Thursday, May 13, 2010


Lara's parents say everything's fine, but if everything's fine, why does she feel like there's a fist in her stomach? 

Lara:  Here’s what I think.  If he wasn't doing anything wrong, he wouldn’t have been doing it at one in the morning.  If he wasn't doing anything wrong, my Mom wouldn’t have burst into tears when I told her I didn’t eat my lunch because I don’t like peanut butter anymore.
     Mom:  I just thought (waaa) I just (sniffle waa) thought (sniffle sniffle waaa bu blaa bla-waaaa) you would like to try it again (waaa bwaa ba baaa blaaa).
     Me:  It’s okay Mommy.  I’ll make my own lunch from now on.
     Mom:  I can’t even make (sniffle) my own daughter’s lunch right anymore!  Blaaaaa!

     If my father wasn’t doing anything wrong, why do I have this queasy feeling, why am I so tired, why does it feel like my legs are going to give out and I’m going to puke? 
     If I tell my mother about last night, what if she leaves?  What if he leaves?  What if there’s another fight they won’t confirm or deny?
     I lie on my bed and hold my stomach.

     One am (last night):  I can’t sleep.  I go downstairs, and my father’s at the computer.  His dewlap is ruffled like a rooster’s comb on top of his head.  He’s drinking a beer.  He looks like he’s had several.
     Me:  What are you doing?  It’s late.
     Dad:  What?  Huh?  Nothing.  Nothing, honey.  Go back to bed.  Just playing around at the computer.
     Me:  Don’t you have work tomorrow?  It’s late.
     Dad:  I’m just finishing up.
     Me:  Is that for work?  (This is when the pit of my stomach starts to yaw.  Acid starts sloshing around inside of me.  I know he’s not working.  I persist.)  Did we do too many great things for Father’s Day so you couldn’t get your work done?  Maybe you shouldn’t have gone out after dinner?
     Dad:  I’m done now.  Go back to bed.  I’m on my way up.
     Me:  Is that a CD you’re making? 
     Dad:  I’m just fiddling around, I couldn’t sleep.  School tomorrow, go back to bed.
     Me:  Who’s it for, Daddy?  Are you making Mom a CD?
     Dad:  It’s for someone at work.
     Me:  It’s for Amy, isn’t it.
     Dad:  It’s for her kids.
     Me:  You’re making Amy’s kids a CD at one in the morning?  (I raise an eyebrow.)
     Dad:  Yes.  Go to bed.
     Me:  Where’s Mom?
     Dad:  She’s asleep.  Go to bed.
     Me:  (halfway up the stairs, calling back down, not loud enough to wake my mother, but enough to give him a scare.  I like that he jumps and starts hitting keys in a fluster.)…  I think it’s totally inappropriate.  I think it’s wrong, Daddy.
     Dad:  Just forget about it.  I’m going to bed.  Go to bed now.

     My mother knocks on my door.  I’m lying on my bed, remembering last night, and not so cocky anymore.  I feel goose-pimply and nauseated and sweaty and weepy.  I want to tell on Dad so I can feel better.
     “Lara,” my Mom says, coming in.  “Are you okay?” 
     “You’re not crying.  Why were you crying?” I ask.  Obviously it wasn’t over a peanut butter sandwich.
     “Nothing.  It was nothing,” Mom says.
     “Then I’m fine,” I say.
     “Um, Lara?”  Mom asks, sitting on my bed, rubbing my back.
     “What’s up Mom?”
     “Um, have you noticed your father…”
     “I haven’t noticed anything.”
     (Sniffle)  “That’s what I thought,” she says.  When she leaves, I don’t hear her walking away, so I know she’s out in the hall, pressing her forehead against the wall, trying to breathe.

     If my father wasn’t doing anything wrong, making Amy’s kids a mixed CD at one am… my mother wouldn’t have made me a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.  That’s all I’m sayin’.

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