A Real Good Model

“That’s a real good model house you’re building.” Dad’s voice was soft. Soft meant dangerous. “Looks just like ours.”

“S’posed to.” I didn’t look at him.

“Speak up when you talk to me.” Dad squatted down to my level in the doorway of my room. “How long’d that take you?” I was quiet. “How long?” His voice leapt to a roar. It felt like his yell shook the house, but I barely flinched. I saved flinching for worse.

“All weekend.” I still didn’t look at him.

His voice went soft again. “All weekend? That why the kitchen isn’t clean?” The floor creaked as he rose to looming height. “Why the lawn isn’t mowed?” His heavy footfalls made the floor tremble. “Why the hamper’s still full?” Was his anger shaking the floor, or was it my fear? “Wasting your time on this?” He kicked the model across the room.

The house lurched. Being mid-kick, Dad fell hard. I only swayed. As Dad got up and felt for the blood running from his head, I moved to sit by the model again. I gave it a little shove, the house shifted, and Dad fell down again. “Time for things to change, Dad.”

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