A slam on the front door followed by heavy steps on the stairs woke me up in the middle of the night. I opened my eyes and I noticed Marie’s face close to mine with her arms wrapped around me. My gaze shifted from her hands to her nose, her lips and her eyelids; I imagined they were Mama’s. I covered my ears with both hands, closed my eyes and tucked myself closer to Marie. Doing this somehow made me feel safe for as long as I can remember.
“Get out,” a low, dark voice echoed in the room. I tried to figure out who it was from but a bright beam of light blocked my sight.
“Papa!” Marie’s short and weak scream startled me.
Realizing it was my father and not some alien from Ben10 calmed the mouse inside my chest. I got up from our bed and hugged him. But he was drenched in sweat and smelled like urine and I didn’t like the stench so I let go.
“Get out and shut the door will ya?” Papa’s authoritative voice told me something was wrong for he only used that tone whenever Marie and I did something wrong. I glanced at Marie and she was hugging herself in the corner of the bed. Something is definitely not right.
I headed outside with my eyes half-opened. Before closing the door, Papa’s belt buckle dropped on the floor. I opened my right eye to see what’s going on.
“CAN’T YOU FOLLOW SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS, BOY?”
I know better than to make him mad.
After a few minutes, the door shrieked opened and I quickly went inside while Papa wobbled out from the room. I ran straight to Marie.
“What did Papa say?” I whispered.
Instead of answering back, Marie pulled me closer and fixed my hair. Then she ran her hands through my face and kissed me on the cheek and then on my forehead. Drops of tears fell from her eyes to her cheek.
She has always been so emotional. She was crying and I didn’t understand why.