Baby, I been praying hardNo silent treatment this time, just a good rollicking curse-laden lecture, driven by fear and spat out in endless breathless words that made me cry like I did when I was eleven and Loch would scold me for going too close to the breakwater/highway/monsters. It's only effective if you can draw out their emotions, someone told him once, probably the fucking fortune teller, as he learned how to parent on the road, amusement-park style. I learned within two months how to cry on command just to get out of the room but now it just happens and I can't control it and that really pisses me off. He takes my anger personally to the point where we take a moment before throwing our words out, sharpening each one to a fatal point while the room fills with witnesses and supporters and peacemakers too. Sam puts his hand on my shoulder and all it does is make me hurl the words that much harder until I have laid out my side so nakedly and honestly no one can pick it up to argue, it's just too fucking sharp now. For my efforts I am rewarded with yet another list of all the things that make me terrible, right down to the fact that my emotions took up so much energy in my body, they stunted my growth.
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be counting stars
Take that money
Watch it burn
Sing in the river
The lessons I learned
And yet I am smug and standing my ground, because he is afraid. And because his hypocrisy is staggering. I yell that too but it's no match for his own pointy points and pretty soon I have won the room. I play the grief card last, twisting paper cuts into his very soul with its edge.
I'd dip him in iodine to make him sting on top of it all if only I could lift him but I can't so instead I remind him that I'm trying hard to please him and trying hard to please the Devil with such fewer timely resources and trying to keep Benjamin relevant and the children happy and the other boys content in their lives and he tells me I've got it wrong, that it's all backwards and everyone should be trying to please me for once because I'm no longer that eight-year-old girl running through the woods, trying to keep up, hoping I'll be invited or at least not sent away this time. Trying to be one of them.
Bullshit! I can't breathe anymore. Fuck this.
You've got it wrong, Peanut. We're trying to make you happy but you are determined to be miserable.
No, I'm not. I just really don't want anyone else to die.
You know, I didn't think it was possible to break a human being this badly but they really did it. You know that? They really did.
I'll be okay.
I'm losing faith in that statement at this point. Something's gotta give.
Status quo, Locket. Just leave it.
The sunny day drifts into darkened twilight and I find Loch in the tiny studio we've set up in a little-used corner on the first floor. He is drinking tea and drawing. He looks up. The anger has passed, and in it's place hopeless indemnity has settled.
He asks what the kids are up and if I'd like tea. I nod but point out more than tea, I could use a hug. I figure he will tell me to go ask Caleb for one but instead he slides off the stool and comes to me, arms wide.
I will never get used to this. I don't trust him, Pea. I don't like his tactics. His games are too big.
You have my heart.
I want your soul too. I want to steal it back from him and then you'll be whole again.
That would be nice but since we're a package deal, if we can get mine, we need to get yours at the same time. Now, please, can we talk about other things?
Okay. He pulls me in tight against the plaid flannel wall and I exhale for so long I think I am a slow leak in a small balloon, deflating flat and pokey in his hands. He laughs.
Stay here and draw with me.
What are we drawing?
I dunno. Stuff.