No One Leaves the Table

Dinner started out fine.

He’d made lasagna and I’d helped with the salad and made the table. When dinner was served, he sat at the head of the table, and I was on his right.  The young one sat on my other side, and the elder one on the other side of the table.

The older one seemed tense, sitting stiffly in his chair, and picking at his food instead of eating it, which was not normal for him.  Those kids wolf down their food–I’d forgotten how much teenage boys can eat.

Dad was talking a little bit about his day, and didn’t seem to notice his son looked uncomfortable.  He was talking about his experience in court.  He thinks having to swear on a Bible is hilarious.

Then, the kid dropped the bomb.  And he said it in English.

Let’s just say that he’d gotten himself into a problem.  He’d committed a sexual impropriety that could get him into major, major trouble at school.

Everyone froze, and it was only by the skin of my teeth that I avoided bursting out in nervous panic-laughter “Wow! Better you than me, buddy!”  There is no way in hell I’d admit this to his father in person.  In fact, I wouldn’t even tell him this bad news when we were both on the same continent.  I’d tell him from someplace safely far away, like Antarctica.

You could have heard a pin drop.  The boys and I were frozen, heads down, staring at our plates.

He put his silverware down, not looking at his son, and said, “Tell me: is this a girl from school, or some random bar slut from the village?”


I sneaked a glance at him across the table, and he looked so anxious and miserable that I felt sorry for him.  What he did was stupid, but it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t predatory.  He was definitely in a fucked-up situation that needed to be diffused, but it wasn’t the worst thing ever.  People make mistakes, especially young people.  Frankly, if I was a parent, I’d be considerably more upset if he’d committed a horrible act of bullying or violence, or was caught cheating on his college applications.  I’d be more upset if I found out it was drugs, or he drove drunk and killed someone.

I tried to be supportive, because he seemed scared (can’t say that I blame him.  I was scared just being there).  I said, “Well, that’s bad news, but I don’t think it’s anything that can’t be dealt with. It’s not the end of the world.  I’m sure your family can help–“.

“Be quiet, Margo,” said Dad.

I shut up and returned my eyes to my dinner plate.

“Why are you such a disappointment, (Older boy)?  I’m glad your mother is not here.”

Well, that’s just plain cold, I thought.

“Uh, this is a family matter, so I think I’ll give you some privacy and go to my room,” I said, my voice a little high and screechy.

(It did not occur to me until later that the reason the older boy chose to break the bad news at the dinner table, with his brother and me there, in English, instead of behind closed doors with his father, was that he was hoping our presence–mine, specifically–might help keep his father on his best behavior.  I could be wrong about that, though.)

I pushed out my chair, stood up, and started walking out of the room.

Behind me, he brought his hand down on the table so hard it made all the plates and silverware jump.

“No one leaves the table!” he yelled.  And this is not a man who raises his voice often.

I jumped, immediately turned around and returned to my seat.

You could cut the tension with a knife.  It was terrible.

The young one on my left reached out and grabbed my hand.  His palm was cold and sweating.  I carefully avoid any touching after the incident where he picked me up after my stupid decision to play thumb wars, but I did not take my hand away now.

“Well?  Answer my question,” said Dad.

I looked up.  Dad was tense but otherwise unruffled.  The son was twitching…probably a mixture of fear and rage.

Incredibly, he picked up his dinner plate, and, I swear, was about to chuck it right at his father’s head.  It would have hit, too, because he was sitting only a few feet away.

At the last second, he changed his direction and threw it against the wall behind him.  The food went everywhere.  I actually screamed.

“I hate you!” The kid yelled, getting out of his chair.

Oh boy I really don’t want to be here right now, I thought.

“Sit down right now,” said the father, and his voice was serious as a heart attack.

Or what? I wondered. He’s bigger than you now!  How can you force a teenager to do anything?

He stood there, red-faced and panting…and then sat back down.

“Margo,” said Dad, softly: “Get a new plate from the kitchen and pick up the food off the floor.”

I immediately got up to do it.  I washed my hands and got out a spatula and some big serving spoons.  The lasagna was not in one piece, but its remains were in one location. T salad had scattered all over the floor.  There was tomato sauce on the wall and on the floor.  The plate was broken.  If it’d made contact with Dad’s head, it probably would have knocked out a tooth or split his cheek open.

Nobody was talking at the table behind me.

He’s going to make the kid eat it, I thought.

I stood up and stared at the floor and asked if I should throw it in the garbage or down the disposal.

“Bring it to the table.”

“Uh, where?  What?”

“It’s yours now, Margo.  (Older boy) has given it to you.  Have a seat.”

I sat down stiffly and pushed my first meal, barely touched, out of the way to make room for the second plate.

Bon Appétit,” said the father, who then had a drink of wine, picked up his silverware, and resumed eating his meal as if nothing had happened.

So did I.  Thanking God that the wooden floors were clean, aside from whatever polishes the cleaning crew used.

“How is (Older Boy’s) meal, Margo?  Does it taste good?”

I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel.  I just didn’t want the situation to get any worse.

“It’s fine,” I said, mechanically shoveling food into my mouth.  But nothing was fine.

“You know, (Older Boy),” he said, conversationally, “I am not the one who is doing this to her.  You did this to her.  You caused this.”

I looked at the younger one on my left, who was not eating and looked like he was going to cry.  I felt terrible for him.

“Don’t worry.  It’s okay,” I said, which was a lie, but I didn’t know what else to say.

The meal continued in silence.  Dad finished his portion and leaned back in his chair with his wine, master of his domain.

