That night I got home late, about 7:00 pm. It was okay though because, as usual, Mom was out of it and not aware of the time and Dad has no clue about my life. He was in his chair in front of the T.V. with his dinner tray. I tried to sneak by him on the way to my room.
“Where ya been?” he grumbled
“Orchestra practice,” I said. –I gave up the cello in the 4th grade by the way. I couldn’t learn to read music and I had to fake my way through recitals, luckily I was second chair and I never let my bow touch the strings, and who knows? Maybe you couldn’t tell.—
“Oh,” he said. “dinner’s in the kitchen. Your mother burned it again.”
“It’s okay, I’m not too hungry,” I said. “Where’s Mom?”
I made a beeline for my room, relieved that The Wide World of Sports held such a fascination for him. For some reason that show always makes me feel melancholy, which is sort of like sad, but different. I guess it’s a numb kind of sad.
My brother thinks my dad is really super smart, but I know that he is not. If he were, he’d know better than to refer to people as niggers and spicks and he wouldn’t need to make himself feel smart by calling his own kids stupid all the time. I know I’m supposed to have more respect for my father, just for the mere fact that he is my father, but the truth is I don’t. He’s mean, meaner than anybody at school, and I thought briefly about putting him on our list, but I knew I couldn’t. Anyway, I just can’t have any respect for anybody who is mean – kid, teacher, parent, whatever, there’s just no excuse. So I break a commandment, whoever wrote them didn’t have a father like mine.
The orchestra practice excuse had worked and I was now safely in my room. I don’t usually give up on things like I did the cello. That was an exception. Usually I stick with something way beyond the point anybody else would. Like when my hamster died and I was so sure he was just asleep and I kept holding him against me to make him warm and talking to him and trying to wake him up, because maybe he was hibernating – but then he got stiff and my brother made me bury him. That was one time when my brother was really nice. He helped me give Benny a funeral and we buried him in my mother’s rock garden. But, I’m never going to give up on my mother because I know she’ll get well eventually. She has to, for me.