She glared into my eyes and clasped my wrist as tears started blurring my vision. I tried to hold them back, but couldn’t. I tried begging her to stop, but the words were trapped deep inside. She knew I was terrified and I swear she was grinning.
As if to mark me with a brand, she took the lit cigarette from her lips with her middle finger and thumb and jammed the ember of it into the palm of the hand she held so tightly it bruised.
I was sure the cigarette burned all the way through to the outside of my hand. I was sure she was crucifying me with it.
“If you ever so much as look away from me when I tell you what to do, I will do worse than this.” Her words spat onto my face.
The scream that escaped from me begged for her release but she clenched on even tighter.
“Do you fucking understand?”
“Yes,” I sobbed.
She threw my wrist away from her and I ran into the bathroom to shove my hand into the cold toilet water.
When I pulled my hand out of the toilet, and looked at my burned palm for the first time, I could see she hadn’t crucified me after all. There was a small hole in my palm, almost perfectly in the center, but it wasn’t as deep as it felt.
When Ma got home, Sissy told her I tried grabbing something from her and accidentally grabbed her cigarette.
“Why were you smoking inside?” Ma asked her before turning to me and barking, “And why can’t you keep your hands to yourself?”
Ma sauntered off to the fridge for a beer and Sissy winked at me.