The man called my father was a infinitesimal human being. Yet, he managed to inflict unrelenting, pulsing, infectious torment to our family.
He was our splinter.
My mother held the tweezers. Every so often dangling them in front of our eyes. In front of his eyes.
My heart skipped when she took them out but always, always, they were put away; hidden in a place that only she could reach.
One afternoon I was summoned by him. He had a splinter in his finger and I was given the task of removing it. I prepared him for each prick of the small needle for this was the only time I ever was allowed to inflict pain on him and it made me sick with fear and anticipation.
I tried to revel in the way his hand was finally clenched in pain.
I never saw the other hand strike me. I felt it explode on my cheek as my small, childlike body shook to the side. I could not stop the tears from flowing silently as he forced me to continue. I could not see through the blur of water in my eyes. I held the needle helplessly wishing myself dead. Wishing him dead.
A tiny insignificant speck of a tree.
So much pain.