she was really mad this time. probably the worst i had seen. so mad, she wasn't going to deal w/ it until we were home, she said. really i think she was just wanting dad to take care of it. that way she didn't kill me on accident. but the ride home was long and silent. and the silent treatment was rough, complete w/ deep sighs and rolling eyes. amazing how 10 miles can seem like a thousand, depending upon the company.
of course, she had every intention of telling dad when we got home. that was the worst part. listening to her tell dad the whole story. i knew i had better tell the story when we got home, because my version wouldn't be as pitiful as hers. he would be more understanding than she had been, but he was still going to be irritated w/ me. he didn't like it when mom and i were butting heads. probably because she fussed at him about it. so far, that was about all we had done all day tpday -- butt heads. it wasn't really that much of a contest, though, as i was more stubborn than she was.
i didn't want to go to town that day, but instead i wanted to stay home and ride my bike. i don't know why she was so determined that i had to go w/ her, but it wasn't a good day. if she had explained some kind of reason for it, that might have helped. the old "because i said so" didn't mean spit to me. ranked right up there w/ "well, that's a 'do-as-i-say rule' instead of a 'do-as-i-do rule.'" yeah, right. let me get in line to sign up for that plan. let's see -- go to town w/ mom or ride my bike all day. yeah, i wonder what the choice would be!
it all started at the mall. well, it actually started when she made me give up riding my bike for the day and follow her to town. but my plan for payback started in the mall. my plan was to make her sorry for dragging me to town against my will. i'd say i succeeded, w/ flying colors. but i had to wait for the perfect moment to put my plan into action. i walked just a little bit behind her. when she turned around to talk to me, i put my hands up in front of my face and flinched like i was just about to be slapped. the look of horrified shock on her face almost knocked a laugh out of me. the rest of the way through the mall, if she turned toward me or raised her hand for any reason, i held up my hands to protect my head and flinched as if i was so used to being slapped it might happen at any second.
now, just for the record -- i had never been abused in my life, so that idea was totally preposterous. i had my fair share of swats, smacks, and thumps -- but i never had one i didn't deserve. in fact, i'm sure i didn't get as many as i did deserve because i didn't always get caught in my orneriness. she was SO angry at me that she probably felt like slapping me until i saw stars. but of course she couldn't or she would have just confirmed what people were thinking -- that she was a child abuser.
she was embarrassed and couldn't hardly hustle me out of the mall fast enough. we had our silent ride home, and then we would parade my sins before dad. all i could think of was that my forced servitude as shopping partner would be over and i could head off to ride my bike for the rest of the day. well, i didn't get to ride my bike that day. instead, a cleaning rag and a dirty parts bin had my name written all over them, punishment for embarrassing my mother in such an awful way. i knew if i finished w/ that too soon, another miserable task would be set for me.
thankfully, my father was an ornery child, so i knew he would see the humor in it even if he didn't show it in front of mom. he definitely wasn't happy w/ me for upsetting mom, and he wasn't happy about having to deal w/ the situation. as we walked out of the house toward the shed, he looked me and said, "you're a pill!" as he hooked his arm around my neck and gave me a hug and a shake at the same time. when he released his hold on me, i stepped back and looked up into his eyes. when i knew i had his attention, i held up my hands to protect my head and flinched. when i saw the look of shock on his face, i broke and ran for the shed and his laughter followed me all the way.