Father watched from the other side of the kitchen table as I finished my conversation and hung up the phone. “Was that Doug you were talking to?” I nodded.
“What are you still dating him for? He’s just a “pump jump” at the gas station. All he does is pump gas. He’s never going to make any money…”
Father’s voiced droned on as I stared at the wallpaper; its design of coffee grinders splattered across the wall. I chose a grinder behind him to become a focal point for my eyes to settle on. I breathed slowly in and out, calming myself. I attempted to turn off my ears from inside my head, but instead I felt a snap. My mind swirled as his words dug into me. I kept staring.
“You should know better,” he continued. “He’s a loser. He drives too fast and he’s probably going to kill himself driving like that. I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you…”
The grinder betrayed me as its handle started spinning. I tried to block out Father’s words but the churns of his words sliced into my brain. I grew dizzy. I stared more intently at the grinder and willed for my brain to stay intact. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, you stupid dope.” I stood frozen, inhaling and exhaling, concentrating on my breath. The slices and chops in my head became so loud that I no longer deciphered Father’s words but only watched his lips moving.
I felt my brain reduced to fine powder. I thought I saw my mother walk into the room. I looked down at the floor, the dust of my heart and mind scattered across it.
I heard her shriek, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”
I turned towards the voice and watched as she grabbed father by the arm.
“We’re going to be late for church,” she told him. They calmly walked out the door and got into the car.