Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 1975

I haven’t quite learned how to move myself like my parents do. I am stuck on the floor, using all my limbs to navigate from one area to another. But I am fast. I’ve seen my mother every day for the last year, but my father is a new treasure to me. He’s quiet, restrained, and glum. He is also quick to anger. From listening to conversations, I’ve gathered that he has been away defending our freedom. I also hear others say that this is why he is so angry. I don’t know what any of that really means other than he was an abstract thing until about two months ago.

We are sitting near each other, he on the orange flowered couch smoking something and me on the floor half a foot from his feet. I am largely ignoring him. It’s not purposeful, but the crinkling sounds of wrapping paper are far more joyous than my father. My mother is in another room. I’m not sure which one, but I smell something wonderful in the air and assuming she is cooking. Grabbing another fist fall of paper, I smack it against the low coffee table. The ringing of the glass and crinkling of the paper create the most wonderful sound I have ever heard. I shriek with joy and smash down the paper on the glass again. It’s still wonderful and I shriek again.

My shrieks change from joy to alarm. Something heavy has plunged into my side, shoving me over. My skin stings and my side aches where the thing hit. I hear frantic noises on the other side of the room as I lay still and scream. My father’s voice grows loud very quickly. I swallow my cries, unsure of my safety. His voice raising like it is has always been a sign of harm to come. Quickly, I roll to my stomach and push myself up to my knees. A sharp pain shoots through my elbow I cry out, but it is drowns in my mother’s screams.
Turning my head, I see her body move quickly backwards. She hits the wall hard. Pictures fall to the ground and she slides down slowly, tears covering her face. A small stream of something red spills from her mouth. She looks at me for a second and then buries her hands in her face. I look rapidly for my father, the only one left to help either of us. All I see of him is a leg and his foot. They retreat from view. The front door slams and everything is quiet.

Exhausted, I lay down and fall asleep. I wake in my crib. It is dark, but warm. I close my eyes and go back to sleep.

*** Still Swap-bot. Only a few more to go.***

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