She stopped smiling as soon as she picked up the subtle slow opening of the front door. Jake, her grown up three-year-old stopped playing. He looked at his mother, to see if she was okay. They both heard the first step into the living room. “Dad’s back!” he whispered. His voice seemed small, and he began his nightly shrinking.
The master of the house, the boss, the one who knows best, walked into the kitchen. The 18-month-old toddled over to his Mommy, and raised his chubby hands. He needed to be safe. Jake flashed a warning look to his brother. If Charley makes the wrong move, the rage will begin. Jake, who knows this, will do anything he can to not make Wolfman angry. The boss sits down, and barks, “Get me a beer. He don’t need up. He ain’t been work’n all day.”
All the little gifts, thoughtful gestures, valentines, and overly sweet gestures had been replaced so sneakily, so unexpectedly, so completely. She used to see the thoughtful, kind, wonderful man in there she thought she had married. But lately, he is in complete submission.
She feels confused, scared, angry, sad. Amazed that this could have happened, yet, she knows it has. He’s a handsome man, a beautiful smile, if you get a glimpse of it, and others do, they think her man is a prince. He is one too, while you are dating. It’s after marriage that he changes into the Wolfman.
She places the beer down in front of him as gently as she can, hoping not to get grabbed, or shaken, or hit. He grabs her wrist. “I said put that brat down!” She starts to smile, thinking he’s kidding. He’s their daddy. It’s some kind of joke. Remember the photos in the hospital of the four of them? People are always saying how lucky she is, that she has such a gorgeous family. Then she turns and looks at his face. It’s full of putdowns and mean glances and ready to fights. “He can walk,” he orders. She slowly lowers the baby, who feels something has changed, and has begun to whimper.
As she glances toward Jake she realizes for the first time that he is frightened at what their daddy might do to his little brother. The invisible scars, the embarrassment of self-loss, the poutiness, the superior attitude, the set ups and put downs, and put-in-places have never been this clearly shown to her until this moment. She understands for the first time that no matter who she has to speak to, what she has to do, or how she has to do it, it is time to take her children away from the Wolfman.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2018