“Jacko, don’t- do- what you are doing. I am angry. You’ve got to respect that. You can’t make me try to forget my anger with Cheetos!” I stamped my foot and held my hands in tight fists.
“Placate. That’s what you want to say. Don’t placate me.”
“Yes, don’t do that. I am angry.”
“I know that. You said that already.”
“Well- that’s because I am. Angry.”
“And I do.”
I stood there, looking at him. He was standing still, looking at me. He had the Cheetos in his hand. He wasn’t offering me any anymore.
I walked out of his room, and went and sat on my bed. Then I remembered I hadn’t told mommy.
So I went downstairs, into the kitchen and pat mommy’s back. She had taught me long ago to do that and not start speaking just as I entered. I waited. Mommy said, “Yes Jenny?” and continued doing her work. The mixer whizzed.I had to shout above the noise.
“MOMMY! I AM-”
The mixer stopped.
Mommy turned towards me and gave me a tight slap across the cheek. The one that Jacko had put a bruise on.
“Who do you think you are, shouting like that? Think I’m your servant or something, huh? Your father’s daughter, you are. Go on speaking like that to me and I’ll show you! Now, off you go to your room and don’t show me your face until you’re called.”
I went upstairs, rubbing my cheek. I blamed the mixer. Ruddy useless thing. It was only because of that foolish thing that I couldn’t tell mommy that I was angry.
I went to Jacko’s room. I went and stood against the wall, hanging my head low and pulling an upside-down smile. I looked up. Jacko was watching me. I hung my head again.
“Come on. Let’s fix you a glass.” Jacko pulled me beside him, and took me downstairs. Jacko always fixed me ‘a glass’. It was water- hot and cold fifty-fifty. It made us think we were making something exotic. I liked it. We never made a real drink. Jacko and I just sorta didn’t like alcohol.
“It’s not fair,” I mumbled under my breath. But Jacko always did hear.
“What’s not fair, Jen?”
“I am not allowed to be angry. Daddy gets angry, mommy does… even you do Jacko. Just not me. I get slapped for being angry. It’s not fair.”
“I know Jenny. You don’t get it fair. But say what- I’ll cut you a deal. If you promise you won’t be angry anymore, I’ll let you have Buzz.”
Buzz was Jacko’s favourite person from Toy Story. He never let me touch it, he said I might break it. I knew Jacko was being very kind.
“Ok. I won’t be angry anymore.”
“Ok. Just take care of him.”
Jacko told me to wait outside, as mommy was still in the kitchen.
I thought about the right place in my room to keep Buzz. Jacko would like him to be safe. I decided to keep Buzz in my sock-drawer. That was safe.
Jacko got me my ‘glass’. I sipped through it, sitting beside him. The familiar taste of warm water coming in suddenly through the cold gave me a thrill. Jacko watched and smiled.
I finished my drink and Jacko took me upstairs. He read a book, and I sat beside him and peeked in.
I dreamed about Buzz.