With an axe. In the chopping shed. She had to be what two? three? when she lost her fingers. Well not all her fingers. Half. Of two. Back then it wasn’t shocking to see a child of seven with an axe. In the chopping shed. It was chores. All children had chores. Seven was not too young for a boy to chop wood. With his sister watching. Was she two? Or three? But she lost two. Fingers. Half anyway.

Mum’s favorite. The only girl. The baby too. Black hair with annoying ringlets. Twisting and bouncing all over her head “Oh how cute” with bows in. She’d trip and they’d all come running. Black ringlets – good for tripping. She knew that didn’t she? And they grew back. Those black ringlets. Made cutting them off not so satisfying. Especially with chores added. Like chopping wood. With an axe. While the rest of the black ringlets twisted and bounced. All over her head with bows.

Chubby. Hands, feet, cheeks. Chubby cheeks. With red. Mostly from kisses. Chubby cheeks beg for kisses. Big red kisses for Chubby cheeks. She’d waddle, toddle around and they’d all come running “First steps! Oh how cute” to kiss chubby cheeks. Red from kisses. And chubby. Chubby is not so good for chores. Or axes in chopping sheds.

Words too. Words (sounds) were hers too. da da, mmm, ma, ma, mmmm. Those are sounds. Not words. Words (sounds) came from her like never from anyone before. Sounds “Oh how cute” first words. All came running her first words (sounds). She said words. But sounds were better. Too much sound in the chopping shed is distracting. Words (sounds) should stay out of the chopping shed. The axe is not a good thing to distract in the chopping shed. Words or no.

Mum’s little angel. It’s tea time little angel. The women came to adore. Come, help set the table little angel. See she has chores. She sets the table for tea time. Tea time with kisses “Oh how cute” little angel. Cake and tea. Fancy napkins. The napkins were her chore. That’s what she did. Napkin chores. Not like chopping chores. Not with an axe. Not in the chopping shed.

Little boys are not little girls. Little boys don’t sleep with Mum. Little boys don’t have nightmares. Little boys have bad dreams. Go back to bed. You’ll be fine. Little boys don’t cry. Little boys don’t hurt. Not themselves anyway. Bandages are fine for little boys. Puppy dog tails. You don’t kiss puppy dog tails. Little boys chop.

Little boys are not little girls. No curls. No cute words (sounds). Chubby cheeks. But who kisses those? Little boys are little boys. Little boys do little boy things. Little boys have chores. Real not tea time. Not napkins. Not pink. Little boys run. Not trip. Little boys yell. Not sound. Little boys see. Not through ringlets. Little boys build. And tear down. Mostly tear down. Little boys have little boy chores. Like wood. Chopping wood. With an axe. In the chopping shed.

And then a bloody mess. Boys belonged there. Not girls. Little angels. She said I said. What? Put your hand there. Sounds. But that is what she said. Mum was screaming. Looking for fingers. Half. Of two. They hopped off. Wiggly things. Even after the axe has chopped. Not real fingers anymore. Little angel was screaming. Everyone was screaming. Not all were being heard. Hospital and deal with you later. It was an accident. She put her hand there. On the chopping block. It was an accident. With an axe. In the chopping shed.

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