The notebook was my confessor because there was no one else to talk through my plan with.
There were no conversations about things like abuse on TV or on the playground or in our kitchen. Kenny shrugged his shoulders. In June of that year, my father surprised us by buying a house. My plan died there.
If I killed my father now, there would be no house. I would no longer be the hero. I let go of the gun, the boots, and the Squirrel Cage, and concentrated on the new house and the new version of our family instead. In September of , in the living room of our new house, I watched the season two opening episode of the TV sitcom Maude. The show began with lots of references to drinking. The audience laughed as each exploit was recalled.
Boys will be boys. The next morning, somewhat shamed by the night before, Walter and Arthur decide to stop drinking. By lunchtime, Walter is already spiking his Shirley Temple. The whole time, laughter from the audience. Drunk is funny. Bea Arthur is funny. Then things turn dark. Walter tells Maude he drinks because all he sees when he looks into her eyes is how much she resents him.
The laughter stops. Walter looks appropriately shocked by his own actions. In the morning, Maude sits at the breakfast table with a cup of coffee and a black eye.
She tells her daughter she walked into a chocolate donut. Laughter again. It taught me to blame everything on alcohol. Though I never saw my father take one sip of alcohol in my entire life, from then on, when neighbors called the police, I had a ready excuse. Thank you, Maude. We were in our house for a year when I heard my parents arguing through my closed bedroom door.
I walked toward the kitchen and passed my brother sitting on the floor of his bedroom playing with GI Joes. In the kitchen, my father had my mother by the throat. Her head was against the brick wall. The pistachio colored bricks were her favorite part of the new house. I saw blood on her forehead and on the brick. A tooth must have hit his lip and the blood began to flow.
He reached up to his face, looked at his hand, then at me. While he walked to the bathroom, my mother yelled for my brother. None of us said a word until we hit Austin Highway. At the stop light, my mother sighed. It feels like you are drowning from the inside out. The instinct to hold your breath is almost involuntary, like a gift to keep you from speaking or crying out or taking in something that will prevent you from ever opening your mouth again.
We passed the Squirrel Cage and I remembered how that place had once been the church I sent my prayers to. He was a good father. I also became bitter and resentful and keenly aware of how much my mother seemed to best love the ones who hurt her the most. But, like most things in life, we adapt to our roles.
When we returned to the house the next day, the door to my bedroom had been removed. Over the years it became clearer. I could no longer try on clothes for the school week posing in front of the mirror that once hung on the back of my door. For the next five years, my father refused to speak to me. All through high school, I was into theater.
He never saw one of my productions, not even when we won the State UIL competition. He missed my high school graduation, seeing me go to proms, and taking part in any plans for the scholarships I received to colleges.
For five years, we never ate a meal at the same table, watched TV in the same room, or looked at old family photos. My brother and mother and father still did all those things together. I was the excommunicated one. Then he will talk to you. There is a long list of things I am not proud of in my life, but not giving in to my father is not on that list. I loved my Zia Armida.
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He was a watch engineer and mayor of their small town. My father adored my Zio. He called him his brother. I was living with my friend Lisa for the summer.
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Her parents went to the beach every June and July, so living together was a good solution for both of us. It was June in San Antonio. And just like that, we began to talk. I knew it was so he could save face in front of my Zio, but I played along. As a child, her family left Italy and moved to France after her father found work in the coalmines.
When she was twelve, and World War II began to escalate, they fled France, where the coalmines were being bombed, to return to Italy only to find Russian armies occupying their family land. My mother went through puberty hungry and scared, but entered adulthood strong and cunning. She picked me as the child to count on because she knew how to survive. When the chips were down, when my family was in crisis, I contacted doctors, lawyers, bankers.
I put all the pieces together for all the cracked eggs after all the big falls. It was a breath of force and finality. A few years after my mother died, my sister died as well. But nothing will stop him from honoring the vow he made to his mans before he took his last breath. Though Assata is calculating and deadly, his desire for someone to love and trust run deep, which leads him to JAZZY, an intellectual woman with a heart that craves things that can't coexist in her straight-laced life.
Fresh out of college, Jazzy walks into a storm of blood and bullets that she never expected to encounter. Will Assata be able to protect his queen? Or will her unlikely dance with the devil pave her way to an early grave, as she and her man seek to find the answer to a puzzle that joins them at the hip?