Monday, October 09, 2006

and it wasn't even a shot that rang out

The butt of a handgun makes a definitive sound when it is whacked hard against wood. The sound changes a bit when it's a doorframe versus a dresser, or a dining table, and certainly the metallic clang reverberates a bit longer when it's an oven door. But the point is, it's a sound that rings out in the afternoon sun as "not belonging".

It's not as loud when two people are yelling at the top of their lungs at each other, but it's still definitive against the white noise of a attic fan in the background.


"Get out of this house now and don't even plan on coming back, you here me?"


"I don't want to be here. You're an asshole...."


"What are you gonna do? Shoot me? Then be man enough to just do it."


"If she wasn't in your arms I'd shoot you dead where you stand, I swear I would...."


Every few steps he would hold the revolver by the butt, his finger on the safety, then turn it around and whack... he'd hit something else with it. His face was red, distorted with rage and rebellion. His features were cold, his eyes were black fire.

She cradled me to her, close, as though he might really shoot her, as though I might just save her. I stared at my father wide-eyed, unbelieving. This was too much for a three year old mind to comprehend, and yet I understood everything perfectly. This was something I could do nothing to salvage, I could be no salve for this wreck of a marriage. At best I'd get out of this with two parents. At worst my mother would bleed out from under me and I'd fall from her arms, a bullet severing her claim to life, shot into her by my father's hand.

"You bitch, just get out. Get out before I change my mind and shoot you between the eyes."

Whack-thwongg.... The sound of metal reverberated from the oven door, filling the house and my ears.

"I'd still try to save this if you would just be reasonable..."


"Are you kidding me? Get out now, woman. There's no reason for me to ever say another word to you again."

She pried open the door tearfully, hysterically, with one hand and all but threw me inside, scurrying in beside me, slamming the door, and peeling out down the driveway.

My dad stood in the carport, his hand wrapped around his pistol, his finger on the trigger, malice and hatred on his face. Our eyes met as the car disappeared down the driveway, and I didn't know if his hatred was for me or not.

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