I’m tired of it all.
I’m tired of all the deep inner work and still feeling sad.
I’m tired of having to work so hard and never getting to play. I want to play. I want to have fun and enjoy life, while I’m still young. I want to be a little girl; after all, I’m only twelve years old.
I started to head out of the living room. I grabbed my new paper doll set with the cut-out clothes and put it in my satchel to take with me. Donna and I always loved to play paper dolls. This was going to be a fun day. I was just going to get my bike and ride over to Donna’s house when Mom and Dad walked in.
“Sit down,” Dad said. “We want to talk to you about something.”
I froze in the middle of the living room. It was a beautiful day and I could hear the birds singing in the trees outside. It was summer; a choir of cicadas buzzed their haunting calls loudly in unison over the swishing of a soft breeze. I was sure I could hear Timmy and Linda playing next door and laughing.
Dad had the punishing look this time. His shirt was buttoned unevenly and had a stain on the front, like he spilled a drink or something. He was chewing on his ubiquitous cigar. Mom stood slightly behind him. She was stubbing out the last of her cigarette in an ashtray. She was wearing her favorite lounging suit she wears when she relaxes, the one with the stripes, and her fluffy slippers. She had been sitting there on the long overstuffed sofa all day in that outfit. She didn’t cook or clean on the weekends. That was my job.
All the living room windows and doors were closed and the drapes drawn almost completely. Only a tiny sliver of sunlight stabbed through onto the living room carpet. It fell upon my feet, warming them up. Mom’s cigarette smoke lingered in the room and there were two half-full martini glasses on the coffee table and a set of plane tickets to somewhere. The air was acrid and stuffy. I couldn’t get a breath. The TV was on in the TV room and I could hear someone was shouting about killing someone.
“We’ve supported you long enough.” Dad barked out while he chewed his stubby cigar. “You’re twelve now and should be earning your keep. We’ll keep a roof over your head and a minimal amount of food in the house. Everything else is up to you. Your schoolbooks, clothes, winter wear, bus fare, snacks and all extras will be your responsibility from now on. It’s time for you to get a job and pay your way in life.”
I turned to look at Mom and she looked away. She sat down on the sofa and got comfortable, pulled out another cigarette and picked up a martini. I looked back at Dad. He chewed his cigar.
“So, what are you going to do about it??” Dad spat out.
I stared at them for a moment, then laid my satchel with the paper dolls on the coffee table next to their martinis & plane tickets. Then I turned and walked into my bedroom and closed the door. I locked it and lay down on my bed and began to cry. And I’ve never stopped….