I had put on my tap shoes. It was almost that time. The Carol Burnette Show was ending which was my nightly cue. Pretty shoes…shiny black patent with silver bottoms that were so scuffed, shards of metal fragments would cut your fingers if you touched the plates. Fastened and ready to go, I grabbed my baby doll and begin to wait. I had to hurry. Every day in the summer I would get ready to begin tap tap tapping out on the driveway. I had never taken dance or even knew anything about it. The shoes were from a neighboring yard sale that had been bought for one dollar. He would be arriving any minute.
At approximately 6 pm every evening Daddy would be coming home. I would get ready to be cute and entertaining…even comical and await his arrival. I had to catch him before he went into the house. This particular day I was more anxious than usual. Mom had cooked dinner this night as well. Spaghetti- daddy loved to eat this. Course Mom was an excellent cook. This week had been particular bad though. Every night as we sat to eat, we would begin the meal which never ended. It would always be interrupted with Dad making a frantic dash to the bathroom; there were very few dinners where vomiting wasn’t slated to be part of the menu.
So this day I waited again. Daddy arrived and I begin clickety clacking out to his car. And this time, I would make things stop. As the he pulled in the driveway, and got out of the car, I began talking and bargaining. “Tonight we are having your favorite-SPAGHETTI? You like that don’t you? You think you will be able to eat it? Huh? Dontcha think you can?” We made our way inside and within minutes dinner was served.
My bargaining didn’t work. He lifted his glass of tea and instantly I knew. His bottom lip was curled around the sweaty edge as if it was fat and uncontrollable. As his plate was pushed back, our ritual continued. He made his way to the bathroom. Mom cleared the table and we would go upstairs and hideout the rest of the evening with my brother. And in that particular evening, I was changed. Henceforth, I would remain that 10 year old begging people to change. Maybe somehow, I could barter and exchange myself to manipulate others to do differently.
That day, I created the first fragmented shard on the metal plate of my spirit.