Sunday was bible day at our house. Dad was a member of some cult-church where you shoved religion down kids' throats all Sabbath and then got drunk. Marshall was pretty good about taking in all the information. Cathy not quite as good. Me, horrible. I'd hear names: Peter, Paul, Octavio, Gaius . . . but really I was in some other world where cats played in pretty little fields of flowers. Where castles sparkled in the glow of day. Ice-cream and music, babbling brooks and—"Amy! Can you tell me what Ahab did in that last section?" I'd start to cry. I never was able to give a proper answer, and was shaking in my patent-leather shoes over getting the belt.
Mom used this time to do some laundry. I'd sneak-a-peek over my right shoulder and catch her coming up from the basement, arms loaded. I'd try to send a telepathic message, "Can't you make him stop?" "No, he'll come after me." It was true. You didn't raise your voice to Dad unless you wanted a fight. And believe me, Mom took him on plenty of times, even losing a tooth once. Bible readings apparently weren't worth the effort. Hours and hours of bible readings.
When he was done he'd close the leather-bound book all stern-like and pace around the room. Had he made his impact? Were we saved? Would we reject all sin, human frailty, Satan himself dressed in red satin dripping with sugar and video games? Would we obey? Yeah sure.
I still can't open a bible without a feeling of being shoved against a wall, suffocated, branded, whipped. The best book ever written and I can't read a word.