this chapter is a bit oddly written, but Laur isn't exactly . . . mentally present, for the majority of it. he's describing all this from memory, too, so what happened was kind of lost in his mind.
- CHAPTER ONE -
The feeling of my mother’s hands covering my own was enough to allow me to relax; I was always anxious about messing up. I smiled, glancing back at her, and she smiled in return.
“Middle C, A,” Mama instructed as I returned my attention to the piano keys before me.
I frowned. “Which one’s A again?” I asked, and Mama guided my fingers to the right position.
“The one right between the second and third black keys in the sets of three,” she told me.
A smile flicked across my features again as I played the notes, and as Mama pulled her hands away I couldn’t help but start playing my own melody, my own tune. Mama always let me do that, as long as I went back to the lesson eventually.
“Anne!” a voice suddenly called, interrupting my free-play. I tensed; it was my father’s voice, and he didn’t sound happy.
Mama sighed. “Coming,” she called, and whispering a hushed “I’ll be right back,” she stood and left the living room.
I sat there a while, not really listening to what I could hear. I always . . . blanked out, persé, when I knew my parents were about to have an argument.
The only words I ever really remembered where my own name, “girly,” and another word — “gay,” I think. Whatever that meant. (And while I’m well-aware of what it means now, but as a child the age of seven, I didn’t understand the concept behind that word at the time.)
I winced as my parents’ more hushed voices raised — raised and raised and raised until they were yelling.
Yelling. Yelling, they always yelled. It hurt my ears, but it also hurt my heart. They argued so much. Arguing . . . all I really knew was that it was bad and it hurt people. I didn’t understand why people did it, why they tried to hurt others through it, or even how it hurt others.
Maybe because I was always so zoned out those times.
Everything was fuzzy around the edges; almost unfamiliar. I don’t know why it always happened when Mama and Dad argued — maybe it was because my mind was trying to convince me that it wasn’t real, that I was going to be okay, that we were going to be okay.
My mind was lying, of course.
A door slammed and I thought I heard Mama start crying. I didn’t move, though; things always got worse when I interfered.
Unconsciously, my hand went to my face, gracing the place where a hand-shaped bruise had once been.
A year ago. That’s the first time I tried to get in between them.
My fingers curled in on themselves as I recalled the stinging pain of the slap Dad had delivered.
I didn’t realize I was crying until I was burying my face in my hands, and the wetness of my cheeks soaked my fingers.
I didn’t like it when Mama and Dad fought. Didn’t like it because it hurt Mama so much and that made me hurt too.
I didn’t understand why they fought. I didn’t want to know, if I had to be honest.
Sobs racked my body; I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much before.
Crying, that’s for girls. Dad didn’t like it when I did girly stuff, like play piano or grow my hair long. I didn’t care.
Didn’t care; then Mama and Dad fought.
Fought, were they still fighting? I couldn’t remember anymore. Everything was blanked out.
Blanked out, couldn’t remember . . . didn’t remember when I went to my room, but everything was getting fuzzier, and I think I felt the softness of my bed underneath me. Couldn’t think right. Was tired.
Better to sleep than weep, I thought, somewhere back there, didn’t know where it came from. Just a passing idea as I drifted off.
Drifted off . . .
. . . and slept.