I still remember that day.
My dad dislocated my mother's jaw
and I heard a slap and a crack and a gasp
and my mother hit the ground
and he was only proving his point.
He was only ending the argument.
I've never hit my dad.
but I punched his chest as hard as 12-year-old fists can
and he didn't hit me back
and he's never touched me.
It was mom's job to hit the girls.
Dad hit Mom hit me.
Mom divorced Dad.
and he stopped hitting people and Mom started hitting harder and more often
and she was only releasing pent-up emotions.
She was only stress-relieving.
I told her I was gay when I was 18.
and she hit me the hardest
and bruises and tears lasted for weeks on my body
and I moved out against my will.
She stopped talking to me.
She offered an unspoken ultimatum:
don't ask don't tell don't live the life you want.
and I took the offer.
I was only afraid
and Mom was only afraid
and Dad was only afraid.