“You’re sick in the head,” Dad snarls.
“I probably am, living with you.”
I punch myself in the head again. It hurts more this time, but I try not to show it.
“Paulie, stop,” says Mum.
“Why? He’s gonna kill me anyway. Might as well get it over and done with.”
“You’re a fucking looney tune, that’s what you are.”
His whiskers, all up in my face.
“Be a man. Try and hit me.”
His fist, clenched, twitches like a gunslinger’s.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you? You’re the one fucked in the head.”
“Go on and hit yourself, then, you little gobshite.”
His sour breath up my nose. I hold his gaze and take half a step back to wipe his spittle from my face.
“Have you finished?”
“Go’way before I finish you.”
I turn my back and bang the door after me. As I climb the stairs, Mum says, quietly, “Why are you such a bastard?” I don’t hear if he responds.
In my room, my fingers press the right side of my face. It doesn’t feel too different from the left, but I hope I won’t look a dick in school. I daren’t check the bathroom mirror. I need to listen in case he comes up. My sisters listen in their rooms.
I open the window and smoke a fag nicked from his coat pocket, making sure the smell stays out the room. My heart’s still pounding. My fingertips are yellow. I have an exam in the morning.