“I can’t stand you anymore,” my mother cried out. “I won’t stand for it.” Her eyes were full of tears.
“But you said I could go outside.” I pleaded.
“Stop it, stop it now!” she screamed. “Stop it or your father…” She was interrupted by the sound of the tea kettle. She ran into the kitchen.What about my father? I had heard the threat before, many times. “Ouch, damn it, god-damn it.” she hollered.
I reached over for my jacket, just as my mother came back into the room. “That’s it! You’re really going to get it. You’re in for it now. Wait until your father comes home.”
I stopped listening to her threats, put my jacket down and went into my room. As I closed my door, I could still hear her ramblings of helplessness. “He’s gonna get it good. When his father hears…”
My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of my father. I was trying to recall his features, which proved to be difficult despite his having left home just five hours ago. My father, Sam, age thirty, almost five foot, eight inches tall, Caucasian, Jewish, and HOMICIDAL!
Could my father murder someone? Not just anyone – his own son!
The idea of my father being capable of murder was incredible, but my feelings of apprehension were undeniable.
My father’s daily behavior was the essence of non-violence. He was mild-mannered, almost meek. He spent most of time working, eating, and sleeping. I couldn’t recall being hit by my father, nor did I recall him sitting my brothers or sister.
At his assaultive best, he was heard to mumble – “You’d better listen to your mother”, or “Cut it out.”
Why was I so apprehensive? I could almost understand, “Beware, the Ides of March”, but what did “Wait till your father comes home” foretell?
Perhaps my fears of bodily injury were related to his muscles. I remember him carrying the washing machine on his back up two flights of stairs to our apartment. God, I was amazed! He put a large canvas belt around the machine and tied the belt around his chest.
With one heave, he had the machine off the lobby floor. When he reached our apartment, he wasn’t even sweating or puffing.
Now I remember, I remember him saying, “Don’t push me” or “You’d better watch out.” Some references to not making him mad, or “I’m warning you.” I recall him saying phrases that suggested pain, if not doom. With my mother threatening his punitive potential, and my father hinting at some sort of limits to his endurance I was left only with my fantasies. There were no hard facts to draw upon. I might get slapped, punched, kicked, choked, or KILLED.
The murderer in the house, was in my head – was I alone?
Did other children harbor similar fears of patricide?