While others were fearful of his words, it was his silence that terrified me.
Not the silence that Mom chose to adorn herself with whenever he was in one of his 'moods'; this silence was different.
No, my father is more imposing in his silence, and more demanding of respect. His silence means not just disapproval, but complete rejection.
My mistakes are not just errors in judgement to him, they are utter failures.
I am an only child, and as such there is no measuring stick to gauge his affection by. It is either mild annoyance or silent judgement. These are his favourite emotions.
I am 29 years old. I have a good job, good pay and a good life. I have never let anyone push me around, never let myself get taken for a ride, never let a man tell me what to do. I have fought tooth and nail to get to where I am, and while it is no lofty height, I know I am an influential and important woman in my own right.
Yet this old, balding, slightly obese man, with his clipped mustache and clipped conversation, is able to reduce me to dirt. All with a single dismissive wave of his hand, a nonchalant grunt in response to a statement I make, or a stony stare when he disagrees with me.
Sometimes in my head I scream at him and say, "DO YOU NOT LOVE? DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW YOU MAKE ME FEEL, HOW YOU MAKE ME FEEL WORTHLESS? DO YOU EVEN CARE AT ALL?"
And yet, even in my head, he responds with a silent, emotionless stare, and it is in those moments I understand my mother's silence. Perhaps it is easier to simply accept his rebuke, than to do anything about it.
Sometimes only silence can answer silence.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Mare challenged me with "I hate that he tells me how much he thinks I'm worth and I really hate that I listen to him" and I challenged Kurt with "I want to thrive, not just survive".