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From Book 6: To Walk The Path Until The End. Actually semi-inspired by real events, but definitely as triggering for you as it was for me. Honestly, my entire blog has a trigger warning on it.
When Andre is five, he will have a tea party with mommy in the house in Banbury. He’ll bring her an imaginary cup filled with her favorite lilac tea. “Drink up, mommy, so the baby doesn’t get hydrated.”
She’ll rub her big mommy tummy and smile, so Andre will know that he’s been a good boy. Not like Toto. His little brother will be digging in the garden again, like always, like he’s not supposed to.
“Daddy will be mad,” Andre will warn. “Toto is going to get spanked!”
“Roberto,” Mommy will say tiredly. “Leave the flowers be. Digging in the garden will get you into trouble.” But Mommy won’t move. By now, she will have been sick for lots and lots of days.
Andre will wonder if he’ll like the new baby, since Toto is so stupid and annoying. Will the baby play with monster trucks with him and pretend to be fairies from Never-Neverland?
Carefully, he’ll pour more tea. “Will the new baby be bad, like Toto?”
Mommy won’t be able to look at him. She’ll just keep staring across the yard like she wants to go to sleep. “Toto isn’t bad, honey. He’s just independent. Roberto, I’ve already told you, dear, please leave those alone.”
“Okay, mommy,” Roberto will mumble, like always, then keep on doing the bad thing. This will make Mommy rub her wrist, where daddy hit her really hard when kindergarten started. Her wrist had looked so bad, like a broken pencil. Just like when daddy had turned Toto’s leg into a broken pencil, too. Toto screamed and screamed, and Andre and Mommy kept telling him to shut up so Daddy would stop being mad, but Toto wouldn’t listen. What if the new baby makes daddy mad, too?
Andre will look at Mommy’s wrist, and remember how much he doesn’t like Daddy. Daddy is scary and mean, and yells at Andre even when Toto is the one who did the bad thing. Andre always listen, but he always gets spanked. Mommy always says it’s because Daddy loves them. Andre is really glad that Mommy doesn’t love them.
And just as Andre is feeling grateful, the door will bust open, and Daddy will be there.
Andre, Mommy, and Toto will all jump at the sound, and Toto will let out a little squeak, like a mouse. But Daddy is just carrying boxes for the garden. “Zarah,” he’ll call in a voice like he’s doing a lot of work. “Leave this door open.”
Toto will run toward Daddy, and mommy will catch him just in time. “No, Roberto. Stay here.”
Andre will move forward, too. “I’m going to help Daddy!” he’ll say, because that’s a good thing that a good boy would do.
But Mommy will stand and go after him too, and she’ll see that the front door is open too, leaving a clear path for Max, their big fluffy black dog, to escape into the street. She’ll shut the door just in time, and Max will also let out a little squeak.
“Both of you, stay here,” Mommy will say. “We don’t want the dog to get out.”
And the door will bang again. Daddy will try to get out in the yard, but won’t be able to. He will say the bad word with Jesus and put the box down, crashing the door against the side of the house. “I told you three times not to shut this door!” he’ll scream at mommy. She’ll stand there, like always, when Daddy starts yelling. Just like Andre. But instead of being quiet and still like he should, Toto will start to cry.
“Sorry?” Mommy will say, in a voice that he can barely here.
“Daddy’s mad,” Toto whispers to her while daddy stomps past them with the box.
“I know, baby.” Mommy will pull Toto close, kissing him on the head. This will make Andre mad. Why will Mommy never tell Daddy that it’s not nice to yell, and use bad words, and have hurtful hands, and throw things at the wall, when she will tell her and Toto not to a million times every day? Daddy will do bad things, but he’ll be allowed to because he loves them. Andre will decide that one day, when there’s no Mommy to tell him what to do, he’ll have a family and love them and do whatever he wants, just like Daddy. And if he becomes a daddy, his kids will be allowed to do all the things Andre’s not allowed to do.
Pouting, Andre will cross his arms and glare at Mommy, who’s still holding Toto and not moving or saying anything. “Toto was bad, Daddy! Look at the flowers! Right over there!”
Mommy will gasp and give Andre a squinchy look. This will make Andre sorry. He doesn’t want to make Mommy sad. He just wants everyone to have the same rules, so the bad things will stop happening.
With a grunt, Daddy will glance over at the corner of the yard where Toto was pretending to be a dinosaur explorer. Then he’ll look again, like he didn’t quite see right. Slowly, like maple syrup spilling on the table, Daddy will walk over to the flower bed and pick up one of the broken stems.
“What have you been doing all day, Zarah?” Daddy’s voice will be quiet and slow, like he’s not mad. But Andre will know that this is when he’s the maddest. Trying to be invisible, Andre will creep toward his hiding spot under the back porch. If he’s careful enough, maybe no one will find him.
“I’m sorry, Vinny,” Mommy will say, in a voice like when she’s trying to get Toto to climb down out of the cupboard. “I didn’t notice.”
