“adriana, you are just like my aunt grace. same age. her hair in a tight bun off her face. innocent just like you.”

never in my life has anyone called me innocent. when i was young, my uncle called my trouble. he lost his business. drank too much. instead of calling me spirited, he called me trouble. he’s dead now. i held my mom’s hand so tight at his funeral. she cried. i did not. i watched my cousin take out items from his coffin: an antique accordion and a watch. my cousin ended up selling them. he lost the business he inherited. he died too. i didn’t go to his funeral. i got lucky. it snowed so hard the train was canceled.

i wanted to thank her for calling me innocent. i worked for her. i was helping her and her daughter achieve their goals. i remember what my social worker friend always told me; do no harm.

i thought about it. do no harm. would i do her harm if i thanked her. thank her from my soul for calling me innocent.

i thought about it. do no harm. would i do her harm if told her i am not sure i was ever innocent. i was trouble. i was a bad influence. i was damaged. i was a whore.

i decided to say nothing.

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adriana suriano

adriana suriano

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.