The Gun

by | Apr 9, 2024 | CNF, Issue Thirty-Eight

You lure your friend Mandy towards your father’s dresser. He is still alive, which means you are no older than eight.  You slide the bottom drawer out, climb onto his folded work socks. Mandy boosts herself up, presses her chin against the top drawer’s wooden finish. Next to a broken Timex and an expired driver’s license lies your father’s handgun.

You unveil the .22, with its shiny exterior, mocking, daring you to touch it, cradle it, curl your finger around its trigger. You trace your hand across its surface.  Glance over at Mandy’s saucer eyes, know she is going to tell her parents. Your father will be furious, but you don’t care. You don’t know how you found out about the gun’s existence. Your father would not have waved it around the room. He would not have pointed it at his wife.

Six years later, the neighbor whose child you babysit for will not let Jimmy aim a finger-gun at her. It seems silly since anything–a pencil, a fork, an emptied Pringles container–can be transformed into a weapon. Although your neighbor allows her son to squirt water guns, she doesn’t like being both pointed at and shot at. A captive target, she is not. As soon as she leaves, Jimmy pulls back his trigger thumb, hunts you down. Fires.

Your husband stumbles into the kitchen. He has been drinking. He is packing for a hunting trip with his brothers and your younger son. He points an uncased rifle around the room, puffs out a “Pow.” Shifts, pretends to reload. When you ask what in gods name he is thinking.  “It’s not loaded,” he says, but not before he aims it at you, as you sit trapped in the kitchen nook.

 A week later at marriage counseling, he eeks out another. “It wasn’t loaded.”  Loaded? Maybe not, you think, but he was. And in that chamber? Locked and loaded is blame. Blaming you for his need to hide bottles, POW. Blaming you for viewing his drinking as a problem. POW POW And that fear you have of his words, and now actions? Yes, that will be pointed your way as well. POW

Pin It on Pinterest