I had a stuffed animal named Louie, a ratty brown and black basset hound, that stayed by my side as a young child. Now it is frayed with one black eye missing. I wonder, at times, if I pulled the eye off. Sometimes I would feel so much anger as a child that I would destroy things.
I grew to hate my mother’s things because they seemed more important to her then me. She always had a centerpiece on the dining room table. We were not allowed to touch it. Even if we accidentally touched it we would get yelled at to leave it alone. On one particular afternoon, I could feel the anger rushing through me as I ran past the dining room table. I couldn’t control myself; I stopped and grabbed it and begin shredding it to pieces…
My hands are shaking, and I want to tear something, anything up. I want to destroy, anger flows through my veins. I yank a stiff plastic flower out of the centerpiece. My heart thumps in my head. My hand shakes as I rip it. The plastic makes it hard to rip, but I am ripping it with all my strength.
I hear her. I shove it back in. I am scared. I don’t want her to find out what I did. Her feet pound across the kitchen floor.
“What are you DOING?” She roars as I run up the steps as fast as I can.
“Nothing, I’m not doing anything.” I yell back, holding my breath, heart pounding in my head. Please don’t let her find out, my silent voice begs.
“All right then.” She responds and walks away. Her heavy footsteps grew softer as she walks through the kitchen. I let out a breath and sigh. What if she finds out, I fret? My heart beats so hard in my chest that I think it might explode. I feel like I am having a heart attack. I worry that I am going to get hit when she finds out. As I eat my cabbage during dinner, I stare at the centerpiece, willing it to look like it did before. It looks pretty good; she won’t find out, the silent voice reassures me. I don’t trust the voice-it lies sometimes. My stomach hurts and I don’t want to eat even though I love cabbage. She runs back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room. She seldom sits and eats dinner with us. Usually, she is too busy running around, hovering over us as we try to eat. I quickly push my chair back and jump up from the table. The cabbage sits half eaten on my plate.
“I’m done,” I shout as I run up the stairs. I shut the door, lock the door and take a deep breath. I listen through the door so I will know if she finds out. I can’t do anything but worry she will discover the bad thing I did.
I can hear her cleaning up dinner. She pauses. I freeze. She starts crying and yelling as she pounds up the stairs. She begins banging on the locked door, getting more hysterical with anger. “You better unlock this door, now!”
I try to reason with her through the locked door. “I’m sorry,” I cry through the door. I open the door.
“Did YOU tear up my centerpiece?” She questions as she waves the evidence around in my frightened, angry face.
“I didn’t mean to,” I shout. She steps into the hallway and quickly turns to grab my father’s black belt off the wall. I cower behind my twin bed. Her feet slam against the floorboards as she charges back in the room toward me. I try to get away from her, but the room is small and she blocks the door. Her face is tomato red against her short blond hair. As I desperately crawl across the floor, she reaches out and grabs my leg. I kick back and curl into a ball. I cover my head. Always, I cover my head. I cry into the overly-clean carpet as my heart pounds in my ears. They are pounding so hard that mom’s voice sounds muffled. She slashes me with the belt over and over again. Shoulders, back, behind, anywhere she can reach. “No, no, no, no, stop.” I plead with her, but it is like she has entered a trance. She is so mad that she cannot stop hitting me. She walks out of the room crying and shuts the door behind her. I am angry, but I am sad because my mother is crying. I stand up on shaky legs. I look in the mirror. Welts cover my arms. I lie on my bed and stare up at the white ceiling