Clutching the door handle, he slowly inched it down like the ticks of a clock’s second hand. The squeeeeeeaaaaaak was just another sign over the past six years of a task undone, a promise ignored.
“Daddy,” the six year old whimpered, his squeak of his words emulating the creak of the door. “Why can’t y-you a-and Momm-my stop yelling?” His eyes gazed into his, waiting.
“We don’t,” the dad sternly stated. He wasn’t too old for his full head of hair and the muscles in his arm signaled youth, but the weariness in those golden eyes added a good twenty years. “We don’t fight, Billy. We talk. It’s different.”
The woman stumbled out of the kitchen, red faced, eyes swollen. “Richard, do not go out there,” the uneven words spilled carelessly out her mouth. “Think about this family before you do. Just think because every goddamn time you step out of this house, you leave this family in more danger. You know that right…you know that? Why can’t we just hi –“
“God dammit, Emily. SHUT UP!” he roared; as his hands flew off the bar, the screws unlatched and the handle fell down in a great thump. Billy screamed, Emily cried harder. “You know how people are here: doing any wanton thing to get a little change here and there. I’ve built this house with these two hands.” He held up his hands, the life line in his palm was masked by a year of cuts and blisters. “I can do, I will do everything around here that I need to, so shut the hell up and stop getting ridiculous ideas to hire more workers.”
“I know you’re going to do it,” Emily said, her voice an octave lower, a volume level downer. “But are you gonna sing while you mow the lawn? Are you gonna screw the nails with a spoon? Are you gonna throw up on Billy’s bed? Because, honey, no slut, no gambler, no worker is a goddamn match for you and your drunkness.”