Tree Trunk Walking

September 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

November 29th, 2006 

Door hit tile, cracking white. The old bronze hinges left reaching pathetic up from the wood. White-washed wood splinters stuck out from the door jamb and frozen, sitting tear-faced on the cold grey tile with diary scribbles drying on the page, I could only stare at my giant bearded father like a tree trunk walking, one step over the wreckage that he’d created, one more until he stood towering above me.

Hands larger than my head – workman’s hands, callused and split from end to end – wrapped around my shoulders and lifted me to my feet in the ease of a light breath and the giant bearded face reared angry and savage before me.  I could taste disappointment like a square of dark chocolate but I wasn’t sure why it was there because surely I’d done nothing worse than be young.

The world tumbled and hot breath hit my face. What had I done to get disappointment bestowed in such violent shakings?

He shakes me in a loud voice; I squirm to fight back, but I feel like the worm we battled the last time we went fishing and I can’t get away. This is absurd. I just told her the truth. The door slam was too much, I bet, maybe the tears another line I’d crossed but that seems infinitely unfair. He shakes me again and I know he’s saying something but I don’t want to listen because that makes it too hard to keep crying. I want to cry. Weird, really, why he’d kick down my door just because I locked it. I only told the truth, even if I yelled it, and she didn’t have to be a bitch about it, siccing her husband on me like some sort of dog on a burglar scene in a home-safety commercial. Not that he’s not intimidating. If I had an overactive bladder, or maybe less self control, I’d be painting a wet spot on my favorite jeans, but thankfully I am old enough that my body leaks emotion exclusively from my face. He says some more stuff about respect and elders, but I’m bored at this point, I’ve heard this all before, and I start counting the furrows in his forehead. 1, 2, 18, geez.

His eyebrows were thunderclouds over blue sky eyes and I couldn’t quite figure out how God could make a man with such conflicting features, like a cubist painting in the amount of sense it made.

He shakes me again. Are you even listening? Fear of God, fear of father, same thing. I nod quick enough to be convincing and he mellows out to stern-bearded tree trunk.

Watch him step back out over the broken door and I sink down to the floor, picking up the diary again with greater vehemence this time. Punished for telling the truth. That’s what this feels like. Like being a martyr. Sucks being a teenager, but I guess it’s  a different kind of lousy being grown up, which is probably why they yell so much.

I yelled my truth from my highest point and felt powerful a shattered second in my refusal to behave but always and again I am stifled in the shaking and I hope I’ll never be them. 

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