The Cycle

Teri Carter

Human Parts
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readAug 23, 2015


When I was 16, my high school boyfriend backhanded me across the face, with a beer bottle in his hand. We were in his baby blue car, on our way to his house, and his father was the first to look up from watching golf on TV and notice my newly forming bruise, the swelling next to my eye. His father lost it. My boyfriend cowered and slunk down to the basement; his dad, apologetic about his son, drove me home.

It was never mentioned again.

But we dated for another year. Because, of course, I “loved” him. Awwwww. And, honestly, I figured my sassy mouth provoked him.

One of my biggest regrets is something I said to my mother right before she died.

She was in severe pain and respiratory distress, shaking and sweating, a good hour from her next painkiller. She said, “I wish you didn’t hate your grandmother. She had a hard life.”

To which I said, “Bullshit, Mom. Everybody has a hard life.”

‘Round and ‘round we went until the nurse came and gave my mother her last morphine shot. I remember my mother’s last meal was meat-stuffed-peppers, in cold tomato sauce, nursing home style. And my bullshit words ended up being some of the last words I ever said to her while feeding her with a spoon.

My mother was right.

Her mother, my grandmother, led a horrific life. Her husband was older and controlling and mentally and physically abusive. Within a few months of their marriage, she tried to leave him, tried to go home to her parents. Her father said, “Go home. You made your bed, you lay in it.”

My grandmother had 9 children, which included a stepdaughter who was allowed to, and encouraged to, call her a “whore.”

My grandmother was not allowed to work, was not allowed to drive a car, was not even allowed to learn how to drive a car.

When my grandmother was newly married, she was out one day, laughing and having a good time, riding in a car with her girlfriends, when they missed a stop and ran up under a tractor trailer and, while they all survived, they were all seriously injured. I have the newspaper clipping.

My grandmother was in her early 20’s; her lower lip had been almost completely ripped off; her…



Human Parts
Human Parts

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