The Last Straw
Brielle Bennett Markowitz was busy over the stove getting dinner ready as her six-month-old baby girl Kennedy cried from her play pin which had been placed in the breakfast nook. “Mom!” Brielle heard one of the older children call out as her two older daughters, thirteen-year-old Jane and eleven-year-old Olivia came storming down the stairs after having a huge argument upstairs.
“I’ve told Olivia a thousand times to stay out of my closet! She’s got her own clothes! Why does she always want to wear mine!” Jane shouted in frustration.
“Because I like your clothes better! C’mon, Jane! I was just burrowing your pink blouse with the shoulder holes! I would’ve given it back!” Olivia cried back as baby Kennedy continued to cry and scream in the background.
“Alright, girls,” Brielle gently scolded as she scurried over to the play pin and took the baby in her arms. Then she carried the baby over to the stove and continued to prepare dinner with the baby on her hip.
“Look, I’m tired of you going in my room and pilfering through my clothes and makeup! You could at least ask me before you start rummaging through my stuff!”
“Okay, girls! That’s enough. And Olivia, your sister’s right. You wouldn’t want anyone going through your belongings. So, stop going through Jane’s. We’ve had this discussion before.” Brielle told her.
She walked away from the stove and repositioned the baby to her shoulder, gently bouncing the crying infant.
“I know you’re hungry, sweetie. I’m working on it.” Brielle cooed as she went to the pantry, opened it, and took out a small jar of peas and carrots style baby food. Olivia followed her mother and kept talking.
“I know. But when are you going to start buying me clothes like Jane’s? I’m tired of wearing this baby stuff! And when are you going to start letting me wear makeup?” Olivia groaned.
“When you get to be Jane’s age.” Brielle told her middle daughter as she opened the baby food jar and emptied it into a small pastel pink child’s bowl.
An Abusive Husband and Father
Olivia turned to her older sister and glared at her.
“You make me sick!”
“Shut up!” Jane shot back.
“Hey-hey-hey-hey! Both of you girls stop bickering. Jane, honey, could you feed the baby for me while I finish getting dinner ready?” Brielle said.
“Yes, ma’am. Hand her to me.” Jane sighed.
Brielle handed the fussy baby to the big sister and Jane took her to the dinner table and began spoon-feeding her. Brielle then walked over to the patio door and whistled.
“C’mon, Bandit! Here, boy!”
Bandit, a large collie and Lassie look-a-like, came bouncing into the house as Olivia sat his bowl of dog food on the floor in front of him.
Suddenly, they all heard the front door open and slam shut.
“Hey! What’s all this racket in here! I could hear you all outside when I pulled up!” Bill called as he came into the kitchen in his suit and carrying his briefcase. He sat the briefcase down.
His Temper Flares
Jane and Olivia quieted immediately as they cringed. But the baby kept crying as Jane tried to feed her.
“Shut that baby up! I’ve had a shitty day at work, and I want quiet!” Bill yelled to Jane.
“Oh, right! ‘You want quiet with a baby in the house? Good luck, Dad!” Jane replied.
Bandit stopped eating and lifted his head. He whimpered, then darted under the table and hid.
Bill stopped dead and his eyes flashed at Jane, seemingly shooting fire at his oldest daughter. He then slowly and threateningly took a few steps toward the young girl feeding the baby. Jane paused as the look of fear slowly spread across her face. The baby’s cries decreased to whimpers.
“What did you just say to me, little lady! What did you just say!” He growled, his voice raising with every word and ending with a yell. Hearing the yelling, the baby suddenly began screaming again.
“Dad please. Don’t.” Jane said in a low but stiff voice as her father slowly loomed above her.
“No! Bill, don’t!” Brielle shouted.
Bandit let out a few more whimpers. Olivia just stood back, frozen, and slightly shook her head at her father.
Jane’s Had Enough
Bill suddenly swiped the jar of baby food from the table, then violently turned and hurled it at Brielle. Brielle ducked and the flying jar soared past her shoulder, missing its target by only a centimeter or two. The jar shattered against the Mosaic tiled wall, spraying droplets of leftover baby food all over the kitchen. The baby’s screams suddenly increased to shrieks of terror.
Olivia flinched with every move her father made, she then began crying.
“Nobody say’s ‘don’t’ to me! Not you, not her! Nobody!” Bill growled before looking around the kitchen, then looking back at Jane, then Brielle.
“Now, clean this shit up!” He barked before walking out of the kitchen.
Jane looked at her mother.
“Mama, I don’t understand. Why…” She began.
Brielle looked at Jane and shook her head frantically. You could hear Bandit whimpering again, under the table.
“Shhhhh, Jane. Please, honey. Keep your voice down or he’ll hear you. Don’t make him any angrier than he already is.”
Suddenly, Jane jumped up.
“No! Screw this! I’m tired of living in fear all the time! You’re wrong, Dad! What you’re doing to us is fucking wrong and I’m sick of it! I’m sick of the rest of us being terrorized by you! So, screw you and the horse you rode in on!” Jane shouted, “I’m done being afraid of your ass!”
“Jane, stop! Please!”
Bill Gets a Nasty Surprise
Suddenly, they heard a door slam and Bill darted back into the kitchen, grabbed Jane by the wrist with one hand, and slapped her across the face with the other hand. Bandit began barking frantically.
“No! Noooo!” Brielle cried, “Bill, unhand her now!”
As the dog continued to bark loudly, Bill went to slap his daughter again, something in Jane snapped. Jane blocked the potential slap and twisted her father’s arm such that she flipped him over on the floor. Bill then lay on the floor, looking up at his teenaged daughter with the look of shock and horror.
Jane stood over him, looking down at her father with fire in her eyes.
“Let that be the last time you ever again raise a hand to me! I won’t take it anymore, Dad! I love you, but enough is enough! I’m done being your whipping girl and so are the rest of us! Be a man and start being a decent father for once in your miserable life!” She shouted.
“What the hell! How did you do that!” Bill asked in an angry but shaky voice.
“Gee, Dad! I don’t know. Maybe I’m just tired of your crap! Did you really think we were going to keep taking your abuse forever! Really, Dad? You wouldn’t accept being beat down, but you think we will, or should? Ha! Boy, are you delusional! Our fear may have been our biggest weakness, but your grandiosity is yours. And the good thing about weaknesses is that it can be used against you. Oops!” Jane taunted before she took the baby, stepped over her dad and walked away.
Bill is Stunned Silent
By then, Bandit’s barks had decreased to low growls. Brielle put her arm around Olivia and they too walked out of the kitchen. Brielle knelt down and put her hand out to Bandit, who was still hiding under the table and growling.
“Here, boy! It’s okay, sweetie! Come on! Come on, baby!”
Bandit slowly came out from under the table and approached Brielle. Brielle petted and soothed the frightened dog as he whimpered, then began panting.
Bill got up, visibly shaken, and didn’t speak a word to his family for the rest of the night.