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  • R.T.

Remember When Dad Stabbed Me?

I've returned from thirty years later, looking back within my mind at the moment that defined me. I'm forty-two, so what does that say? Should I know? I guess not, but I'm time-traveling now, and looking at what happened; that I can't change it, and that the scars have turned to liver spots that cover my hand./

It wasn't serious, at first. That illness, a Poe-mind and disease my father had. But like reading Poe, the illness manifested deeper and darker in him. I can't say what triggered it, but tradition says "Don't go for the food too quick; say grace first." It's ironic, because the last thing on my mind was how graceful my father was when he stabbed his fork straight through my hand.

I've never bled so much in my life. Perhaps that's because I never wanted to bleed so much ever again. White people, you know? They pretend that The American Dream is like a happy dream. Get a job, live in a neighborhood, have kids, a wife. What does it all mean, though? Did he enjoy his job? Did he enjoy the neighborhood? Did he love us kids (I don't suspect so)? Did he love mom? David wasn't a very nice father; never lived up to his name.

I was just so hungry, you know? I was 12 and seven months, so I was pretty comfortable; was taking a break that Sunday from pretending that grace had to be said. I reached slowly, but the alcohol in his system must have made it seem like a jolting, ravenous, greedy, disgusting reach.

He had been playing with the fork in his mouth, licking it, twisting it, and I knew he was eyeing me. Mother was taking care of Charlie--Charlie was only five. The steaming bread was just so alluring. I remember the searing pain, though, and that bread became a horrid memory then. I didn't eat bread for years after. I didn't eat bread until I got so used to seeing the scars on my hand that I forgot they were scars and started thinking they were liver spots.

It's funny how the mind works, because all I see when I look back, is shadowy man with scales on his face, a forked tongue, and devilish pupils. We were raised on the Bible, and my morals are still there, but I'll never get to show my kids what it means to believe in something like that. I think that day I forgot about the Bible altogether, and focused on hating David. It's funny, because this is the first time I've recalled him as "father" or "dad" in so long, because David was poignant enough to remind me that I hated him. And when he died the other day, I actually called him Dad. It's only two letters less, but it was so hard to admit.