So I guess it's time I posted something here. I've been trying to get up the nerve to write from my past, they're places I don't want to go to, but I figure I should confront them at some point, and what better way then with the armaments of writing to do it.
As I'm slowly working on my memoir of sorts, I'll post chunks here. Feel free to critique, comment, psychoanalyze, whateva. Just be constructive por favor. K, so here we go. Chunk one of Chapter One.
When my father smashes Eliza backwards into the bathroom door, it’s with all the tenderness a nine-year-old boy uses to dismantle his sister's Barbie dolls. But without the pathological precision of joint snapping. The raw force of her small olive frame slamming into the door knocks pictures off walls. Broken glass glistens on the floor, not that he cares. He’s way away from obsessive-compulsive Larry right now. His only obsession now is punishing Eliza for whatever she did wrong this time.
I watch, from the couch, covering myself in pillows as some measure of protection against his fury. Not that it’d turn on me, not yet at least. He’s far too busy exploding his misogyny into the only solace I have when I visit this place. His apartment. A derelict ship in a redneck neighborhood. Where drunken bikers and orgiastic sex can be heard at all hours of the night. He’ll make me a tuna sandwich in the morning when he ships me off to preschool. Like any good father would.
I tried to help Eliza once. I grabbed hold of his leg and sunk my teeth into his chicken-stick leg through the fabric of his k-mart tapered leg jeans. But what good is a six-year-olds mass against a fully-grown man? When he kicks me across to the crate furniture couch, I find out the answer isn’t much.
Now I’ve learned my lesson, sit, helpless, if you don’t move, he can’t see you. Like T-rex. So he turns Eliza into his mother and hits until she stops crying. Then calmly, he lights a cigarette. Gets a dustpan, and cleans up the broken glass. Carefully stepping over Eliza’s crumpled frame. He won’t notice her unless I crawl to her, and then it’ll start back up again. This is where my story starts, dear reader, with a beautiful intelligent girl in a contusion of tears, saliva and blood, and a little boy pissing himself on the couch. None of this ever happened, not for my father. All he remembers is the tuna sandwich, and bedtime stories. His favorite story to read me is Daddy Told Me Not To.
He loves me, and he kisses me on the mouth whenever he tucks me into the pullout futon bed, then he closes and locks the door and stuffs a towel under the crack. He thinks I can’t hear him, but the wet packing sounds of his fists and retching sounds aren’t hard to distinguish. No doesn’t mean a damn thing to him when I’m locked away in supposed dreamland.
Dreamland for me is a radiator set too high--hot enough to scorch my arm. I’m sorry Eliza. It’s my mantra. Even at that age I know there’s more I could have done, should have done. In my head I’m one of the storybook knights I read about on my own, where daddy can’t tell me a damn thing. Gleaming in armor, I knock him to the ground and punish him the way he punishes Eliza for nothing. I’m sorry Eliza, I tell myself, someday I’ll be strong enough to fight him for you.