I stir the pot of frozen veggies and broth. the fridge is full of herbs, condiments, and ingredients, but there’s almost nothing of substance. the countertop is cool against my forehead and the dish mat presses into my cheek. when I look in the mirror I see waffle indentations, red and sad under my purple eye bags.
I want to keep listening to my book, but all I can hear is the sound of him calling me a bitch. of the feeling of my own bitten down nails sinking into the soft skin of my inner elbows. of the image of my scooter being slammed into the garage floor.
I thought I was supposed to be confronting the beautiful boy with chocolate eyes and a snake’s tongue. the boy who visits my dreams so I can hate him and love him and want him and despise him.
but instead my father, also brown eyed and snake tongued, is being dragged into the light. the raw red anger of him, the man I want to ignore because it’s not him.
not the man who sang me primary songs night after night. not the one who loves to cook, who buys me a cartload of groceries whenever he can, who always wants to talk about ideas and feelings and books. not the therapist who counsels for free, the scholar who loves God, the gardener who lovingly nurtures every plant.
but he is the man who tears a drawer out of the fridge because the steak spilled blood down the pristine plastic. the man who’s tread wakes me up every time it comes near the stairs. the man who belittles my mom, and then twists my words when I open the door and let a little bit of fire trickle from between my teeth- he was always able to make me jump through hoops of my own making.