When I went outside and looked for my beaber, I simply couldn’t find it. The storm must have washed it away. Again, I started crying. But now! Now, my father responded to my tears. He came over to where I was and asked me what was wrong. I refused to answer him. I simply crossed my arms and gave him a mean, pouty expression. With a furrowed brow and pursed lips, I just glared at him. I’ve seen mom give this look when she’s angry. Maybe it will work for me?
Not a chance in Hell. My father simply laughed and told me to go get the mail. I stood my ground. I was not going to let him make fun of me, like my cousins did. I was going to be just like Mom. She just had more practice at doing this. Though, I will admit when my father raised his voice and demanded that I go get the mail, I lost my resolve. The last thing I wanted was a whipping. Not that my father ever raised a hand to me, but the tone in his voice was intimidating enough.
So I walked down the gravel easement to the row of mailboxes. I would kick a stone or two along the way, pouting and mumbling some curse about how I wish my father would go away forever or how he needed to be left out in the dark with all those monsters. Let’s see how he would like it. That was my favorite stuffed animal, and he didn’t care.
When I got to the mailbox, the tears started flowing even more so than before. But these were not tears of sadness. These were tears of joy! Inside the mailbox, protected from the torrential rain that had come down the night before, there was my precious beaber. It wasn’t ruined. It wasn’t lost. It was safe and sound, and now back in my arms. I was NEVER going to let it go again. I promised beaber over and over that I truly loved him, and that I would never abandon him again.
I hated my father.
While I learned that the crying game was not going to work on my father, Mom refused to give up. The yelling never stopped. Doors slammed. Dishes broke. And the phone calls when my father was away increased. I could never truly hear what Mom was saying because she kept whispering on the phone. But I could hear her giggling. Plus, she always hung up when my father would come into the house.
One night, there actually was no yelling or screaming. There was no crying, no tears. Mom simply walked into her room, packed up a couple of suitcases and walked out of the house. There was some strange man in a red pickup truck waiting out in the drive way for Mom. She dropped her suitcases in the back of the truck, climbed into the cab and never looked back. I couldn’t believe it. Mom was leaving?!