You are home. It has been quiet for too long. Something is about to happen. The hair stands up on the back of your neck when mom calls for you. She wants to go out for coffee. You notice she didn't invite your dad or your brother. You quietly go with her to the garage. The moment the car leaves the driveway it [[starts.|Lecture One Start]]"I never should have had children. I know I'm not a good mother. I always knew I wouldn't be a good mother. Still, I have given up so much for you. I used to be thin and beautiful and nice. Then I had kids. I dreamed of traveling abroad and exploring new places. Then I had kids."
[You [[listen.|Listen One]]]
[You [[speak up.|Speak One]]]
[You go [[far away.|Far One]]]
"Before you were born, I was happy. Your father and I were happy. I was successful and in love. Your father was the one who wanted kids. He was the one who wore me [[down."|Listen Two]]"I shouldn't have to learn to be a good mom because I never wanted this. If your father wanted kids so much he should do the work. I've had to give up so much already. I can't travel when I want. I can't buy whatever I want. I can't be [[happy."|Listen Three]]"All of our fights are about our children. They are either about you or caused by the stress of dealing with you. If we ever get a divorce it will be your fault. You ruined our marriage."
When you get to the coffee house she does that one [[infuriating thing.|Smiles]]Mom's face lights up at the drive-thru. She's all loud laughs and big smiles. Her smile tightens as if in frustration when she glances at you. You know what it looks like- a happy, generous mom giving her ungrateful kids some high-priced coffee. You catch the barista giving her a sympathetic smile. She hands you the coffee. You don't really want it anymore.
You decide to stay silent and [[listen.|Listen Four]]
You decide to [[speak up.|Speak Ten]]
You decide to go somewhere [[far away.|Far Two]]As soon as the drive-thru window is out of range it starts again.
"Your father used to love you but he lost interest. He only loves babies. As soon as you grew up he expected someone else to do everything. I was in school with two kids and your father was gone, traveling for [[work."|Listen Five]]"Well for work and also to cheat on me. Sometimes I think about just staying at work instead of coming home. I enjoy work more than I like being home. Sometimes I think about hanging myself in the toolshed. No one loves me anyway. I used to be happy once, at my old job. I left that job for you. I needed the salary increase to pay for your college. So now I'm stuck in a job I hate and it's all your [[fault.|Listen Six]]"
You think of a black beach, lit by no sun, on the edge of a vast, cold sea. You lie down in the surf, your ears just below the water. Everything is still but the sea still roars. The cold bites at your skin and your lungs. You're going numb. You can't feel anything.
You are pulled back. You've arrived at the [[coffee shop.|Smiles]]You imagine an endless prairie. The grass rises to your knees and bends gently in the hot breeze. The light is so bright it's blinding. Nearby, a large, white dog is chasing crickets. You try to focus on the details, what his fur looks like, how the grass bends around him. You convince yourself that you cannot hear but the illusion [[cannot last|Lecture One Start]] forever."You think this is inappropriate? My father put a shotgun to my head. That was inappropriate. You're spoiled. You don't know real abuse. I knew kids whose parents beat them with horse whips. You think this is [[abuse?"|Speak Two]]"Verbal abuse isn't abuse! Even if it was, I'm only make you tough. You can't handle your mother yelling? What's going to happen when you get a job? When your boss yells at you are you going to cry and quit? You'll never hold a job. If you can't handle this, you'll never be [[successful."|Speak Three]]"I had such high hopes for you. You were the only hope for this family. Look at you now. No matter how hard we try to fix you, you just don't get any better. It's like you don't care about yourself or how you make us look. Jesus, my coworkers talk about how great their kids are all the time. I wish I could talk about you like that. Maybe you should reconsider going to college. College isn't for everyone and the way you're [[turning out..."|Speak Four]]"I wouldn't be surprised if you turned out like your aunt. You remind me of her. She didn't give a shit about school and disrespected her parents. You know what she was doing when I first met her? Well, you'll find out soon. That's where you're life's headed and I won't pay for your [[rehab."