Good Game

"What the fuck is wrong with you? You're just like your daddy. You're never going to be shit," Mom yells at me, as soon as I step in the door. "Answer me," she keeps yelling.

"I don't know what I did," I try to answer.

"Speak up," she yells again.

"I don't, I don't know," stutters out of my mouth.

"You never fucking know, that's your problem," she balls up her fist, and I know what's coming. "You're so fucking arrogant, you think you know everything. But you never know anything. Just like your damned daddy."

I just put my arms up and cover my face. I don't get my guard up before her first punch. It lands on the side of my head. I block the rest. It doesn't hurt, not physically anyway. I learned to take a punch young, and now, they don't bother me so much. She keeps going, hopefully she'll tire out. She just wants to hear me cry, but I won't give her the satisfaction. 

She keeps hurling insults at me, nothing I haven't heard before. Most of it just repeats what I've heard my entire life. I don't know why she treats me this way, and that's the part that hurts more than anything else. I feel the tears coming on, but I won't let her see me cry anymore. I'd rather die than give her that joy. She'll just gloat about how I'll never be a real man and how only women cry.

"Stop," I yell at her from behind my arms.

"You must have lost your mind. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? I'm the parent," she hits me again. 

"Stop," I grab her fist.

I'm shocked I did that, and she seems somewhat appalled that I wouldn't just take it. I take the moment to just leave, and walk out. I walk fast, glancing back over my shoulder every now and then, but she doesn't follow me. I just keep walking until I get to the basketball court near our house.

I spend the rest of the day sitting near the basketball court, and sketching my surroundings on the back of my homework. When the street lights come on, I don't really have anywhere else to go. I know how the police are around here so I need to make my way back home.

I don't see any lights on or her car, but she can be inside waiting to ambush me. I sneak around the side of the house and peek through the window. She's not in there. Still I make my way to the back door and hesitate as I slide my key into the lock. 

I don't turn on any lights, until I'm sure I'm home alone. A plate of food wrapped in aluminum foil sits on the kitchen table. I already know what it is. She cooked my favorite food, then just left. This is how she always apologizes. She can never just say she's wrong or she's sorry. She just does something she thinks is nice and leaves me alone for a while. It's always like this.

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