It snowed for the first time today. I used to think that made it a magical day.
I’m fifteen again, because I’m talking to my mother.
She says, “don’t be snippy with me just because you’re hungry.”
I wasn’t that hungry.
But no comment can be made against her.
Unless you have empirical, documented evidence.
It’ll still be your fault though,
How dare you bring this up and make her feel bad,
Don’t you know what she’s going through?
I just shut down. Then get yelled at for being quiet.
Why don’t you talk to me anymore?
Let me tell you what complaining does,
You smug bastard.
I’m coping when I complain.
Coping means dealing with it,
To deal with it I have to say it,
To say it, I have to sound whiny sometimes,
There’s no way around it.
I need to say it out loud,
I have to process, grind, smear, and stutter.
If you don’t let me, I’ll push my tongue to the roof of my mouth,
Clench my jaw so my molars stick out,
And not let you in anymore.
I sing sexy songs to myself in the mirror
And pretend to be Shirley Bassey, and have hips,
And a big bowling voice.
Then I remember something he told me once,
I quiet, and check my forehead for new wrinkles,
And tell myself I won’t do that again.
I saw my grandmother today.
My mom wanted to take a picture,
To post online.
I said no.
When I have a definite opinion,
And you don’t respect it.
I left my dog with my parents,
She looked so happy to see me,
She’s a dog.
She made me feel loved,
She doesn’t know any better.
I had to leave her behind,
I had to go home,
I’m so sorry.
I make all these rules for myself.
If he calls you again at three in the morning, drunk,
Only pick up the phone if you’ve done something that day.
Wait at least two minutes before responding to texts.
Don’t get your hopes up again.
Don’t remember how much you miss him.
Don’t keep staring at his picture.
Another story for you, written in 20 minutes:
We lived in a manse. The house is square, red brick, and old. One side faces the road. It’s called County Road on our address. One side faces the graveyard then the Church. The fence pens in cows behind our property. And then it’s corn in all directions.
It was my Dad’s house to me. Mom’s was far away. Dad’s house was quiet. Dad took a walk down the road for miles every morning. Alone. He came back to the quiet house when we were at our Mom’s.
Dad didn’t like pets. He didn’t understand them. I think he sees why people like pets, as companions, things to be proud of. But, they’re a waste of money, time and energy. What good do they do? They take up space. They eat things. They have to be provided for, and looked after. Oh, the vet bills alone! Why would you pay for a leech?
Dad warned us one night coming home. “Girls, be careful, there’s a dog outside the house. I don’t want you to be scared.” He told us he’d call animal control, and the second they showed up, the dog would vanish. “He won’t bother you, just leave him be.”
I watched with big open eyes out the window of the car as I spotted this great big dog. He looked like a German Shepherd, but bigger. Great big pointy ears stood on top of his head with little hairs coming out the sides. He had black-brown fur, thin fur, with lots of speckles of gray. His belly was almost all silver.
He didn’t look mean to me. But this was Dad’s house; Dad didn’t want him here. He didn’t belong here. Dad couldn’t get rid of him. The dog seemed happy to be there. I liked that he didn’t listen when he got yelled at. And Dad would yell at him. The dog sat and watched and smiled.
He followed Dad on walks. He guarded the house. Dad tried his best to chase him off. “He has no collar. He won’t leave.” I wanted to invite him in the house. I knew what Dad would say, I didn’t ask.
Every weekend I saw him. I didn’t pet him. He didn’t hurt us. He’d follow the car to the end of the driveway. He seemed happy to be alive. He sat next to the tree that bloomed pink little petal leaves. He sat there for months. I thought Dad might secretly like him.
I asked what happened to the dog. Dad said he finally left. He said it with a smile. We took a walk along the road that weekend. There was a skeleton on the riverbed. Maybe it was a deer.
The dog loved my Dad. Whether he lost his mind or not. Even if he had another master and got confused. He protected. Dad left him to stay outside. We never touched him. That great big dog, who had no name, outsmarted my father, and got to stay for a little while.