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Hats Off To Keeping Calm

, , , | Related | June 18, 2018

(It is the nineties and I am ten. It’s morning before school in winter. I’ve just gotten dressed and got all my things together. I walk to school by myself.)

Mom: “Come here, [My Name]. I bought you a new winter hat and want to try how it fits on you.”

Me: “Not now, Mom; I need to use the bathroom.”

Mom: “Never mind that. Just come here for a minute; I really want to see how it looks on you!”

Me: “But Mom!” *it is way too awkward, as well as hot inside, to go to the bathroom with a winter hat on*

Mom: “Oh, come on. It’s just one minute! You can go to the bathroom after we try it on. You can take the hat off right afterwards, I promise!”

(I give up and let her put it on my head. She fusses with it for several minutes, adjusting the hat and my hair this way and that way, before finally declaring she’s satisfied.)

Mom: “There! That looks so nice! I knew it was a good purchase! You’ll wear it to school today.”

(I then take the hat off to go to the bathroom.)

Mom: *immediately starts screeching like a banshee* “What the hell are you doing?? You ungrateful brat! How dare you take it off?!” *and on and on in this vein, with some cursing*

(I’m shocked and take a step back.)

Mom: *threateningly* “Don’t you dare go anywhere! Get back here right now! Why you! I’ll… I’ll…” *followed by all sorts of threats that really shouldn’t be aimed at a child*

(I can’t deal with this, so I just automatically head to the bathroom like I’d planned and like she’d previously told me I was allowed to. I do my business and come out, hoping the craziness will magically stop. No such luck.)

Mom: *very threateningly* “How dare you?! You b****! I’m telling you right now; if you dare take a step out of this apartment without that hat on your head, you had better plan on never coming back home again!”

(I think, “Wow! What a great suggestion, actually.” I collect my coat and backpack without a single word, without even making any sign I’ve heard anything she’s said.)

Mom: *shouting at my back as I turn away from her* “Better learn to feed yourself from now on! I’ll never want anything more to do with you again! You’ll be living on the street! You’d better never set foot in my house again, you hear me?! You ungrateful waste of…”

(She was clearly still expecting me to run back to her, snivelling and crying for forgiveness for my “transgression.” I calmly walked to the door, opened it, left, and slammed it shut behind me as hard as I could while she was still shouting. I went to school like normal, and came home after like usual. I was kind of wondering what would happen. The threats to kick me out on the street had been made before, numerous times, ever since they’d fetched me back from living with my grandparents when I was five. It would be done at the drop of a hat, for the most minor “misbehavior,” and always before this I caved in terror and begged for forgiveness. I guess I’d just finally had enough. When Mom came home, not a single word was said about anything that went on that morning. It was just never referred to in any way. I may be mistaken, but she might have been just the slightest bit relieved that I had, in fact, returned home. Threats or no threats, I was their only child. The hat was never mentioned again, and no similar scenes with any winter clothing were ever repeated.)

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