At the start of 2007, after many years of putting on weight and feeling miserable, I made a change. It was the first of many. My father hated that I was taking control of my life.
One of those changes was my diet. I realised food was there to keep me going and I needed it as a source of energy not comfort. I spoke with a friend who gave me some diet advice which I followed religiously for the following four months. It caused me to make significant choices with food. No longer was I lazy, I prepared everything freshly. I took the time to enjoy my meals. I wasn’t use to enjoying food. I was used to binging on it.
My father did not want to lose this right, he needed to keep some power, he needed to hold on to some control. He would hover around me in the kitchen, condemning my decisions, arguing that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients or that I was starving myself (there was no portion control in the diet so that definitely wasn’t the case).
One one occasion, after making a low fat gratin, my father appeared as the timer went off.
“What are you cooking?”
“I’m trying out a recipe”.
“What is it?”
“It doesn’t have any potato in it, it’s low fat,” I didn’t want him to taste it and disapprove of it.
“You don’t want me to have it you mean!”
He saw through me.
“I don’t want your nasty food anyway”.
I turned away from him. Of course, he didn’t like my disobedience. I had been disrespectful. By the time I turned back, he had gone. I felt relieved. Little did I know, he was waiting around the corner, watching and listening to me sigh with relief and mutter to myself.
“Thank God,” I said quietly.
I opened the oven and with gloves, pulled out the aromatic dish. I carefully moved to the side of the sink to place it on a plate I had set there.
“WHAT are you doing?!” my father screamed, “Don’t put that hot thing in the sink, it’ll crack! Stupid!!”
The shock of his sudden appearance, the volume of his scream, it startled me. I had no intention of putting the dish in the sink. With panic, I rested the dish on the edge of it instead. His screams became louder and confusion ensued. I had no idea what I had done wrong. I began shouting at him to stop as the dish began to slip from my grasp.
“Do not drop that! It was expensive! Babitago!!”
The next five things followed in a sequence that merges into one.
- The dish lost it’s balance.
- My father yelled swears at me.
- I pressed my left arm against it to prevent it from falling.
- The searing pain made me release it.
- The dish smashed to the floor.
- I looked at my burnt, scarred arm as my father left the kitchen saying:
“Clean it up”.