the one-two punch

I tell him that I’m afraid my sister isn’t going to take any responsibility for her violence. Her husband’s money protects her from admitting most of her mistakes.…”

 

by laine perry

 

 

There are constant injustices circling at high velocities.

 

The ice-pack the hospital sends me home with does not conform to the shape of my high cheek bone and swollen eye socket. It’s like trying to hug a person who wants nothing to do with you. The ice pack is full of it, and so is my little sister- which is what led her to punch me as I sat in a booth feeling relieved that she had gone. Truth was- she had only gone up to the bar for another glass of wine.

 

The cop who comes to my door has a large, friendly, Irish face. Part of him falls apart when he sees my badly carbuncled cheek.  I tell the cop that my sister hit me because I was bored with the company of boys she’d invited to sit with us, and tired of paying for their drinks- and he says, “This has to be prosecuted. I haven’t seen anything this bad for awhile!” I tell him that I’m afraid my sister isn’t going to take any responsibility for her violence. Her husband’s money protects her from admitting most of her mistakes. I tell him that in the morning she is boarding a plane for Hawaii. She’s a planner (mainly of vacations). I am only a ghost.

 

The cop has to go back to the car for another form. He apologizes to me for this. But I think he needs a safe breath. He tells me he’s only just come back into the country and is adjusting as quickly as he can. I ask him where he has been and he tells me South Africa- a place I’ve always dreamed of going.  He tells me he does ministry work there five weeks a year. He has been doing it for twelve years. In three more years he and his wife will retire there. I think of the cop who was shot at random by a gang member last week four blocks from my sister’s house. I wonder if this man in front of me, who seems like a good man, will make it the three years.

 

My mother thinks I need counseling to help stop me from screaming about life’s injustices. She tells me that “it is simply not done.” I think of that, and of screaming again. I think of doing it right now but I decide against it. I want my mother to reassess what has happened to me and to say of my sister’s cold, calculated attack on me, “It is simply not done.” The left side of my face is burning. My left ear is ringing.

 

The cop is on my doorstep with his tear stained face. He comes into the living room and takes a seat on the branch of a tree I allowed to grow there. I smile at him as he rocks with the cool wind coming up from the cellar floor.

 

Everything is a mirror.

 

 

 

Originally published:
Issue Seventy-Nine
July 2019

 

(illustration: dee sunshine)


Laine Perry grew up on the road with her mom, making music and telling stories. Many more Smokebox stories from Laine Perry can be found here.

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