There was a frog in our house. I was nine years old. My father was tasked with removing it. Instead, he followed it around the room the way a mall security guard might eye a potential shoplifter.
Then my stepmother said “move”, and she placed an open box on top of it, and gently slid it up the wall and turned it over and then the frog was sitting at the bottom. It was too deep for him to jump out.
“Oh, okay,” said Dad.
That was that.
But at dinner, breaking the silence, my father said “I really couldn’t get at it." And I said “couldn’t get at what?”, because I honestly didn’t know what he was talking about. My stepmother sighed.
“I couldn’t get at it,” Dad repeated as he was tucking me in.
I started to get scared.
“Sorry,” he said, and smiled. “It’s okay, honey. Everything’s fine.” He lay next to me, and put an arm around me, and kissed my forehead.
From the kitchen, I heard the sound of dishes clinking together. A cabinet door slammed.
My father jumped. I felt it.