Before I knew what it was

Before I had heard the words “misplaced modifier” I had already learned that it would get me in a world of trouble.  I could recount more, but the one that stands out was the first.

I heard hushed whispers in the kitchen.  I was trying to read in my room.  I always tried to escape to my room as soon as possible.  There was a plethora of worlds waiting within my books.  The whispers sounded more urgent.  They slowed and I thought “eh…”

My mother came into my room.  I thought of all the possible things I could have done wrong that one day.  I broke into a sweat.  I was a sweater of sweat.  My mother looked at me and said “I need to tell you something.”  Yep, I had done something wrong.

She looked at the floor.  “You know how your uncle is always carrying on with strange women?” No, no I did not know that.  I had overheard that repeatedly in the ten or so years that I was alive.  Officially I knew nothing.  When the overlords are questioning, play dumb.

“Well, one of them shot herself in the bathroom over him.”  I pondered this statement.  I turned it this way and that.  I could not understand this pronouncement.  “Er,” I stammered “Um, did that hurt, do you think?”

My mother looked at me for a few hours (it may have been seconds) and said “What?”

“Shooting yourself in the bathroom”

My mother sat and said “You are impossible to talk to most of the time.”  I took it that this must have been one of those times.  She left the room looking at me disdainfully.  It could have been distaste.  It could have been distrust.  I will never know.  I will also never know how the story ended.

To this day, a misplaced modifier hold terror for me.  Slain by the creeping terror before I had a name for it.



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