I run in big circles
through the library and living room, through the den and dining room, and Dad is not giving up. I'm slipping on wood floors and I'm screaming through doors and I don't want to fall because I don't want to stop,but I don't know where to run. Mom is screaming for me to stop screaming. She's in the kitchen trying to cut me off but I shove her into the stove as I run by.



I know this is stupid,running through my own house.I try to be rational, act my own age: "Dad," I yell out, "I'm too old to spank. Fourteen is too old."

"Then stop running," he yells as he slides through the hallway.

"You're going to get in trouble," I tell him.

"No," Mom yells to me from the kitchen, "You're the one in trouble."

I run through the breakfast room through the laundry room and I push over all the laundry to slow Dad down.

I run upstairs to rooms with doors, but he does two stairs for each of mine, and there's no time to shut a door behind me. He grabs me in the guest bedroom.

"Stop. You're hurting me!" I yell, before he is.

"Damn right I'm gonna hurt you," he says.

I wriggle away and scream, loud enough for Marc to hear on the third floor, but I know he won't do anything--he's too scared of our parents. Dad gets hold of my arm and it's taking too much energy for me to scream. The whole house is quiet. I kick him in the stomach and knock his glasses off. I have a plan to scratch his eyes out, but I'm always too scared to do it. He gets hold of both my arms and knocks me down. I plead quietly and rationally: "Dad, we're not doing this again. This is so dumb." He ignores me. He pins me on the floor face down and lies on top of me to hold me there. I stop arguing. I'm embarrassed and just waiting for it to be over--hoping he doesn't do anything that will show at school.

"Take down your pants," he tells me.

"I'm too old," I say into the carpet.

Dad has a totally rational tone to his voice now: "I'm going to let you get up, and if you run away, it's going be worse." He stands up and blocks the doorway.

I stand up and look at him. "I'm not doing this. You're going to be sorry. This is stupid. You don't have to do this."

"Just do it!" he yells, and the veins in his neck pop out. He's red and throbbing. He's sweating.

I take off my pants as he takes off his belt. He sits down on the bed and pulls me down with him. My face is in his lap and my arms dangle over his thighs. When he starts belting me, I bury my head in his lap so he doesn't hear me crying. Every time the belt hits, my arms wrap tightly around his thighs and he groans.

After a while, he stops. I am silent, sniffling-in as quietly as I can. I don't want Marc to hear. I don't want anyone to come in now.

I can tell there's no blood because Dad's hand runs so smoothly up and down my butt, in between my thighs. He is searching everywhere for blood. He won't keep going if he thinks I'm hurt.

When I think he's still searching, his hand smacks down. On my butt. On my thighs. He's aiming badly because he's hitting so hard. His whole body is moving with each swing, faster and faster and then, he stops. And rests his hand deep, in between my cheeks, and it feels good to cry, so I don't hold back anymore.

"All right," he says. "I'm done."

I can't move. I feel silly standing up in front of him without my clothes on, and anyway, my butt hurts too much to move.

Dad feels the wetness in his lap, and he picks up my face to wipe away the tears. And then he flips me over and puts my head softly against his chest. It moves up and down. His arms are around me, hands stroking me like a bunny. I am sniffling, taking deep breaths. He is breathing hard too. And I am so tired, I want to stay in this position forever.

He says, "Honey, I'm sorry this happens. I don't want us to fight anymore."

I hug him and apologize. I don't want to fight anymore either.

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