Kelly cleaned up Coralina, and started making breakfast. Mark’s nose was still bleeding. He went up stairs and stripped off his clothes, turned the shower to hot and the steam filled the room. Once under the muffling sounds of hot water he sobbed. Coralina had almost died. This was all his fault. His uncompromising fears about being a bad father were replaced with the belief that it was too late. He did the best he could do as a father, and even though he tried desperately not to continue the abuse he had grown up with, still his daughters were in incredible danger. They could be permanently harmed by his actions. He wept from the unrelenting guilt, and the overwhelming fear. But then he let his anger grow hard, as he toweled off and prepared to face the day, and his wife.
How he was going to talk to Kelly about this very serious development? Maybe they really were cursed, or haunted. It was the first moment that it seemed real. The stages, that seemed like coincidences, were now prominently waving in his face.
He was terrified that Coralina might be in the middle of it. Would her bones break? A shudder ran down his spine the moment he thought it.
“Kelly? Can I talk to you about something?” He said, when he came and sat down. It was still only six in the morning and he had a little bit of time before had to go to work. Kelly was in the middle of making pancakes.
“Is this about my job again? I told you I’m not going to get a new one. I’m staying home. You can’t stop me.” She said slamming down her spatula.
Immediately Mark was furious, his misplaced anger overwhelming his brain. His heart was pounding in his eyes, they were slanted little slits of fury at her. “You have to get a job! But that’s besides the point, I was trying to talk to you about…”
But she charged at him, “I do fucking not. And you can’t make me. I will do what I want.” Then she whirled her cocky little head around, so her back was to him. Anger bouncing between them like a energizing game of ping pong. She started scrubbing a pot, with furious big long strokes. Water was flinging up in little tiny dots all over the house. As she slammed the pot down into the suds, they let out a cry of steamy little anger.
“Geez, that’s not even what I was trying to talk to you about! Fuck. Why do you have to be like this! If you like eating we have to work. But whatever, who cares. Eating doesn’t matter. Does it? You being jobless screws our finances.” He grabbed his wallet and held it in front of his crotch and pretended to ride it. “Look I’m Kelly I just fucked our finances.” Then he threw it on the ground and stomped on it. “Get a job, if you want us to eat. That is how this works. That is the reason we work.” Mark shouted, stomping on his own wallet while his wife stared at her.
Just then Beth stepped into the room, her tiny little mouth in a circle. “You don’t like it?” She whimpered, and immediately started to cry.
It was then, that Mark remembered she gave him the wallet for his birthday. “Fuck. Beth, no… I…” He clenched his fists and glared at his wife. This was her fault, he was sure. He picked up the wallet and shoved it back in his pocket. “I saw a spider.” He swallowed, staring at her upset eyes and she nodded slowly.
“Okay.” She said, with a sniffle, and stepped back out of the room to the dollhouse.
Kelly was silent, furiously scrubbing the pot refusing to speak to him. A moment later she set a pile of pancakes on the table and said, “food is ready.” She said it with a soft sneer, a laced threat. Like: we are eating, so maybe I don’t need a job.
He slammed the front door on the way out, his belly empty of pancakes. Anger was throbbing in his chest, and he never even told her that he thought they were cursed.