“The meal is over when Margo finishes her plate.  How do you feel about that, (Older boy)?”

“I’m sorry.”

So, now we have another problem: I do not eat as much as a growing teenage boy.  His portion was probably twice as large as mine.

It took the better part of an hour, and by the end I hoped I’d never see another bite of lasagna in my life…but I choked it down.

He told the older boy to clean the floor and wall and to clear the table: “I’d make Margo do it, but I think she might need to throw up.”

I did.  I did indeed.

Maybe the kid is onto something, I thought.  Maybe this guy needs to be killed in his sleep.

With that, he rapped his knuckles on the table and got up from his chair.

Class dismissed.

I went straight to the bathroom.  When I got out a few minutes later, after heaving and brushing my teeth, I saw the older boy still sitting alone at the table, staring straight ahead.

I went to his father’s bedroom.

When I got up in the morning, the floor, and the wall, were clean.

16 thoughts on “No One Leaves the Table”

  1. What this man knows about parenting could be written on the back of a postage stamp.

    Furthermore, what he did to his adolescent children (because this will have had an effect on the younger, no less than the elder child) was tyrannical, manipulative, and destructive to the point where it can reasonably be called abuse.

    And finally, any man who uses the term ‘slut’ to describe a woman is living in the dark ages. I could parse his words and do an interesting piece about what they mean in terms of classism and its relation to sexism, but it would mean writing a dissertation.

    1. Well, I think we all agree this guy isn’t exactly a role model for his children or anyone genuinely concerned about parenting.

      OTOH, Margo, would it be true to say that, even with all that, you found his treatment of you hot or maybe more particularly, that when you went to his bedroom after dinner, with all that had gone before you were where you wanted to be?

      If it had been too horrific or just too far over the line, you could have left. There would have been an encounter probably, but you could have left. But instead you dutifully and voluntarily went to his bed.

      It’s an interesting dynamic but not a dilemma.

      1. The same can be said for most domestic abuse cases. It’s easy to talk about walking away, much harder to actually do it

        I think everyone involved in BDSM wishes to distance themselves from actual abuse.
        I see the argument you are making and on some surface levels BDSM and abuse can be indistinguishable so I totally get how you can confuse the two. However remember, if this is a kink scene, those kids did not consent to be a part of it!

        1. I’m feeling so horrible for Younger Boy at the moment. That kid is gonna need hella therapy and/or may absorb this horribly misogynistic attitude. Fan-fucking-tastic.

          (I think it’s already too late for Older Boy, tbqh.)

          Miss Margo, all respect but I don’t think I can read about Breaks Down Doors Abusive Father Esq. anymore. This dynamic is hitting a wee bit too close to home. All the best to you and as always please be safe.

          1. I’ve always appreciated your comments, Random Canuck. I mean that. I invite you to check on this blog in a few months to see how things have moved on, because right now I have no idea what the future brings. In any event, I would never expect you to read anything that makes you unhappy.

            Thank you for the consideration you have shown me over the past few years.

      2. Thank you for commenting, Marshall, but I did not find his conduct “hot,” even though we usually have sexual chemistry. The presence of his children and the ugliness with his son, ahhh, ruined the mood. I’ve re-thought how I should have done it differently since then a million times. I was trying to be calm and reassuring in an unacceptable situation so that nothing escalated. What I should have done, at minimum, was dump the food down the garbage disposal immediately so that none of us would have endured that humiliation. I ended up being complicit in it, even though I felt like a victim at the time, and that makes me sick.

        I also should have stood up to him as the other adult there, at least as far as eating LASAGNA OFF THE FLOOR in front of his kids goes. Not exactly setting a great example. That was a big fuckup on my part. I was scared.

        But, I resulted to my default programming and I really thought making a scene would give him more power (in the moment).

        I slept in bed with him because that’s where I was expected to sleep. We did not have sex.

    1. Oh God no. Heinrich’s a Top, but he’d never do anything like this.

      Heinrich and I aren’t together right now because he couldn’t handle the sex work and, being unable to support myself in NYC without it…well, it was a deal-breaker, which is sad but understandable. Also, he wanted me to move in with him, and I felt it was too early.

      1. Good to hear. It didn’t sound like Heinrich but one or two things seemed similar.

        Out of curiosity, what is keeping you with this person? You’re not in denial about how screwy things are (the classic “only doing it because he loves me”). So what is stopping you from just walking?

  2. Long-time reader here, and I’ll admit that for a while I thought these posts were actually fiction. They have an eerie, irreal quality to them. Out of everything you’ve written on this blog, these stories could become the basis for some kind of literary work.

    Part of my reaction, I think, is because I’m a pretty regular reader, and these posts just kind of appeared without some of the usual context you provide. I’m still not clear whether they are happening in the present (although, I guess from your answers in this thread that they are), or if you are recounting something from the past.

    And, yes, they’re the most disturbing posts that have been posted here, which says a lot.

    1. Hi Michael. I know you (online, at least)! Thanks for dropping by.

      I have to be very careful about how I write these because 1) I am paranoid as fuck these days, and 2) I’m powerless money-wise and terrified of his lawyers. It’s why I haven’t even given him a moniker. I’m trying to minimize all the identifying information. If these posts are ever gone overnight, you know why.

      Hope you are well.

  3. Girl oh my god. I don’t even know what to say. The way you write these stories is just absolutely riveting. But also don’t get murdered okay!?!!!??! This older kid seems like a total fucking freak. Hopefully this is not ongoing and you’re just happy chilling in your apartment with your bird friend enjoying tea and making money. Wishing you all the best and please keep writing.

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