The Chest

the-chestI think I must have been 9 or 10 years old when I first used the chest. The chest was a relatively large storage unit that I would put my toys in. It was never organized, never neat, and I know that my mother hated it. I didn’t mind because it was organized chaos and I knew where everything was.

Dad wasn’t home that night, or maybe he was and just didn’t do anything. I was upstairs watching television or something to that effect when my mother was screaming at me again. I cannot even remember what it was I did or what I didn’t do. I just remember feeling afraid. She tried to grab me and I twisted my arm (a move my father had taught me, though not explicitly for her) and then pushed her away.

I think she fell.

I didn’t care.

All I knew was that I had an an opportunity to run into my room and shut the door. My room didn’t have a lock because I was not allowed to have much privacy. I could hear her screaming, saying how worthless and what a waste of space I was. It’s funny that I remember that and not what it was I had done. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep the door closed on my own, so I frantically looked around my room for something to bar the door.

Then I saw it: the chest, the one with my toys and the one Mom didn’t like. Her footsteps were drawing closer, her feet pounding on the tile in her drunken stupor. It took all of my strength in that little body to pull and push and heave that chest over to the door which opened inward toward my room. It was hard to push the heavy thing on the carpet.

Right as I got the chest into place, she slammed against the door. It was loud and I remember being frightened that the door might end up breaking on top of me. I climbed up onto the chest and added my weight onto it to make the door even harder to open, and then I just sat on that chest with my arms wrapped around my knees waiting for the pounding to stop. She was screaming the whole time, banging on the door and demanding to be let in.

Some time later, she finally stopped. The screaming stopped and the pounding stopped. I heard her footsteps go on down the hall. Even so, I stayed on that chest for a long time after, just in case she came back.

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