My parents are vastly different in their anger. My mother is a tornado. You can hear it coming, but she is very precise on where she lays down her path of destruction. If you battened down the hatches, listened for the warnings, you’ll survive; if you decided to ignore the warnings, you’re a dead man. My father is a volcano. It builds and builds until he erupts taking out everything in his path. I shiver from my mother’s screamings; I sob under my father’s quiet “I’m disappointed in you.” But they agreed on punishing for language, and that punishment was the good, old fashion soap.
I was home for my first winter break from college. I was helping decorate the living room for Christmas because with my parents working and I not being there, my brothers had done little but put up their favorite ornaments on the tree. All ten of them. As I was picking up a glass ornament older than my mom, I dropped it, shattering it.
My dad was in the room. He looked up.
Dad: Fae. In the bathroom. Now.
He got up slowly with purpose, much like a jaguar stalking prey.
Dad: You heard me, Fae. In the bathroom. Now.
Of course, this jaguar was as big as a grizzly and walked like a cop and talked like my dad.
Me: Dad. You got to be kidding. I’m eighteen. I’m in college. I don’t even live here.
Dad: You’re my daughter. You technically do live here. I’m not asking again. Get into the bathroom.
Son of a. I marched into the bathroom, believing this was all a joke. I was eighteen, an adult.
Dad: Sit on the hamper.
Yup, just like when I was eleven and stupid enough to say “shit.” Smart, Fae, smart.
My dad shut the bathroom door, a small mercy to shield my punishment from my brothers who will hear about it soon enough.
Dad: Liquid or bar?
I always felt this was a trick question. I was so sure the bar was better because the liquid could run down your throat, but maybe that’s what he wanted you to think.
Ok, I’m not brave enough for the liquid. I can’t believe he’s making me do this. I’m an adult. I voted.
Dad: Open your mouth. Stick out your tongue.
Fine. We’ll see how far you can take a joke. Ahhhhh.
He rubbed the bar on my tongue in two circles, then scrapped it along the back of my upper front teeth.
Dad: You won’t be using that kind of language in my house, young lady. Rinse it out any time.
He left the room. The rinsing out is the worst part. It turns the solid soap sitting on your tongue to liquid, filling your mouth with that oh-so-wonderful soapy taste.
That was the day I learned I could say “God” and “Damn,” but I could never EVER put the two together.
The day after the F word incident, The Husband and I were having yet another money talk. We had a lot of those in December because I play CFO to The Husband’s CEO in money issues. He tells me the money he can give me and questions where the rest went, and I supply him with all the answers and tell him I need more. Like most CEOs, The Husband has no idea how much money it takes to run things. Like most CFOs, my solution is get me more money (and cut out those CEO lunches). If I was a real CFO, you know who liked numbers and money, I would have an ongoing spreadsheet showing every single purchase, but I’m not and would rather eat soap then be that crazy organize. (Crap that almost sounded like intuition. Ahhhhh!) You can imagine how heated these conversations can get.
The boys were playing toys in the floor between us as I like to get as far away from the breathing fire as possible (though The Husband does calm down after a few minutes of rational thinking; he’s just quick on the fire breathing). I finished submitting my report.
The Husband: GODDAMNIT, Fae!
I launched back with more detail logic to his fiery ourtburst. I hate being broke too. I hate spending this much on bills. But that’s how life is, and I cut all I could.
Meanwhile. There was Tornado S in the background of my monologue.
Tornado S: Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit.
Me: (finishing up my speech) Oh, and thanks for teaching our two year old that lovely new word.
Tornado S: Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit.
The Husband: You’re welcome. Oh. Cr-
Me: Don’t say it.
The Husband: Right. Ok. Um. Ok. I can do this. I just can’t get over how much we spend.
Me: Trust me. We’re cheaper than we used to be.
Tornado S: Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit.
The Husband: Sorry about that. Should we talk to him?
Me: No. Hopefully he’ll forget it in a moment. Hey, Tornado S. Do you want some popcorn and juice?
Tornado S: Juice! Corn! Juice. Juice. Juice. Juice.