"Push harder, boy! I didn't raise a weakling!"
I was a ten year old trying to carry a fridge up the stairs; two flights of stairs. John was off hiding somewhere like he always did; trying to keep himself away from our Father’s wrath. John knew that if I let the refrigerator fall down the stairs that Dad wouldn't check for broken bones. He'd just start beating on me until he got scared of killing me.
He was like that, a rough man with too much anger to hold in. So when things didn't go right, or he had a bad day, or the rain got too loud for him to tolerate; he'd turn to John and I as an outlet. I got the most of it mainly because I talked back and got in his face. Anything to keep him from beating on John.
Mom never tried to stop him, because she was busy watching soaps on the television and complaining about how many bills needed to be paid. She used to be beautiful but since we could understand what she was saying, all we heard was how if she hadn't had us then she'd be thin and beautiful. Bitch.
Bitch: I'd just learned that word the other day at school. Overheard Joshua Washington say that about one of the teachers and thought that it suited my Mother well.
As the fridge slid over the last step, I fell to the floor exhausted. I could barely feel my arms and what I did feel didn't feel good.
"Why are you laying down on the job? That's gotta go in the kitchen, you lazy brat! Where's that brother of yours? We could just let him do it. How old is he? Six? Seven?"
My brother was four and certainly couldn't handle a fridge like this.
"No, that's all right. I've got it."
I got to my feet and began pushing the large refrigerator toward the kitchen. As my Father walked away, I spotted John looking around the corner of our bedroom door.
Three weeks later, our Father was dead. The fridge fell on him, crushing his throat. The police said that it was misaligned and off balance. They said that he must have laid there unable to breathe for his last moments. That was my first run-in with death and taught me exactly what it was. I would never see my Father again.
I didn't know if I cared.