There’s a problem child at school who gives her hell everyday. She cares about the kid but he won’t do his work and likes to show off his fluency in disrespect. If she calls the mom, the step daddy takes a belt to the kid’s body – over and over. Broken bones won’t fix behavior and broken homes are what’s in style.
She drives home to enter the world of a different broken home – her own. Her daddy never beat her with a belt but his bottle became his idol when she was just an infant. Several times she’d wished he’d just beat her.
Mother is out buying ingredients to make soup because the temperature is predicted to drop below freezing after the upcoming storm. Father is where he usually is in his spare time. He calls her into the living room to come see him. He’s on the couch, slightly intoxicated.
She asks, “What?” impatiently. She’s had a long week with rowdy kids and wants to lay in bed to dream of better days.
He pauses and forces out the words, “I spent the night in jail.” He tries to fight back tears but his effort is fruitless. “DWI.”
The man looks broken, but she has no pity, only disgust. Pity once lived in her heart, but it died long ago. It was a well gone dry. All that’s left now is contempt and disdain.
She says nothing. Through his tears he says, “You can shoot me. I wish someone would.” She leaves.
It’s staring to thunder outside with an occasional slash of lightning. She prepares to bring her dogs inside the house. The house will be a muddy mess in the morning, but the dogs will live. That’s all that matters.
Mother gets home and talks to her about the legal situation. Mother spent $2000 on bail money and is about to blow her inheritance on a lawyer. The money was literally months away from being used as a down payment to begin building a new home – a nicer home, one they had always dreamed of. Now it’s money for a court date.
“Part of me wishes he had just crashed and died,” says mother. Mother feels terrible saying those words, but Girl feels the same. Girl has wished death upon Father for fifteen years.
The storm outside grows.
Girl tries to work on her homework. The storm is slowing the satellite connection. She’s patient, but tired. The saddest part of struggles is when she stops caring anymore. She has lost interest in the fight and removes herself, emotionally, from the war.
Let the boy drop out of school, let the father drown in drunkenness, and let this massive storm rip away everything she’s ever known. She’s gone. Is it sad or is it…illuminating?
Yes, the storm will always pass. In the end, it leaves a trail of ice in its wake.