When I was 5 years old I would curl into a ball under the bedcovers and sing to drown out the sounds of my mother stammering “sorry” again and again, pleading with him not to hurt her. I never knew it wasn’t the way all families behaved until I asked Cissie what song she sang to drown out slaps.
“My favourite is Paul Simon,” I said. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. I’m going to sing it to Mama and ask her to pick one.”
Mama chose by herself, without me singing to her even once. Cissie didn't ask me to tea again afterwards.
Maybe she would have if I’d sung to Mama about the bus and she’d made a plan that didn't involve using a knife.