“Cameron you really got to start calming down. I am not bailing you out with the principle anymore.” I was pacing the empty classroom as my Dad peered at me through his thin square spectacles. Although his voice was calm, a quiet anger simmered in his throat. This was his place of work, and although I understood my erratic behaviour was a constant headache for him, I didn’t have to acknowledge my History Teacher and my Dad were one and the same. I sat with pursed lips seething whistling breaths as if trying to disperse the red mist.
“I don’t care who started it anymore, you have got to control your temper. I got you down to a weeks’ worth of detention, Mr Callan was going to suspend you. You will do the detention and at home you are going nowhere but your room, using the computer for nothing but your assignments, and your weekend with Casey is off.” I sat looking at him, his stern and placid face framed by a large projector screen behind him. I wanted to grab his head and push him through that wooden desk he was sat on.
“Casey and I are going to a rally; I can’t miss out on that.”
“When did I ever give you the impression that I ever minded about a bloody DOF rally Cameron? You could be going Disneyworld for all I cared; you would still be stuck in doing that History assignment due in for Monday.”
“Don’t push it, this isn’t home mate, here there are consequences that I don’t render.” I stood up from my chair, the plastic feet scraping against the wooden floor as I lurched forward to stand facing my Dad. My Teacher. Rising to meet me, Dad pushed himself from the desk he planted his feet to the floor with an audible thud. I was in his face, and probably not for the first time that week. The large room around us was quieter than stalking death, it was like the green walls, and door had all taken a deep breath in ready for my wrath. I wanted to scream. I felt at that moment that my Dad never understood me. Christopher Walk was a little prick who deserved the enflamed and vicious black eye I gave him. He insulted my mother, he insulted my sister and he insulted my life. I wasn’t born with my Dad’s eloquence and analytical skills. I was born with his temper; I was born with his violent passion.
“Very intimidating Cameron, now sit back down and calm it.” Breathing deeply I slumped in the hard plastic chair, draped my arm over its blunt and rough edge and eyed my father coolly. He stared at me for a dramatic minute or two before sighing.
“Mate you’re a good kid. I know this, you know this, but that awful temper of yours is a liability. I heard what that little shit bag Walk said to you, it is horrible and nasty, but that wasn’t the time to start swinging. What he said about your mother was bloody horrendous, and I am angry that anyone can ever use her to hurt you. I loved her too once you know.” Great, the start of another Simon Wood guilt trip was warming up. I needed to stop him before he launched into ten minutes of how this violence would besmirch her memory, how she would have hated her only Son turning into the sort of man her stepdad was, and how that I have to rise past the niggling irritating little penises that just inspire hate in me because I am an easy target.
“Maybe I don’t want to be the good kid of a respectable and boring History Teacher Dad. Where did turning the other cheek ever get you? Fuck saying you loved my Mother. If you loved her that much she wouldn’t be dead at the hands of a violent drunk now would she. You I and Grace would have been together. If that is what your love is worth, then so God help me, I hope you don’t mean it when you tell Grace, Henry, Joey and I that you love us.” The words of an ungrateful and ultimately hateful teenager were swinging in the air. I could see my Dad’s eyes darkening, I could smell his rage on the air. I could feel that he wanted to rip me limb from limb. I don’t know why I got such sick amusement from pushing his buttons.
“Cameron get out of my sight.”
“About fucking time. We’re done huh?”
“Yes we’re done, get the fuck away from me boy.” I knew he was hurt and angry, he very rarely dropped the F bomb in front of me, let alone directly at me. I grinned with some grim satisfaction that I had pierced his skin again. I was a teenager, of course I was right. I had the undeniable right to piss him off, he was my Dad. Who else can I take my rage out on?