Submitted by John L. Lincicome.
Kid Life…dad’s mad.
In less than a beat his eyes went from all happy and stuff, to squinty. Eyes closed by the sun? Or a mad? Ain’t no sun in the house.
The workins’ in my kid head figured I must-a-said something wrong, I could feel it, but no clue what it was. Sometimes a kid’s life goes there.
In the next beat an open back hand. Next, a closed fist to the belly. Then a knee. Ain’t nothin’ like a cold shot, a sucker shot to a kid that don’t know no better, delivered by a one that had carte blanche cred borne of a family thing. The good news is that the floor suggested that the ugly was likely over after a kick and some ugly words. I balled up in kid coward, like always.
“Don’t you ever…” he said. Then…
“I’m sorry…” His eyes bigger now as he stood above me lookin’ down…
Odd how a one can go from a happy to mad and then back again. al quick and fast like, too.
Odd how a kid can go from happy to fear and back to the edge of relief in the same few beats. Ain’t no easy bein’ a kid. Ain’t no easy bein’ an adult, I sposed.
Back in those days refuge was my bedroom. A safe place once the door was closed. Lock the ugly out.
The world outside of it, the door, was sometimes crummy.
I remember starin’ at the door knob in the moments that followed those ugly thens. Waitin’ for it to roll over. Remember the ceiling light fixture, remember the laced, doily like curtains that adorned the window.
Remember how mom hung them curtains, and was all happy and stuff about it afterwards. Wished the happy would come back.
Afraid. An ugly place.
Afraid of the face that could visit squinty eyed fear once the door opened again, and the Q & A about stuff that never seemed to mean nothin’, till the door opened. Ain’t a nothin’ in the life of a kid that an angry dad man can’t mess up. Ain’t a nothin.
Dissolving into the radio. Into nowhere’s-ville on the bed. Radio on. The sound of the mom voice outside the door broke the radio silence.
“You okay, Liebchen?”
The doorknob rotated. The ceiling light didn’t flicker. Emotional conflict comes to mind.
“Can I come in?” she asked as if she needed to.
It’d been a good day. School and friends and stupid stuff like that. Makin’ plans for the morrow, stuff like that, eh? Weren’t a nothin’ to fret. Life was good. Layin’ on the bed, the radio on, there was a peace. A wonderful thing, that. Then conflict. The mom voice.
The door knob rolled over. The click borne of mechanical magic visited. The glow of the ceiling light didn’t change. The curtains were static. All over the map comes to mind.
“He didn’t mean it…” she said as she stepped in all timid like.
Her shadowed profile played nice with the light of the hallway behind her. Her vision was a silhouette, her voice candy. The radio played on.
“Are ya hungry?” she asked.
I was starvin’ to death.
“Yeah ma. I’m, sure.”
She looked a look my way like mom’s do, eh? And I looked one back. She started to speak, then stopped. Looked another look my way, then turned to exit. The sound of the doorknob doin the ‘close” thing visited something akin to relief.
“Wished I’d a said yes to the hungry thing” I said in my head.
Kid life is kid life.
Damn kid life…
John L. Lincicome lives in Tacoma and you can read more Kid Life stories on the You Know Your From Lakewood, WA If… Facebook Page.