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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18: THE FAMILY WAY

      "Lisa?" Todd's voice at her door startled a squeak out of her as she came awake. She wrapped her arms tight around herself, expecting the door to bow and give way under one thunderous blow.
      "Go away, Todd." She smiled, proud of how calm her voice sounded. As if all the aching twisting through her was so tangled it couldn't get up into her voice.
      "Come on out and let's talk about this."
      "Talk about what? You think I'm a whore. What's there to talk about?"
      "I didn't say--¾"
      Silence. She couldn't hear anything, not footsteps stomping away or a hand fiddling with the doorknob. What was he doing? Leaning against the door in frustration or the weariness that had enfolded him in a dull blanket?
      Exhaustion flooded her, too. Was that the problem? They were both tired, both prone to depressing thoughts? Had Todd meant to say something else, but his tongue had twisted, the words came out wrong, and then she had blown it out of proportion?
      His father constantly accused her of that when she made the slightest protest to something unkind or critical he had said.
      "What's wrong with us?" Lisa whispered. She choked, refusing to weaken and give in to tears now.
      Todd had hurt her. She wasn't mistaken about what he had said.
      She wasn't going to let him smooth things over without an apology or an explanation. Not this time.
      "You didn't say what?" She struggled out of the couch. She advanced on the door, as if it were the enemy and not Todd. "What were you saying when you asked if my baby was yours?"
      Silence from Todd, though she waited until the quiet ran thick though the entire apartment and she could hear the ticking of the old mantel clock on the bookshelf.
      "I just wanted¾--" he began softly, muffled even more by the wood in the door.
      "It's always what you want! What you think! What you're feeling. Do you have any idea how much work I put into a fancy dinner for you? I missed a lot of work I could have gotten done, to put together a celebration for when you got home, but do you care? Your father has nagged me since the day we got married to give you a baby, and it is yours, but--" She choked, feeling as if she would vomit.

      Todd said nothing while she gasped for breath. She refused to let out one sob, one more tear. Never again. 

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