(This is the second chapter of this short story. Follow the links below to read previous chapters)
Chapter 1 http://wp.me/p5AbPX-Ox
Now off to the kitchen we go.
Our kitchen had peel and stick tile on the floor and a rotary dial telephone mounted to the wall. The stove and the sink shared a wall and the fridge stood tall and stout across from them. If memory serves me right, and of course it always does, we did most of our fine dining right there on that laminate topped bar. Microwaves weren’t a thing back then so heating up the grub required the use of a pot or pan and some fire. Yes, fire… from a stove… a real stove… with real fire which, by the way, came from one of those little wooden sticks with the red and white tips known as a match. All it took was a single scrape across a rough surface and voila, you were holding the only thing standing between you and that steaming hot cup of coffee. Naturally, the coffee beans had been picked, cracked and crushed fresh from the field, just hours earlier.
Ok, enough of that… let’s get to the memory…
I have total recall of the night I was sitting on a barstool in the kitchen with my older brother. Yes, I was often subjected to being left in close proximity to one of them but who would have ever thought he could injure me with my mother sitting within arm’s length of us. After all, this was a supervised visit and the lights were on. The paperwork from the courthouse stated plain and simple that I should never be left unattended, without mama or daddy present, especially since that incident with the kerosene in the coke bottle. Well, mama was talking on the phone when Chuckie decided to blow black pepper in my face to make me sneeze. Did he realize I had eyes that could be damaged? Badly! And they say he was the smart one. Needless to say, mama’s telephone conversation with my favorite uncle ended pretty quickly when that black pepper got in my brown eyes. Mama grabbed me and ran to the bathroom, and I can still hear the water rushing in my ears every time mama pushed that handle down trying to flush my eyes.
The up and down motion was making me nauseous. The only reprieve was the occasional lull created when he slowed to catch his breath. My inner thighs were sure to be sore and bruised and my legs ached so badly that numbness would have been a welcome sensation. I knew I couldn’t last much longer, but I was afraid of what might happen if I tried to stop him. I also knew that shifting in any direction, to ease my pain, would likely interrupt his rhythm and that would in turn, cause him to lose control.
I guess riding that tandem bike through the streets of San Francisco wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Memories, memories, memories… where shall I start?… Ok, how about this…The playroom… the time my dad and his friends hired a “hit man from Detroit” to come down and “take care of a situation”. To this day, I still remember wondering how the hell “Uncle John” was gonna take care of anything without ever opening his mouth. He never uttered a single word. He just sat there with an oversized Stetson on his head and an extra long trench (Godfather looking overcoat) with his hands hidden deep inside his pockets. Wait…I guess he had hands… to be honest I never saw them so he could very well have been handless… which would make the fact that he never spoke even more of an anomaly for a man hired to “take care of a situation”.. Shit… was this real life? It had to be. I can still see those damn near thigh high, shiny, black boots he was wearing in my mind’s rear view mirror.
Unfortunately, I have no further recollection of what ever came of “Uncle John” and his silent self. However, I have vague memories of sipping that sweet, fruity tasting, warm tea with the funny smelling froth on top and my granddaddy’s old pocket watch swinging from side to side in front of me as I dozed off.
(up next: Chapter 2– The Kitchen)
This is a casual walk down memory lane filled with the truth as, often, only I remember it.
As life would have it my childhood was fraught with the many trials and tribulations as come with growing up “in the middle”. Yep, I’m a middle child and a girl to boot and as if that isn’t enough, I grew up on a farm way back in the woods. Lucky for me boarding school and the witness protection program saved me from a life of being picked on by my brothers, overlooked by my parents and identified by the old man I stiffed for two chickens and a guinea.
Memories, memories, memories… where shall I start?… Ok, how about this… a memory for each room of the house I grew up in…
—up next—Chapter 1 The Playroom
She woke to find that the sun was no longer beaming on her face. Noticing that the temperature had dropped, she instinctively wrapped her arms around her body. She knew she needed to either adjust the thermostat or get a sweater because her short sleeved top was obviously no match for the cool October night. Ava stood and made her way to her bedroom closet. She chose a soft, fluffy throw instead of a sweater. She put it around her shoulders and walked over to her dresser where she sat and brushed her hair. Although she was facing the large oval shaped mirror, the reflection looking back at her was not her own, but that of a stranger, holding a knife in one hand and duct tape in the other.
Blind since birth, Ava never saw him coming.
I was sixteen. He, a mere fourteen months my senior. We sat facing one another, my knuckles wrapped tightly around the armrest, his hands lying casually in his lap. Conversation was light, the air around us tense for me, for him, not so much. He smiled mischievously and I, trying to hide the sheer panic creeping through my every vein, returned that smile with what could not have been more than a grimace. Suddenly, his position changed, as did his facial expression. We were no longer eye to eye. It appeared that he was rising, but without standing. From where I was seated and from what I could see between the tears flooding from my eyes, the smile on his face had become a huge grin accompanied by a full fit of laughter.
By the time the plane leveled, my brother had regained his composure while I was still dry heaving into an in-flight barf bag, and my mother was feeding me ice chips and rubbing my neck. I’d never flown before.