" Mirror, Mirror... " by Xavia Kemena
Mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table, looking at each other. For some reason, we often starred at each other for hours. Never saying a word, not feeling anything in particular, just looking at each other. It was soothing and peaceful. Plus we were pretty and so similar that it was like looking in a mirror.
That day, her boyfriend was upstairs drinking. It was my sincere hope that, this time, he’d drink himself too death and be out of our lives for good. No such luck. He must have sensed that mom and I were having a moment, so he came down stairs and started trouble.
While he was calling mom a bunch of bitches and whores, I was watching him, waiting for the right moment. Mom just sat there chewing her gum and stringing it out on her finger, much like a teenager would do. Since his verbal abuse didn’t elicit a response, he did the unthinkable; he pulled out his pocket knife, opened it and stabbed my mother!
I reacted at lightning speed. Reaching for the heavy old radio to my left, I jumped up and was about to bash his head in. In mid swing, my eyes went to mom. I expected to see her bleeding, but she wasn’t. In fact, she was still chewing her gum, acting like nothing happened. I had reacted so fast that it hadn’t registered with her that I was about to kill that fool. Almost as a delayed response, compared to how fast I had reacted, she looked up at me. I froze, with the radio still in the air. I was relieved that mom was all right, but I was confused.
It had been one of his tricks. He had opened the knife, but closed it before stabbing at my mother. When he saw that radio coming at him, he had ducked down, covering his head, whimpering. When he realized I hadn’t hit him, he got some courage and started yelling,
“Did you see that? That sawed-off-bitch tried to kill me!”
His voice was shaky and I could see the fear in his eyes. In that moment, we both knew one thing for sure; I would finish this at a later time. Not for mom’s sake, but for mine. He had just called me a sawed-off-bitch. He had molested me when I was a small child and couldn’t defend myself. But now I was 14 years old, I hated him and I would hurt him. I would hurt him bad.
I made a move toward him and he opened his mouth again. As if he was finishing a previous remark, he looked at my mother and said,
“all the men you done fucked!”
That did it! I let the radio fly with a force that would have taken half his head off, if he hadn’t jumped behind a chair. As he scrambled to get up and out the door, I looked around for something else to hit him with. He made it out the front door and was running for his car by the time I got my hands on the cast iron frying pan.
In the meantime, with all this drama going on around her, mom still hadn’t reacted or moved from her original position at the kitchen table.
It never occurred to me to ask her about his filthy, hateful statement. All that mattered was that mom and I could go back to doing what we loved to do; stare at each other.