It is a beautiful, warm and cloudless day, in the summer of 1965, three and a half years after Sammy’s magical birthday. That party, at the age of five, seems like a lifetime ago. It’s a buried and irrelevant memory to him, now.
In the Kline’s contemporary, tri-level, home, under a Sapphire colored sky, a blanket of darkness in the foyer closet is Sam’s sanctuary. He knows from experience, it’s only a temporary rampart from the raging tigress in hot pursuit of him.
Uncontrolled tremors take possession of him. He listens intensely for the familiar growl of the approaching threat. Quietly drawing a shallow breath, he leans forward to peek through the wooden slats of the folding door. Although muffled, Sammy can hear the frolicking chatter from the neighborhood children outside. It has no reducing effect on his mounting anxiety. On the contrary, it’s amplified with sadness in the expectation that he won’t be joining them, anytime soon.
At this time, all he can hope for is that it will take a while for her to find him and maybe, just maybe, she’ll simmer down a bit. He’s praying for what is sure to follow won’t rise to the level of the last frightening and painful episode.
“Samuel Douglas. Where are you? Answer me, you little sh__!” she wails from the other side of the closet door.
“Oh-no, please, God,” he moans under his breath.
Sammy could feel the blood draining from his face and his tears, like hot beads, blazing a trail through the cold sweat on his pale cheeks. In a bolt of remorse, he wishes that he could relive the minutes prior to this predicament. If only I had kept my mouth shut, as a snivel escapes it’s incarceration. No sooner did he finish the thought, the door slams open with a jarring clack.
“There you are. Do you really think that you can hide from me? Are you that stupid? I am your mother. How dare you compare me to your friend’s mothers. You don’t know what ‘mean’ is!” she snarls. “Look at me when I’m talking to you...Look at me! You little son-of-a-bi___!”
Reluctantly, Sam lifts his head from a near fetal position on the closet floor. He can’t help fixing his teary eyes on his mom’s bottom front row of teeth, fully exposed and overlapping part of her upper lip. She always flashes them when she snaps into a fit of rage. The virulent tigress shakes her tightly clinched fist at him. In it is one of dad’s black leather belts, folded in half and wrapped once around. She lunges toward him. Sammy realizes that his prayerful request is not granted.
Darcy continues her enraged rant, “So, you wanna' hit me? I’m going to make sure you never raise your hand and voice to me, again. Who do you think you are?”
Sammy pleads, “But, mom, mom, I didn’t…”
“Don’t ‘but-mom’ me. Now, get you’re a__ out of there!...NOW!” she retorts.
Too distraught to audibly form the words, in his mind he’s pleading his case. I wasn’t raising my hand to hit you. I was trying to block you from slapping my face. A stinging assault that he’s felt several times before. In an instinctive reflex of self defense, his feet kicking frantically, Sammy resembles prey fending it’s prowler.
“You’re just making it worse for yourself. You’re gonna’ get what you deserve,” and lands a couple of kicks of her own.
Darcy, then tries to get a hold on his thin and now bruised legs, to pull him out from his failed, imaginary, citadel. Unsuccessful with that attempt, her unwonted strong arms swipe toward his head and she manages to grasp a handful of Sammy’s, thick, brown, locks and yank him forward.
Crying profusely, he yells, “Ahh, ouw-ouw-ouw. Please, mom. Please, no. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, mom!”
With her gritting teeth still flashing and squinting her glaring eye’s, she answers, “Yeah, sure, you’re sorry, now. You’re going to be sorrier when you can’t sit down for a week!”
As she drags Sammy along by his hair, through the living room, up the staircase and down the long hallway, he tries to pull himself toward her with both of his hands clinging on to her forearm. It's a desperate attempt to lessen the pain caused by the ripping of hair follicles from his scalp.
They finally reach his room. On another day, it would be a charming retreat for a young lad, but at this moment, it’s transformed into what looks more like a torture chamber, to Sammy. In his horrifying state of anxiety, crying louder and still begging his mother for mercy, she bends him at the waist over the wooden foot-board of his Early American style bed. Sammy, quickly shoves his open hands around to his backside, in an attempt to soften the blows. Darcy struggles to cuff them with one hand while pulling down on his trousers with her other hand. This frustrates her, which only adds to her madness. Sammy, no longer concerned with that, can only concentrate on using any strength he has left to try to escape the judgement being carried out...