|Speak Five]]"I've always known you would be a failure. I knew it the moment you were born and held you in my arms. I knew it after I met those people you call friends. I swear only you can find all the gang bangers and lowlifes. One of them won't even talk to her dad. I call bullshit on her 'he's abusive' pity party. He's a good guy. He's her father. Who the fuck does she think she is? That's probably where you're getting this piss poor attitude. Maybe you shouldn't be allowed to talk to her [[anymore?"|Speak Six]]"It doesn't help that you already dress like you're homeless. Do you wear those clothes just to embarrass me? People judge you based on how you look. I can't believe I allowed you to leave the house dressed like this. Thank god we are not getting out of the car. Do people bully you at school? They would have at mine. Do you even shower? I bet you haven't combed your hair in weeks. It's too bad you've given up on yourself. What happened to my beautiful [[child?"|Speak Seven]]"Ever since you started dating this new person, you've started acting like a bitch. Don't give me that face. I didn't say "you're a bitch," I said you're acting like one. We can't even have a conversation on the way to get coffee, which I'm paying for, without you disrespecting me. If you don't correct your personality everyone's going to stop hanging out with you. No one likes a [[bitch."|Speak Eight]]"It's very sweet that your partner stuck around after you got that really awful haircut but you should be carefull dating that type. My friend says all Mexicans are machismo and I see red flags all over. I see the way they treat you. I didn't realize I raised someone who let themselves fall into that kind of [[relationship."|Speak Nine]] "Your brother is the only hope left for this family. Why can't you be more like him? He does well in school. He listens to me. He's dating someone nice. He cares about his apperance. How was I able to raise both of you and one of you turn out so poorly? I just don't understand why you can't try to be a little more like your brother."
You [[speak up|Speak One]] again
You decide to shut up and just [[listen.|Listen One]]You tell your mom that you don't want the coffee anymore. You try to phrase it like you're just not thirsty but what you mean is that you don't want a gift from someone you hate so intensely. You want to rebel in some small way. You want to feel like you have some control. [[She replies.|Speak 11]]"Of course you don't want your coffee. I know I've raised a bunch of spoiled children. All you do is buy and take without giving a shit about me, the person who works hard to make you money. Have you ever considered what would happen if I were to just [[die?"|Speak 12]]"What if I just killed myself? Then you wouldn't get any more of my money. Then you'd be on your own. Your father couldn't afford the house you live in. You'd be [[homeless."|Speak 12.5]]"You know, some men kill their whole families before killing themselves. They don't think their wife and kids could live without them. They kill them to protect them from emotional and financial suffering. That kind of murder-suicide happens all the [[time."|Speak 14]]"If I died maybe you'd go to Child Protective Services. Then you'd know I was telling the truth about that place. All they do is place kids with alcoholics, drug addicts, and sex traffickers. Maybe then you would know how good you had it. Maybe then you'd regret not treating me [[better.|Speak 13]]""I gave up the best years of my life for you! I compromised my career for you! I worked hard to get where I am. I had nothing and I dragged myself up. My parents wanted me to marry a pig farmer and look at me now. I'm a doctor. I help people. [[I'm important."|Speak 16]]"Without me you'd be lost. I was the one who figured out you were hurting yourself. I was the one who made you stop. No one else would have noticed the way you were walking or those suspicious socks. I cried and cried for you. Who else cares about you like I [[do?"|Speak 15]]"I did all that and I'm still going to end up hanging myself in a shed because my children don't love me. I hope you remember that when you find me. I hope you remember all the people that need me and how hard I worked. When you bury me know that it's all your [[fault."|Lecture One Start]]"After everything I've done, no one would care if I died. You'd be happy if I was gone. No one loves me."
You tell her that isn't true. She doesn't believe you.
You wonder how much longer until you're home. You wonder how long until all this is over. You don't know how much longer you can sit and silently [[listen.|Lecture One Start]]