Sweet Pea still thought of herself by that name, sometimes. After a swing shift, driving home late at night in the rain or the snow, her name would come to her as her fingers tightened on the steering wheel. White knuckles don't tell a person whether they are feeling rage, or grief, or joy. What she was feeling was a problem for brains and thinking and psychologists. Her grip on the tan plastic and the blurring of the road signs through tears simply marked the feelings as they came, and went.
Her coworkers all know her by her new name. Sweet Pea made sure her initials were B, D, and R. Baby Doll Rocket. Her new name was a memorial to the women who got her through it all. A memorial that was also a secret. She wasn't supposed to remember, after all. Being well, being healthy, was supposed to mean forgetting.
Fuck that, and fuck them. To forget would be a crime, a sin. Sweet Pea was done with crime. Sin, maybe, well … she was trying to be done with sin.
The doctors told her that Baby Doll was a figment of her imagination. Rocket, too, though they all had to acknowledge that Rocket was based on reality. Sweet Pea wasn't supposed to remember what happened there, either. Some of the doctors thought that if she remembered the Original Trauma, her mind would split again. They thought she was broken.
During the long shifts, the endless pressing the buttons to work the packaging machine on the line, Sweet Pea had remembered. She knew what had happened to Rocket, the original Rocket. She remembered her stepfather's heavy hand and hot breath, and the feel of the knife in her hand while Rocket screamed and screamed. Sweet Pea remembered the asylum, and the escape, and the fires. She remembered the year on her own, the choices she'd made to find a life she could live. Eventually she'd found her way to new doctors, and new medicines, and a job and an apartment of her own.
They said she was whole as long as she didn't remember.
They were all wrong. Sweet Pea remembered everything. She held them all, Baby Doll and Rocket and Blondie and Amber, in her mind. And if she cried late at night on lonely roads, that only meant she was whole.