WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE. the night was like every other, different than the ones before. i was standing so still in the dark house. father comes home from work, the bar; he is drunk. mother sits nearby watching his every move. she was trained not to say a word. stumbling around, he rants and raves. i bring him his dinner as he flips through the channels. he settles on a tv show, one he watches every night. i back out of the room, trying not to draw his attention. he mutters to himself about his job, NO ONE RESPECTS HIM THE WAY HE DESERVES TO BE RESPECTED. BY GOD HE WILL BE RESPECTED IN HIS OWN HOME. mother carries his tray away with shaking hands. he notices her cautiousness and sneers at her back. she is washing dishes now, glad that she is out of his view if only for a moment. he calls me back into the room: he wants a drink and he wants it now. the cat winds her body around my legs, making me slow on my feet. i gently nudge the cat out of the way. father notices and looks at me sharply. he pushes me back as he gets up and leaves the room. he walks to the kitchen. i take over washing the dishes. mother needs some rest. he looks closely at the ones already washed and picks at some imaginary stain. THESE ARENT CLEAN! he throws them to the floor; he sweeps the whole counter to the floor. he empties the cupboards and pushes all the dishes to the floor. i start to cry but a look to mother stops me; her eyes plea silently to be still. i cant make a sound as father rants and raves about dirty dishes that are clean. bowls and silverware are strewn across the floor; some make faces at me. their eyes are empty and wide, mouths a jagged line trembling as he stomps across the floor. he kicks a face and picks up part of its mouth; he throws a fork at me. it lands with a sharp scratch in the sink. i duck just in time. water spills everywhere. father storms out of the kitchen. i look down and see the faces on the floor; some of the faces are crying, some of the faces are laughing.
Copyright © Germaine Elliott