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The Knife The Knife

We knelt, as if in prayer. The floor was cold and hurt my knees. I guess I should have been scared. Most little girls would have been. But I was more concerned about the way the floor was biting my knees than the knife being held to my throat. I looked with imploring eyes at Mama, who sat on her rump six feet in front of me and was looking at the weirdo with the knife.

“Frank, don’t you hurt my baby,” she pleaded.

I opened my mouth to tell Mama that I wasn’t scared. It was just that my knees hurt so bad I thought if I looked down at them I would see fireworks shooting from beneath them. But I shut my yap up right quick when Frank pulled that blade in just a little closer to my tender, sunburned skin.

Across the way there, Mama winced and stretched out one very carefully manicured hand. Shit, I thought. This idiot just might be serious this time. Goosebumps appeared from nowhere across my legs, my arms, my neck. Yikes! Not on my neck, please God.

“You ain’t going nowhere, Doreen,” Frank said. I couldn’t see him, of course, but I could picture the bastard in my mind. He would be sweating and that little black swipe of hair that he used the Pomade to swipe back, would be falling in his hateful eyes. Surely, he needed to get that hair out of his eyes, didn’t he? This couldn’t go on too much longer. It never did.

Mama was crying silent little raindrops of tears now. It made me sad to see her so deflated, like one of them balloons you blow up and then slowly let the air seep out just to hear it squeal. Mama wasn’t squealing though. Just crying and nodding her head in defeat. The knife clattered to the floor and Frank practically shoved me to the floor in an attempt to get at his precious Doreen. Hello. Am I in the room? The two of them sat like lumps, hugging and rocking, hugging and rocking.

“I’m sorry, Doreen. I didn’t mean it. I wouldn’t hurt you, you know that. You just make me so mad...”

Jesus, what garbage. This is how it always ended. Give me a break. Wouldn’t hurt her? What about me for Christ’s sake? I plopped back on my butt and tried to rub some feeling back into my wounded knees.

1998


K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2006


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