He pounds on my door like a mad man, demanding to know what I do in my room all the time alone
It ainít natural, he says.
He thinks we ought to be together Ė like a family Ė always in each otherís sight, as if laboring in the fields from dawn to dusk is not enough.
He pounds and then rattles the door knob, discovering I installed a lock
This enraged him all the more, and he pounds on the door that much harder Ė if he plans to knock it down and kill me when he gets inside.
Maís yelling up the stairs, asking whatís going on and why país trying to wreck the house when the bank still owns most of it.
Pa yells back for her to mind her mouth. Then he curses a few more times at me and says that if I donít unlock the door, heíll break it down and give me what I deserve for locking it in the first place.
God only knows what he thinks Iím doing.
His reading of The Bible shapes every sort of corruption in his mind, making his already low opinion of me every lower.
Nothing I could do could equal anything as bad as he thinks Iíve already done.
I guess thatís why I donít believe in The Bible.
Iíve seen how those good words turn people mean, making them judgmental, making them think bad of other people.
I figure if The Good Book can do that to people Iíd just as well get along without it.
I think little enough of myself without Scriptures to pile on top of me.
Pa, of course, figures different.
He thinks The Bible is the only book worth reading.
And we suffer through his reading from it every Sunday when our chores are done.
The Lord says we ought to rest half a day on the Seventh Day. He didnít say nothing about suffering through no lectures.
I figure if I open the door before Pa actually knocks it in I might get less of a beating.
So I crawl out of bed and unlash it just as he puts his shoulder to it.
So he sort of staggers through the opening, all claws and teeth like a frustrated bear, sniffing out the landscape of my room for scents of my outrage. He gets even more heated when he doesnít find me in the mist of carnal sin.
So what am I doing with myself, he demands to know as I nudge the book I was reading under the bed with the tip of my toe.
Pa misses little once heís got his instincts up and sees what Iím doing and snatches up the book before it completely vanishes under the bed.
ďJules Verne?Ē he roars in a voice he usually saves for undoing the deeds of Satan on Sunday.
No look seems so terrible as the one he gives me now.
Eternal damnation seems no bleaker a future than the one Pa has planned for me.
Then he tells me to follow him down stairs.
And I go, head bowed, already feeling the welts from the beating Iím still to get.