In the end it wasn’t so bad.
I arrived home much later than I should have. Amy had walked me to within two houses of home, then skipped off down a pedestrian pathway after telling me she’d see me one day after school. I opened the door, with expectations of all hell.
Instead I was met by my concerned sister who fretted and flitted around, cleaning my cuts and even washing my jacket, which I had missed with the blood but not the vomit.
She was full of questions, but I was empty of answers. If there was one thing that my short but all too eventful life had taught me, it was that in moments of difficulty, we were all alone. I couldn’t tell who had beat me.
Even when my parents got home hours later I was silent. My mother worried over the cut on my temple and the purple blossoms of bruise on my chest, becoming more and more angry that I wouldn’t talk.
My father held the broken corpse of my guitar in his hands, and complained about violence inherent to the system, how criminals were glorified and victims marginalized. He almost foamed at the mouth when he got to the part about victims aiding and abetting the criminals by not talking.
It had only taken them ten minutes to forget that I was the one who had been hurt in all of this. I timed it on the kitchen clock.
Eventually they sent me to bed, even though I hadn’t had dinner. Being sent to bed without dinner was a standard punishment in our house. I doubted they had noted the irony.