More Afraid

I can't remember what I ever told my dad and stepmom about my stepfather, except that Kim and I were afraid of him. All I know, is that I could never convey with words formed by my young mouth, just how bad things were.

One night before we were dragged off to Hawaii, I was sitting in the middle of my parent's massive bed, way past my bedtime, with Kim at my side talking to them. On this night, one of us had admitted just how afraid we were of our stepfather.

Whatever my dad was staring at, he wasn't using his eyes to see it. He was beyond the bedroom, probably somewhere murdering my stepfather in is mind. When he broke his stare-off with the wall, a small smile danced at the corners of his mouth and his eyes lit up, as he looked back at us.

"You know he's afraid of your dear old dad, don't you?" He crossed his arms and chuckled, amused with something.

Kim looked at me, both of us dubious, shaking our heads, wide eyed. "No, he's not. He's not afraid of anyone."

His eyebrows shot up at our disbelief. "I'm tellin' you. He's afraid of me."

There was no way. My dad wasn't as bulky as our stepfather. And a few inches shorter.


"I told him once what I would do to him if something ever happened to one of you."

"What'd you tell him?" I was leaning closer.

He smiled. "That's a question you'll have to ask me when you're older."

I huffed. We never got to hear any of the good stuff.

But he wasn't done. "Member when you girls lived in Nevada? We used to meet your momma and Ward at the airport there an walk you out to the parkin lot. Well, this one time your momma sent Ward to get the car, while she waited with you girls inside. I was carryin your suitcases and I headed outside to meet him and load your bags in the car."

My dad laughed to himself and Marcia started laughing. Kim and I looked at each other.

"I hollered for him. I could see him cross the parkin lot and he didn't stop or turn round. So I started walkin faster. I hollered for him again but he never stopped. But he put a little more pep in his step and started walkin faster. So I started walkin even faster, and he started runnin."

"No way he ran from you!" Kim's eyes were huge, mirroring mine.

My dad's eyebrows went up again, "I'm tellin you, he was runnin. I ended up losin him in the parkin lot in the dark. I went back to the sidewalk and your momma came out with you girls when he pulled up in the car. He got out to load your suitcases and wouldn't look me in the eye. And you girls know how our momma would have your Ma and Aunt Carol send all sorts of stuff back in your suitcases, we could hardly get em to zip shut. Well, I picked up the heaviest one and it took everything I had in me to hold that suitcase out with one arm, like it weighed nothin." Dad held his arm out straight in front of him with a balled fist, like he was getting ready to drop something.

Marcia laughed because she already knew the punch line.

My dad smiled at her. "When he took hold of the handle and I let go, he went to the ground and went," my dad made an exaggerated grunting sound, "and it took even more self control for me not to laugh at him. He tried to recover like it was nothin, but I knew it had hurt his back."

With our faces buried into the mattress, we nearly smothered to death laughing.

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