Sunday Scribbling #211 Wonder
He’d been drinking all day.Â Saturdays were the worst. Lolly closed her book and felt the familiar tightening of her stomach.Â He had been banging and slamming aroundÂ the kitchen for a few minutes.Â That was never a good sign.Â He wasn’t like this when mama was alive.Â Lolly sighed and stuck a pillow over her head.
Please Sloan, stay out his way today.
“Sloan!” He yelled.
Aw crap.Â She held the pillow tighter.
Now what?.Â Why can’t he just leave him alone.Â Take his beer and go sit in front of the television and go to sleep.
Sloan didn’t answer.Â It didn’t matter.Â If he answered he would tell him to come to the kitchen.Â If he didn’t answer he would just go after him.Â Either way it would end up the same.Â She threw the pillow on the floor and scooted up into the corner of the bed, arms clasped around her legs, chin resting on her knees.Â She was too thin with a pointed chin and eyes too large for her face.Â She hated her hair.Â On good days it was just curly but drizzly days like today it frizzed out like a cloud around her head.Â She scrunched her eyes closed tightly and willed her father away from Sloan.Â No good.
She heard her brothers’ door slam open and her father roar “Don’t you hear me calling you, boy?”
“Yes sir.” Sloan answered in a small voice.
“Guess you think you’re smart hiding in here when I need you.Â You come when I call you!Â Take the trash out, you useless little jerk!”
“Yes sir.” Sloan said again.
Please, please, please, please.Â She kept repeating to herself, a litany of hope. It never worked but she couldn’t help thinking that the one time she didn’t say it, would be the one time it would have worked.
She heard a thud and her brother cried out.Â It had happened often enough that she could picture it. A tear squeezed out and she put her hands over her ears, scissoring her legs, crumpling up the bed clothes.Â He never came for her and she felt so bad.Â Sloan told her not to be stupid that she should be thankful.Â He said he was glad and that made it seem worse.
She rocked back and forth still hearing the sounds of him hitting Sloan, her brother grunting in pain.Â Suddenly she really could see it.Â She was there with him!Â How could that be?Â Oh my God, he’s going to hit us again!
“Shhh Sloan, he’ll hear us!”Â The hand came at him again and he landed on the floor at the end of the hall.
“Stay down, Sloan.Â Just stay down.”
“I don’t know but I’m here.Â Just keep listening, I’ll stay with you.”
It’s okay Lolly, but I’m glad you’re here.”
Their father lumbered off to the living room.Â “Do you think he’ll stay gone now?”
“Yeah. He’ll fall asleep in his chair now.” Sloan sat up, moving limbs to make sure nothing was broken.
“Do you think you can get up?”
“I think so. Ouch!”
“I’m so sorry, Sloan. Come to my room.”
Lolly jumped off the bed and met him at the door.Â She closed it quietly and threw her arms around her brother hugging him gently.Â She stood back and they both looked at each other wide eyed.
“What just happened?”Â They stared at each other in wonder.
“Sit here and I’ll get you some ice.” Sloan’s eye was already puffing up.Â It was going to be a mess.
“Be careful, don’t wake him up.Â It doesn’t hurt that bad.”
Lolly waved him off and slipped out the door to the kitchen.Â She grabbed a towel from the rack by the sink and eased the freezer door open.Â Dishes were piled in the sink and the trash can was overflowing with beer cans.Â Not much food in the house but there was always plenty of beer.Â She scooped some ice into the towel and silently shut the freezer door, tiptoed past the living room where he was slumped in his ratty arm chair that was threadbare and leaking stuffing. He was snoring now, tv flashing shadows around the dingy room,Â volume on low.
She slipped back in her room and put the ice-filled towel on Sloan’s eye. “Hold that.”
“So want to try it again?”
Sloan nodded.Â “How do we start?”
Lolly grabbed up a stuffed rabbit and hugged it to her.Â She shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t know how we did it the first time.”
“Well, try closing your eyes and thinking about something.” Sloan moved the ice pack and winced.
Lolly closed her eyes.
“You know I hate math.”
Lolly opened her eyes and grinned.Â “So you haven’t done your homework yet?”
“No and maybe this will be a great time to try this out.Â You can help me through the quiz tomorrow.”
“Sloan, what are we going to do?Â It gets worse every time.Â He’s going to really hurt you one of these times.”
“I’ve been thinking about that.Â I think I’m gonna have to leave.”
“If you think I’m letting you leave by yourself Sloan, you’ve taken one too may hits to the head!” Lolly crossed her arms and glared at her brother.
“He doesn’t bother you.Â I don’t know where I’m going.Â I can’t take you with me.”
Lolly stuck her chin out.Â “You don’t know what will happen if you leave me here alone with him. I’m scared of him.Â I might never see you again!”Â Her lip quivered a bit at the last.Â Sloan knew if he was going to get away without her he would have to sneak out and carefully or she would catch him.
“That’s not going to happen!”Â Sloan jerked his head up,Â “No, you didn’t say it out loud, but that doesn’t matter anymore does it? I’d rather take my chances with you
Sloan groaned.Â “Fine.Â But if we are both going to go, we’re going to have to come up with a plan.Â I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him. He probably won’t even know we’re gone until he sobers up.”
“How’s your eye?”
“Why are you asking? You already know.”
“I do, but we are going to have to keep in the habit of talking unless we want to be labeled freaks.”Â Lolly grinned and nodded and pulled the chessboard out from under the bed.Â They’d been playing since they were twelve but this was going to be a whole new game.
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