The push lawnmower made vibrations which shook my hands, my arms, up to my shoulders, to my brain, to my heart, to my stomach. Everything I tried to hold in, all the bad feelings kept below the surface were shaken up by the vibrations and I was unable to prevail against it. Like the reverse of electro-shock therapy, it made things worse; it stirred up feelings tried to keep down.
“The lawn needs to be mowed today,” Father told me. I hated mowing the lawn. I figured I better just get it over with and do it. I went out and started up the push mower, and began mowing the side lawn. The vibrations from the mower messed with my nervous system. I kept pushing, and it kept vibrating, and messed with my brain signals. It made the nerves in my arms shake. I thought dark thoughts. If I broke up with Doug, Father would stop tormenting me about him. If I broke up with Doug, I wouldn’t have to put up with Father’s mood swings. I finally finished the side lawn. I shook as poison churned inside my stomach.
I called Doug. “I don’t want to go out with you anymore,” I told him. It made perfect sense to me. He seemed puzzled. “Why?”
“I just don’t want to. Leave me alone.” I hung up the phone and went to my room. My arms still shook. My brain hurt. Was it ever going to be any better?
Within a day or two Doug and I were patched up and back together. He seemed to be able to handle my mood swings. He had a mean streak of his own. Nobody’s perfect.
On Friday, Doug got a dollar an hour raise. His boss told him, “Now don’t act like you’re rich and forget to come in on Monday.”
On Saturday, I drove home from work, got out of my car in the driveway and closed the door. My dog came up and playfully jumped on me. I patted his head and walked to door. I planned to call Doug and tell him I wanted to go to the mall, and come pick me up. I noticed that Father was not in his garage; it was closed up and the lights were off.
Mother stood in the kitchen, grabbing a tissue, with her back towards me when I walked through the kitchen and into the hall. Mother sobbed. “Bridget,” she called to me. I turned around in the hallway. “There was an accident.” She broke into huge sobs, her dark hair shaking as she tried to speak the words.
Finally, Father, the old bastard, is dead. I’m free! For a brief moment, I was relieved.
My sister Margie joined us in the hallway and seeing that Mother was unable to speak she blurted out, “Doug’s dead.”
What? Everything froze for a second. I stared at the wallpaper. I looked back at Mother sobbing uncontrollably. I looked at Margie’s blank face. I turned around and went upstairs to my room. What am I going to do now?