Pieces of us
June 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
Smash. Smash smash smash. Every day. Smash. Every night. Smash. Breakfast. Smash. Dinner. Eventually we got used to it. Me and Mum. We wouldn’t even flinch as we heard the crash of a glass against the wall or the bang of a plate hitting the floor. The shards scattering everywhere like little pieces of our life.
My Dad used to only smash things when he was angry. Granted, he was angry a lot, but there was always some sort of trigger. Maybe my Mum had been nagging him about cutting the grass. Maybe I had been annoying him about giving me money. He’d yell something, usually not a word, just a general angry boom and grab the nearest thing he could smash before he walked out of the room. The broken glass on the floor saying all that there was left to say.
At first my Mum used to cry. She’d sort of crumple to the ground and sob into her hands, like she was praying. I’d try to sweep up all the broken pieces before she stood up again, so she wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. So we could both pretend it hadn’t happened.
I used to even joke that Dad was like a magician who becomes invisible in a cloud of smoke at the end of his act.
“Dad is magic,” I’d laugh “every time he breaks something he disappears. It’s amazing.”
Sometimes Mum would smile and pat me on the back. Other times she’d just stare through me, like I wasn’t even there.
You see Dads are supposed to be angry. Mums are nice and Dads are mean, that’s how families work. That’s normal. Dads are the ones that tell you that you’re not good enough and you need to ‘man up’ and shout at you through your bedroom door that you’re nothing and everyone hates you.
You Mum is the one that tells you everything is alright and makes you the best mash potatoes ever when things aren’t going great and says things like “not in front of him” when Dad smashes things.
We were sitting at the kitchen table, I think it was a Tuesday because we were eating chicken and we always have chicken on Tuesdays. Mum was looking out the kitchen window to the garden. Dad was looking down at his plate. I could tell he was angry. I tried not to look at him.
He picked up his dinner suddenly and smashed it against the wall. I watched all the gravy as it dripped down the blue paint like slime.
“Make sure to water the garden, son” Mum said.
“You mean now?” I asked, confused, sliding the gravy around my plate with a fork.
“Just make sure to do it as much as you can.” She didn’t look me in the eyes. She just got up, put on her jacket and walked out the front door.
Dad picked up his glass of milk, took one sip and then let it slip from his hand, the milk splatting all over my shoes like white rain drops.