I Play My Own Game

November 5, 2008
By
I began to kneel on the floor as the block tower I was building slowly began to grow larger than I was. The window was slightly open and I could see my bangs whipping across my eyes. I placed each block on top of one another, being cautious of the wind, while making sure to maintain the same shape size and color pattern. When I anxiously leveled off the tipping tower with the final block, I slid back on my knees to admire my creation. This time, instead of concentrating on the height of my structure like I had done all the times before, I examined how fluid the colors seemed to blend with each advancing layer. Suddenly, a crash of the front door sent my tower tumbling to the ground; a more abstract color pattern was skewed across the floor, but it did not bare the same magnificence of the previous standing tower. I jolted to the inside of the closet and peeked through the shutter door. It was Daddy.

Mommy nudged my shoulder intending to wake me up. My eyelids slowly lifted over my eyes with a distinct soreness. I could see the sadness upon her frail face when she pulled back my bangs and kissed my forehead. This morning she appeared especially weak. I vaguely remember shouting from the other room the night before, but I couldn’t focus my attention amidst a distinct pounding within my head. I knew there was something she wanted to tell me but she couldn’t. “Let’s get ready for school Marcus”, she whispered shakily, then swept me off the bed to dress me and brush my teeth. On the way to school Mommy asked how I received the black eye. There was no time to probe the question, I had to think fast, because it is what I would have to do if the teacher asks, “I tripped into the coffee table”, I snorted reluctantly. Mommy shook her head in approval, and gently eased to a stop along the curb in front of school. “I’m sorry baby”, she turned facing me and said as I hopped out of the car and raced up the pathway to first grade. I knew it was not her fault, Daddy was always in control, and I didn’t want her to get hurt too.

Mommy and I had just finished dinner. She retreated to her bedroom like usual, so I decided to entertain myself with the television. I watched about three shows, much of the third I could not recall, and realized I was growing tired. Just when I shut off the television I saw headlights shine across the back wall. Almost like a reflex I dove under a pillow and prayed Daddy would not find me. I peered through the pillowcase and watched as he stumbled through the door. A stench of alcohol permeated throughout the house, along with echoing strings of slurred words. I knew what happened next in Daddy’s game. I did my part, closed my eyes and pretended to be invisible. I loved my Daddy, and I just wished he loved me too. I felt a biting pain across my neck, only increasing with each second that passes. His game was similar to Monopoly and the first move had just begun.

This morning was different. I knew I had only spent one day in school after two days off, so I reminded myself that I should have another four school days to go. “Why didn’t Mommy wake me up?” I thought to myself. Instead of waiting for her, I crawled out of bed rubbing my eyes because the cold seemed to glue them shut. Mommy was in the kitchen, crying. She had a single policeman on both sides of her. One of the policemen signaled for me to come over. He asked me, “Has Daddy ever hurt you?” I quickly glanced over to Mommy and she said “Honey, it’s alright, you can tell them,” I knew I wasn’t going to have to lie anymore, and Mommy was going to be her self again.


Weeks had gone by, and I sat in my room building yet another tower of blocks. Just like before, I organized the blocks by shape, size, and color, and awaited the moment I could put the final block at the top. The only difference between this time and the last will be that I am the one to knock down my own tower of blocks. Suddenly, I crashed through the blocks and gazed at how they shattered across the floor. My muscles began to tense into a smile as I initiated my next building with a red block. I turned and looked over my shoulder. This time I saw Mommy, “I love you,” I said as I continued to build my next masterpiece.





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