Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entry #148

by Restina Pembroke

Sara hated these days; Derek's moods, everyone expectant, on edge, the smallest things creating the largest reaction.

The air itself - tainted. The car journey; prolonged in silence.

"Did you see that?" Derek pointed.

"Jumped the lights. Wanker. If I did that I'd get nicked!"

Sara knew this was the build up.

"Will the water be warm?" Asked young Charlotte, her sister Isabelle remained mute.

"I’m driving on a Sunday after driving all bloody week. You’re gonna swim, warm or not!"

This was how it started; grumbling about the world, idiots, the 'great unwashed' (as Derek called them) - then work. The extent of his week's frustrations aimed unashamedly at the kids.

Sara couldn't bear this part – father or not.

Having agreed his fatherly duty - swimming it would be - no deviation. Stubbornness or pride?

Pride? Sara doubted he was capable.

"Rain," placated Sara.

"So what? It’s an outdoor pool!" Sneered Derek - smothering all in a cloud of antipathy. "Christ, you’re stupid."

The girls dipped their heads, mutually dissolving into their seats.

Sara's teeth felt they might retract under the pressure; her jaw muscles beginning to ache.

"You've got your keys and mobile. Ring me when it’s over. You can watch, play happy families! I'll be in the cafĂ© filling paperwork. Shove their towels in the boot - chlorine makes me heave."

It wasn't chlorine that made Sara sick.

Sara would ring him alright - when they were all safely in the car and happily half-way home.


Bernita said...

An extremely accurate picture of emotional abuse.

Restina said...

Thank you. Not based on personal experience, I'm pleased to say.

Deb S said...

I agree with Bernita, very realistic portrayal.

Lena said...

I actually have seen some fathers/husbands with such attitude, very realistic indeed. Loved your story.

kashers said...

Very good. The building of tension just perfect. Really felt for the Just goes to show flight can be more effective than fight. Well done.

kashers said...

What I meant to say was that I really felt for the girls dissolving in their seats.

Aniket Thakkar said...

They'll much better off without him. If you are bringing work to home then something is not right - either with work or with home.

Very well written.

DILLIGAF said...

A male version of my mother! Wasn't expecting to read anything like this.

It is very accurate and supurbly written.

peggy said...

Accurate and your writing put me in the story. In reality, too bad she won't drive away. Her anger now will dissipate and she'll do it again next week.

I always wonder what is the one thing that gives the abused person the strength to really change it all. (Just my observation--no reflection on your story.)

Well done.

Laurel said...

Disturbing. Sara is the mother, I presume? I'm pretty mad at her for retreating and leaving the kids with no shield from their father. They need to fire him and start fresh.

This really sucks you in. "dissolving in their seats" made me want to cry.

Pallav said...

Scary! this struck a nerve somewhere.
Excellently done.


laughingwolf said...

perfect capture, restina...

Restina said...

Thank you, Deb S, Lena, Kashers, Aniket, Four Dinners, Peggy, Laurel, Nothingman and laughingwolf for your encouraging comments.
This piece was originally over 900 words. I was worried that the 'feeling' wouldn't come across in this much-cropped version.
I'm pleased it struck a nerve and held interest.

PJD said...

wadda jerk.

Wow! Dropped it from 900 to 250? I'd say you kept in all the important bits. Good job of editing.

austere said...

You had me caring for her, hoping she got away.

catvibe said...

Heart rending yuckiness in that father guy. Well written.

Craig said...

Well written. Great job at creating tension, both underlying kind and plain on the surface.

Restina said...

Pjd, Austere, catvibe and Craig.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Your feedback is very much appreciated. x

Kartik said...

Wow. This really struck a chord.

JaneyV said...

My heart goes out to these poor girls dissolving into their seats. I fully understand how explosive temper makes you do this.

I hope Sara changes the locks when she gets home. It's all very well to take flight but to fly back to the viper's own nest doesn't seem very clever.

James R. Tomlinson said...

Stylistically, this is good, very very good. Damn, I got another one to put on my short list.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Good for Sara. Well done piece here. Very realistic.

Preeti said...


"dissolving in their seats..." very very well put... it actually happens doesn't it. we do dissolve when we see/hear things that we do not want to... beautiful.

That man is a jerk!

Aimee Laine said...

Yeah! Good for her!! :)

Anonymous said...

my caveat

Something I Would Keep

Something that no one's mentioned: This is brilliantly effective as both an American and a British family. There's just enough colloquial to place it, give it a setting, and just enough universal to relate to. (Which, actually, I do. Personally identify with.)

Something I Might Tweak

"Will the water be warm?" Asked - the verb, asked, shouldn't be capitalized. Minor nitpicky, I know. :)

Chris Eldin said...

Very well done. I felt so many emotions as I was reading. And to answer some of the questions in the comments, Sarah can't fight back. The abuser never retreats, and it always ends up being an escalation. There is no winning. The only way is to get away from this type of person.