Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Curb by Jujubees (from Jujubees Journal)

Warned about leaving the yard, we sat along the curb staring across the street. Our friends walked across the large street to visit us sometimes, but if something were more interesting on the other side of the street, or if they were supposed to stay in their own yard, they didn’t stay long.
At first, we didn’t dare leave the yard. We weren’t about to reap the consequences of what might happen if we did so, but as time went on, we began to wonder how much we could get away with and our little bottoms became restless as we sat on the hard cement curb. Which of us would dare leave the curb first? Which of us was going to tell Mom? Would Mom care?

We knew the consequences for disobeying. Mom liked to use the wooden spoon, and Dad would take us across his knee and spank us with his hand. Mom’s spankings didn’t hurt that much, but Dad’s did. Dad’s hand hurt more than any wooden spoon. Our little bottoms would burn for at least an hour after Dad was finished with us. Was getting a spanking worth the risk of leaving the yard? Perhaps it would just be a warning this time. Younger siblings are only good for one thing, telling on you. Why did God invent them?
Begging and pleading with Mom was one of our strategies, but we never knew how much we could push her without upsetting her. It was tiresome for us when Mom decided to keep a tight rein on us and not allow us to leave the yard. Some days we obeyed, and other days we didn’t. Some days we got a spanking for disobeying, and other days we didn’t. I remember the old kitchen chairs we had back then, with black metal frames, and light yellow padded vinyl seats and backs. Those chairs were where we waited for Dad when we broke the rules.

Sitting on the chairs waiting for Dad was miserable. We taunted each other, until Mom would end up taking the wooden spoon out of the kitchen drawer and slamming it down on the counter with a loud smack, warning us to stop our bickering. When Dad finally arrived home from work, we wanted to disappear. Our stomachs did flip-flops and our bodies tingled from head to toe. He knew immediately when he saw us sitting there, that we had been bad. Sometimes, he went to change his clothes first, and other times he got right down to business. Either way, we had to sit there while Mom explained to Dad what we had done wrong. Our faces turned red with shame and fear.

Dad reacted by shaking his head, gritting his teeth, and frowning. He didn’t approve. We wished we had obeyed Mom. Dad didn’t use his belt to spank us until we were a bit older. When we were young, he grabbed the wrist of the first child he intended to spank, and yanked that child off their chair, moving the chair out into the middle of the room. With our bottoms bared, he pulled us across his lap one at a time. When his hand connected with our unprotected flesh, we immediately cried out in protest from the sting and we struggled to cover the target area with our little hands. Dad was big enough to keep our hands out of the way, and fighting him was useless. The carpeting in the dining room was rust colored, with flecks of gold and brown throughout. The pattern of the carpet was interesting when we were not staring at it under duress.
The carpet became blurry as our eyes filled with tears and Dad began blistering our backsides. It seemed a few hard smacks would have sufficed, but his spankings always seemed to last forever. If a job was worth doing, it was worth doing well. We wiggled and protested to no avail. The spanking wasn’t over until Dad decided it was over. When he finally stopped, we sniffled, sobbed, and rubbed our sore bottoms, wishing the sting would go away immediately, and wanting our parents to forgive us and love us again, even though we had been bad.

Mom was always right there for comfort, but Dad’s main objective was getting to his newspaper or eating his dinner. The message was clear, nothing was as important as Dad’s newspaper, and now that he had dealt with us, it was time for his newspaper. I guess he had a long day at work, and he wanted to relax. Who could blame him? Free from sitting on the chairs to await our fate, we ran off to argue about who got it the worst. We were always convinced we were the one who got it the worst, but when Mom warned us to stop our bickering about it, we were quick to mind her.

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