"I hate him," the little blonde girl with green eyes said to the Brazilian boy sitting next to her under the shade of a huge oak tree, hidden from the eyes of her neighbors at the picnic. "I hate him," she said again, softly, looking at the angry red welts and deep purple bruises marring the skin of her arms, legs and torso. Even at the young age of six, she knew more pain than most would know in a life time.
But not nearly as much as her mother would know. She looked out at her mother and him out in the field, talking to the nice elderly couple that lived across the street. To any stranger, no one would sense something was wrong with her mother. But the little girl saw it. She saw how her mother held herself stiff against her husband's back, and she saw the pain in her forced smile. She saw the bruises and abuse no one else saw, the ones that were hidden under her loose cotton dress. Saw how her mother didn't speak to anyone, or reply even in the slightest, unless her husband prodd