She sat at the kitchen table with her calculus book open and scribbling furiously on the paper. Even though she was physically there, her mind was in another world. A world of figures, problems that needed a solution and letters that meant something else besides being the building blocks of words. This world she loved without a doubt. It made sense to her. Finally something she could understand and figure out. She could spend all day and night in this world where there were no monsters.
Out of nowhere, came the loud voice that destroyed the world she loved.
“MICHELLE QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THAT NONSENSE AND GET ME ANOTHER BEER”
When she heard that voice her heart stopped. Especially when he was drunk and carrying on like he was at the moment. She looked at the clock on the wall. Still another hour before mom came home. At least he behaved when mom was around. But now she better do what he wanted otherwise the consequences could be bad.
She looked down and saw the tubing. The tubing was for his oxygen tank. He was always using the oxygen now. People say smoking is bad for you, but she saw it as a blessing. Sure it was bad for her father, but did wonders for her. Finally there was something that rescued her from the years of sexual and physical abuse. Hard to do either when you’re gasping for air. The thought of that made her angry.
All those people she told about what was happening to her over the years. How they ignored or turn it around to make her the bad person. She didn’t respect her father like she should by making these wild accusations. How when she finally got someone to believe her enough to do something, father also had a way of convincing them otherwise. She could not understand why they seem to be so blind to what was happening. She hated people for that reason.
“WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG!!!!! DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO” yelled her father.
“yes daddy” she replied in her meek voice.
“Do it” said an unfamiliar but strong voice.
She was startled. Where did that voice come from? Was there someone else in the house?
“Why are you waiting? You may never get a chance like this again.” said the voice
She realized that she didn’t hear the voice through her ears. She heard the voice in her head. She was thinking.
“Do what?” she thought back
“You are not that stupid. Step down on the tubing and watch that miserable excuse for a human being die. Have the satisfaction of killing someone and getting away with it. Everyone will assume that he finally succumbed to choking on his own fluids.”
“I cannot kill someone. That is wrong to take someone’s life”
“What does right or wrong have to do with anything? All these years he has used you to gratify himself, used you as a punching bag to handle his frustration, fucked with your mind and do you think that was right? He just did it because he could get away with it. Now is your time for some role reversal. Watch him be helpless to what you want. Watch his feeble attempts to save and protect himself. Have the satisfaction of getting away with it”
“No he is stronger than me, I cannot do it and then he will be really angry”
“Look at him. He is weak and helpless just like you used to be. He has no power over you. The only power he has is what you give him. DO IT NOW!!!!”
She turned around in her chair and looked at him. He was weak and helpless. What could he do without the oxygen that the tubing gave him? All she had to do was step down on the tubing and block the flow of oxygen. It was so simple to kill him and be rid of him. But she hesitated anyway.
“OH FOR FUCK SAKE. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET YOU TO DO SOMETHING? DO SOMETHING TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE. TO SLAY THAT MONSTER”
“I cannot do it. It is wrong to kill someone. What he did to me was wrong, but that doesn’t justify killing him. Two wrongs don’t make a right”
“Well then your father is right about one thing. You are pathetic and weak if you are unwilling to do something to save yourself. YOU DESERVE WHAT HE DID TO YOU. IF YOU CANNOT KILL ANOTHER PERSON THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD KILL YOURSELF INSTEAD. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU ARE GET ANY KIND OF RELEASE FROM WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU.”
The voice inside her head was gone. She felt so helpless and depressed now. At least when the voice was in her head she felt some strength and confidence that she never felt before.
Maybe the voice was right. She deserved what she got. That the other people she asked for help where right in not doing anything to help her. She was just a pathetic excuse for a person.
She got up from the chair being careful to step over the tubing and went to the refrigerator to get the beer. Do what is expected of her because that seems to be the right thing now.
After giving him his beer, she closed the calculus book. Threw away the paper she was writing on. Just didn’t seem that important any more to her. Would that be that way for several years before she finally found the answer she needed.