The Play

Dad: Yelling. Louder. Sudden.
Me: Quiet. Listen. Keep a straight face. Loud heartbeat.
Dad: Ask a question. Intense eye contact.
Me: Try not to look away. One word answer. Try to remain calm.
Dad: Yelling. Rude comment. Swearing.
Me: Flinch. Don’t cry. Try to remain calm. Clench fist. Don’t say anything.
Dad: Finger pointing away. Banishment.
Me: Walk away swiftly. Don’t cry. Not yet. Just a little bit longer. Hold on. Enters room. Wait a moment. Lose control.
Brief intermission.
Mom: Soft voice. Ask a question.
Me: Dead voice. Try to sound respectful. Doesn’t sound quite right.
Mom: Ask again to make sure. Soft voice.
Me: Look away. Try harder to sound respectful. One word answer.
Mom: Ask about well-being. Soft voice.
Me: Lies. Look down. Try to sound respectful.
Mom: Leaves room.

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