Cautiously, I balanced the seven milkshakes on my lap, contained in two drink carriers from our local fast food restaurant. Howie leapt from our white minivan and began unbuckling the smallest of the children from their seats.
He yelled at me from the back of the van, “Get the food and drinks inside so that we can eat!”
From the passenger seat, I continued my balancing act as I tried to figure out how to open the door without pouring seven chocolate milkshakes onto the van’s red interior. With much ado, I was finally able to open the door, slipping from under the drinks, I exited the van.
Howie had already been into the house several times and was yelling about my slow movements. In response, I began to hurry, carrying one large bag of adult fast food, five kids’ meals, seven milkshakes, and the infant’s diaper bag. The task was near impossible, but I was doing okay.
Approaching the backdoor of Howie’s parents’ house I hesitated for a moment. How can I open the storm door, I wondered. Shuffling my heavy load I reached out and yanked open the door, the contents of my arms now teetering on the edge of spilling. I took two steps inside the door and watched with fear as everything I had been carrying fell to the linoleum floor.
The floor, which was just mopped was now bearing chocolate milkshakes, French fries, and chicken pieces. Where a second ago tiny yellow flowers seemed to dance under the light, now looked like a food binge from hell.
My mother in law jumped from her place at the table and began yelling, “I just mopped the floor, too. Now are you happy?”
The walls became the color of tears as Howie joined us in the kitchen and yelled even louder than his mother, “You dumb, bitch! All you had to do was kick the door and someone would have opened it for you!”
I began to walk to the living room to collect my children, it was time to leave, but not so fast. Howie grabbed my arm and yanked me back into the kitchen. “Don’t you ever walk away from me,” he said as his grasp was beginning to hurt.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that in front of others,” I sprayed him with spit as I let the venomous anger leave my throat.