It slides in easier than Sam had expected. All the tissue and muscle and gristle parting as easy as his father’s lips did when a bottle was put to his mouth.
Sam feels the adrenaline course through his veins. In the background, the BBC news beeps its theme tune and Sam imagines it’s his dad’s heart monitor. That longer, final beep comes and Sam looks into William’s eyes. They betray fear. Sam thinks he sees a glimmer of pride in them, he imagines that, for the first time ever, his dad will think of him as a person, not a thing. Not some aberration like Frankenstein’s Monster. It wasn’t Sam’s fault, was it? It was probably thanks to his dad’s love of the booze, faulty sperm.
Yeah, Sam knows about sperm. Sam knows about a lot of things but everyone thinks he’s stupid. Just because he loves TV and sits giggling every day, people don’t take the time to care if he really is as stunted as they say.
He stands there, thinking all this, as his wrist flicks from side to side. The squelching noise is both repulsive and funny. Sam feels a slow smile split his face. He wonders whether he should say anything to his dad about why sticking this perfectly placed knife into his guts brings him such pleasure. Surely his dad knows? He must know abut the lurching in Sam’s tummy every time William lurks in the doorway? Thirty-odd years of fear and misery. Decades of wanting to see his mum, sensing that she was near despite William’s screaming protestations.
Sam decides silence is the best way forward. Sam snaps out of his miserable memories when he feels warm droplets land on his hand. He’s confused. He glances down at the hand, clenched white around the knife’s long, black handle. He looks up at his dad again and sees that his tormentor is simultaneously sweating and crying. Drops of salty tears trace their silent path down his weathered face. His yellow, old before its time, face is no longer twisted in its usual brutal sneer. William’s mouth, slightly open, catches the tears that drip down from his wide eyes.
William looks like an old man. Sam feels the tiniest flicker of guilt rumble through his body. He’s just a man, a broken old man, Sam thinks to himself but as he considers withdrawing the blade from his father’s abdomen, a memory of his mum hits him around the head. He sees his dad disappearing, his hand gripped – much like Sam’s now – around a knife. He hears crying, screams, his mother begging.
Sam twists the knife again, he likes that sound.