ďIím trying to move through some invisible thickness. I must have made a noise when I came out the front door because he looks up at me. His eyes are cold and unfocused, his lips drawn back in a snarl. A pain clenches in my chest, but I donít move. I try to breathe but my lungs wonít work. He stares right through me, with eyes clouded by rage. The moment lasts forever. Then he looks back at my mother and kicks her hard in the ribs. Iím numb with adrenalin. Everything goes dark except a tunnel of light. I donít remember running down that tunnel or putting myself between them, but suddenly I am there, face to face with my father, making myself a human shield for my mother.
She lays still on the snowy ground, whimpering. My dadís breath turns to mist and swirls like smoke in my face. I stand unmoved. He moves as if to step around me. I shadow him, blocking his access to her. His expression is distant and ferocious. Time disappears. He mutters a threat at my mother, turns on his heel, gets in his car and drives away. I donít move till heís out of sight. Only then do I turn to my mother. She hasnít moved. A voice in my head screams, ďGet up Goddamn it!Ē And then I see her. The knot in my stomach tightens and moves into my throat. Her misshapen form is twisted in unnatural angles and small - like sheíd been crumpled up and thrown there. Blood is trickling out of her ear. I ask, ďCan you move?Ē She mutters, ďI think he broke something.Ē I kneel beside her. Her face contorts in pain when I try to move her so I just hold her for a moment with my hands cradling either side of her head. Her eyes are puffed and underscored with dark heavy smudges, her face wet and raw from the snow. A streamer of blood trickles from her temple to her jaw and glues her hair back in sticky strands. ďIíll get the car and drive you to the emergency room.Ē This is the first moment I feel the fear in my body. I donít even have my permit yet. I donít know if I can drive without help and Iím unsure how to get to the hospital. What if she passes out and I need her help? I swallow it. Thereís no one here but me to help her. She might be bleeding inside. Thereís no time for feeling - only doing. I use the fear to help me focus.Ē