My crime was slight, but my father was filled with rage. While he was out of town, I had used the record player in our living room. I was about 8 years old. My mother had been there and the four of us — my two sisters, Mother and me — had wanted to listen to some music.
It was some sort of silly, child-like music. I can remember us dancing around the living room — all four of us — having a joyful time.
Then my father came home.
Somehow, he found out that I had used the record player. He had told me numerous times that I wasn’t allowed to use the record player, because I might scratch a record. I could even damage the needle. Or something terrible, apparently.
He flew into a rage and screamed at me. I stood quietly, just as I always did. I picked a button on his shirt to concentrate on. I was required to look at him, but I wasn’t allowed to say anything or show any response. That was the unspoken rule. Most of all, I couldn’t dare talk back or show any hint of anger.