He slammed his fist down so hard on the table that the glasses rattled, beer whipped to a storm by the lashing of his angry mind. And yet he was only doing it to prove a point.
“This is hitting!” he said as he slammed his fist down again.
It didn’t cross my mind to provoke him further by showing that he was not the only one who could hit things. I was calm. I was in control. He did not have to power to move me to fear like he had so many time when I was a child.
I had asked him, thinking that he was mature enough to handle the questions, why he thought that my mum had left him. Mistake. It was obviously still as sore a point as it had been three decades before.
“Why do you think?” he’d replied – the calm before the storm
I’d thought for a second of his many women, and how my parents had ‘stayed together for the kids’ but decided that this was something to bring up later, so instead, I said, “the trigger was when you hit her.”
He stayed angry with me for months, maybe years after that. Perhaps he is still angry. Certainly, he has turned me out of his house since then and told me he never wanted to see me again. Twice.
But that was later.
On that day, he just wanted me to understand that he was a man and that men do not hit women.
He asked me if I had seen him hit her and I confessed that I had been in the next room. He tried to make me ashamed of not storming in to rescue her. He told me to ask my mother whether he had ever hit her. Then he supped up and we drove away into the future.
Shall I tell you what my mum said when I asked her?