Andre will want to tell Mommy that she says that they shouldn’t lie, but his throat will be small, like a straw, and he won’t be able to breathe as Daddy reaches out and grabs Toto. Saying so many bad, bad words, Daddy will shake him so hard that Toto will look just like his floppy stuffed bear.
“How many times do I have to tell you to leave the garden alone?”
Even though Andre will cover his ears, he will still be able to hear Mommy screaming. “Vincent! Stop!” But when she goes to them, Daddy will push her so hard that she falls almost to the other side of the yard. And then, there will be a crack so loud that Andre will wonder if Mommy’s arm broke again when she hits the ground.
But Mommy’s arms will both be straight, like they’re supposed to be. She won’t even be looking at them. She’ll be looking at Toto. And when Andre looks, too, he’ll be just like Mommy – even though he hates it.
Toto is asleep, his chin on Daddy’s hand. Now that Toto’s head has hit the wooden fence, Daddy will stop shaking him, and will look down like he’s sad. Andre will want to ask whether Daddy is done now, and they can have ice cream. He knows Mommy will like the flowers that Daddy always brings after one of them has been bad. He will hope that Toto wakes up soon so they can pick a flavour together. That’s how Andre will say sorry for telling daddy about the flowers – he’ll let Toto have extra bites of his ice cream.
Daddy will let go of Toto, who will fall with his face in the flowers. That’s when Andre will notice that the back of Toto’s blue shirt is dark like it’s got grape juice on it. The whole back of his shirt has changed colour. Mommy will start screaming in a way that Andre has never heard, no matter what Daddy does to her. The sound will make Andre want to run away as far as he can, and his skin feel prickly.
“Shut up,” Daddy will say in an empty voice like he’s a puppet. Then, he’ll go over to Mommy and pull her hair to make her stand up. “Shut up, Zarrah.”
Mommy will reach for Andre, but he’ll duck. Running under the porch, Andre will watch, shaking so hard that he will hear his teeth clicking together like the rattle daddy bought for the baby.
There will be the sound like when Daddy hit’s Mommy’s face. Over, and over. “Stop, Zarrah. Stop it. Look, I didn’t mean to, okay?” Daddy will start to cry, and this will make Andre start to cry, even though he won’t let them see. “It was an accident. I…I don’t know what got into me. Zarrah, baby, you know that I would never hurt you or the boys. I didn’t mean it. I…”
It will be like that for a while. A long number of minutes will go by before Mommy will be finally quiet, and so will Daddy. Without making a sound, Andre will peer from behind the porch to see Daddy holding Mommy, with her face all red and one of her eyes bigger than the other one.
Daddy will see him, and Andre, will hide again.
“Zarrah, you know that Andre won’t understand this. You know what will happen if he says anything to anyone.”
Mommy will be staring at Toto. At all the juice that’s coming out of his head. Andre will know that it’s not really juice but his head doesn’t want to say the bad word.
Daddy will touch Mommy’s tummy. “We still have this one. We can start over. This one will be different.”
Mommy won’t say a single word when Daddy goes to get his spanking bat. It’s the special one, the one that he used when he was on the Blue team. Not the old used up one that he lets Andre and Toto play with. The special one hurts more, for some reason.
Daddy will come straight to Andre’s hiding spot.
“Please, Daddy. I’m sorry.” Andre won’t want to end up like Toto. “I’ll be good, I promise. I won’t do bad things anymore. I’ll make sure mommy doesn’t, either. And I’ll tell Toto, as soon as he wakes up.” Andre will keep telling himself that Toto is only asleep, just like when Daddy killed Snowy. The dog before Max.
No. Andre won’t say that bad word in his head.
Standing over him, Daddy won’t say anything, but will look at Andre with eyes almost as sad as Mommy’s.
“Daddy, please. I want to go on the vacation. I want to go to Kirby and I want to help with the garden and with getting ready for our new brother. I don’t want go into the garden like Snowy.”
Daddy will tap the bat in his hands, his face so sad that the sad will make Andre feel heavy, like when he’s got too many blankets on him.
Andre will keep trying to think of what Daddy would want. “I’ll help you plant Toto. That’s how he’ll go to heaven, right, Mommy? When we plant him, he’ll go to heaven. People heaven. Not doggy heaven, like Snowy.” Andre’s words won’t stop coming out. His whole self won’t stop shaking, and his face will be all wet. “I’ll be good, Mommy. I will. Please, daddy, I’ll be good.”
Mommy still will not look, with her two different eyes and pencil arms. Daddy will pull Andre out and prop him against the porch, standing over him like a giant. Just like Goliath in the Sunday school story. Andre will want to be David, but he won’t be able to reach the rocks. Daddy will close his eyes and give a great big breath as he holds the spanking bat, the one that makes them not spoiled. “I know you will.”
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~ Romans 15:13