Subcutaneous Magazine Issue 1 - Page 29

Family Time “I’m sorry, but we’re getting ready for a family dinner,” I yelled out into the living room. by Carrington Opper “Mark, this is your Uncle Ted,” a voice said. “I’d The sun barely broke through the trees in the spot like to come in.” where we buried him and cast out the nightmare of his years “Uncle Ted, well you are family!” I said excitedly as of abuse. I opened the door. “It’s all over,” I said to Katie. “Mark, what is going on?” uncle Ted asked with She just stared at the mound of dirt in front of her as I concern. put the last few shovels of dirt on top. “We were about to have dinner an--” The shadows of the circling birds overhead danced Uncle Ted cut me off. “Where is your father?” through the sparse breaks in the foliage, as they called out to “He hasn’t come back from the store yet, but I their friends about what they had witnessed. know Kevin and Katie would love to see you; they’re in Our gaze was fixated on the mound; Kevin, Katie, and the playroom!” I, until I broke the silence. “We should get home, mom will Ted’s expression turned from concern to a mix of be worried.” anger and fear, “I just saw them… and that is why I am A cool breeze blew across our sweat and dirt covered here.” skin as the sun slowly set behind us, putting to rest a burden “Don’t worry, Ted! Dad isn’t going to hurt us ever which had affected us for so long. Taken away from us was again!”’ the 16 years of my life and the six years the twins had en “Mark, goddammit! I just came back from the dured his abuse. Dad was a problem drinker, who lived by cemetery; where they are supposed to be!” the belt, so it was only fitting for him to die by it. I couldn’t “Sit down and stay for a nice family meal, Uncle watch him raise his hands at us again, so when he finalTed.” ly passed out, I tightened his 38W, well-worn leather belt “Mark... where are your brother, sister, and your around his neck and just held it there. At first I was angry, mother… my sister?!” and I’ll admit that fear of my actions and consequences did “Ted,” I replied calmly, “I would like to have a nice soon take over when I began to feed the belt through the family dinner, for once in my goddamned life, okay?” buckle, but looking at the black eyes my mother wore made “You fucking crazy piece of shit! Those are corpspulling the strap almost feel heroic. Finally, Mark would be es!” good enough, I thought. Finally, we could be a happy family, “They are my family, and I want to finally have and live a normal life together. family time!” The trees were dense for awhile until the area cleared Ted just stared at me with tears in his eyes as the out into more of what seemed to be a mile or two of rough police came in. An officer cleared his throat and spoke. terrain. It is hard to believe that the unforgiving wilderness “Mark, we need you to come with us.” can be so close to the comfort of the modern world: A com Uncle Ted, holding back tears, turned to the officer fort we rarely enjoyed. Our father saw to that. I found more and pleaded, “Just let us have this family meal.” comfort in the woods as a child than I ever did at home. I smiled as I finally got to have my family time. Coming here was my sanctuary as a child. Instead of going “Don’t worry, Ted! Dad isn’t going to hurt us straight home from school, I’d come here to have a moment ever again!”’ where I didn’t feel a belt, hand, or word which cut us all “Mark, goddammit! I just came back from the down. cemetery; where they are supposed to be!” Katie and Kevin had fallen behind, so I put Katie on “Sit down and stay for a nice family meal, Uncle my shoulders and took Kevin’s hand as we could see home on Ted.” the horizon. “Mark... where are your brother, sister, and your “We’re home now.... Time to be a family,” I said with mother… my sister?!” the first true smile I had made in quite some time. “Ted,” I replied calmly, “I would like to have a nice family dinner, for once in my goddamned life, okay?” *** “You fucking crazy piece of shit! Those are corpses!” “Mom, d ad isn’t going to hurt us ever again,” I said. “They are my family, and I want to finally have She just stared at the TV. I kissed her on her cool fore- family time!” head and started looking in the refrigerator for some ingre Ted just stared at me with tears in his eyes as the dients. I always wanted a nice family meal, one like the Nor- police came in. An officer cleared his throat and spoke. man Rockwell paintings portrayed. There were noodles in the “Mark, we need you to come with us.” cabinet and a jar of meat sauce in the refrigerator. I’d actually Uncle Ted, holding back tears, turned to the officer never done much cooking so this was a welcome surprise. and pleaded, “Just let us have this family meal.” “I’m making spaghetti… hope everyone is hungry!” I smiled as I finally got to have my family time. Knock Knock Knock