four steps

It's eleven steps from the top of the stairs to my bedroom, and he happens to walk quite loudly. I'm in bed clinging to the blanket that I still have yet to watch and I can hear the old stairs with its ugly brown carpet begin to creak under the tired weight of him, can practically smell the vodka ghosting over his tonsils. Sophie is out at a friend's, meaning the boxing ring is just empty; me and him and he's the only one with gloves.

I used to hide in the closet, but his anger would erode the doors away, casting me into light and casting him where he had no right to be—my bed.

I count one two three four five six seven eight nine

and he stops, turns into the bathroom. The door clicks behind him and he doesn't come out until morning and I don't sleep.

five tea

Every morning, he makes me fix him a cup of tea. I feel like saying you don't even like tea but then I'd end up with a split lip to explain away to Anne and the teachers. No friends, though since the kids at school know who's getting beaten but they keep quiet about it because they understand.

Sophie just so happens to be a social butterfly.

He hates green tea, only likes earl grey, and even then it's only on some mornings and he makes me put a shit load of honey and milk into the mug along with it. It clouds over and clouds over and looks like swamp water.

He smiles knowingly across the brim of the cup, tea steaming as he gulps it down and grabs my ass.

He leaves and

i throw up in the sink.

six straws

I love you Jon, Sophie tells me and her eyes are brimming over and she's sitting on the counter with a mug of hot chocolate hanging in her hands by her fingertips. She tells me it's cold and I just kind of shrug and put the bandaid over the cut that I got picking up broken glass after he tried to throw a plate at me. She had made herself scarce and I'm thankful for that because he had looked like death.

If you listen closely, you can hear him snoring I reply mostly as a joke but she just parts her cherry red lip gloss lips and lets the mascara run across her eyes, taking an idle sip of her cold chocolate.