Moving On by Robert A Meacham
After serving seven years in the penitentiary for writing hot checks, Daddy entered our lives with strict prison rules. He did not use physical abuse on us kids but his mental abuse left longer lasting scars.
Tall, slim, dark haired Daddy, jumped from job to job, year after year.
Baker by trade, he rose at 2 am each morning and returned from work in the early afternoon. His arrival announced by squealing brakes and rumbling engine of the Oldsmobile he drove.
“Kids come eat,” Mother summoned us kids to a small kitchen. The wooden table sat four but two extra chairs squeezed opposite corners for youngest sister and me. The only noise made was the sound of silverware scraping the plate as portions passed clockwise around the table. He wanted us kids to be silent like bread proofing in the oven.
As he leaned over his plate, the exposed light bulb hanging from the ceiling made his black hair shine. As he leaned back and drank from his coffee cup, brown eyes hidden behind coke bottle lens lay sunken beneath his down- turned brows, like a crow perched on a telephone line.
Daddy began tapping his plate, a symphony conductor just before the music begins.
“I got let go. His voice, harsh and the words flew from his mouth. My left knee began to jump up and down uncontrollably. I looked to my mother for reaction to see her thin lips quivering and her dry eyes looking sad. We kids looked at one another, sighed, and adjusted our bodies straight forward in our chairs.
When, without a word, Daddy stood, wiped his mouth on a napkin, and dropped it on the table before leaving the kitchen. We kept our stations until we heard his bedroom door slam and the television come on.
Before retreating to my room, I took one last glance back at mother. I suppose I was looking for some kind of farewell. Instead, I saw her standing there with sad sea green eyes, helplessly staring through me, her eyes telegraphed her sorrow.
Finding solace in the tiny room seems fitting. I pulled the patchwork quilt up to my neck, looked out the bedroom window, and listened for the snowflakes to hit the pane. I heard frozen limbs from bushes beneath my window reach up and brush against the glass. The wind gave cadence to the tic tock of the icy limbs that lulled me to sleep.