VITERBO UNIVERSITY | SPRING 2014 | VOLUME 78

TOUCHSTONE

LITERATURE

THE MANIPULATION

Jasmine Henry

Woman: You know what happened to you John. You fell from our oak tree in the back yard. You know I tell you not to climb that tree, but you climb that tree anyway. Yes you fell from that tree, right there.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

Now come on let’s wash up for supper, I’ve made fish sticks and green beans. DON’T give me that look Johnathon; you have to eat your green beans…Fine, fine. How about this, you have to have as many green beans as you are old. Seven green beans won’t kill you. And maybe afterwards there might be some chocolate pudding in it for you. Now don’t forget to wash your face too, it’s all dirty. I’m going to go call your father in from his shed.

Oh, his car is gone. He is probably…just getting something from the store.

John, you know your father loves your right? That even if he can’t show it properly. He still loves you so much. He’s been going through a rough time, since he’s gotten back. And if he sometimes gets frustrated and angry and…physical. It’s just because he’s not happy with himself. None of this is your fault. Do you understand that? We both love you so much! And when he…lashes out…We have to deal with it as a family. We are both, we are trying to keep this family together, and it would kill your father and me if you were taken away. I love you. Your father loves you, he might not show it sometimes, but he loves you soo much. So when you’re asked about your face tomorrow at school, what are you going to say?

Johny: That I fell from the oak tree in our back yard.