The blood rushing to Jody's head made the fight in the living room sound tinny, and appropriately distant.
The simmering resentment that had characterized her parents' marriage since her brother Josh had been a toddler had boiled over during dinner, right on schedule. The current excuse for the fight – a few years earlier, Jody had come to the conclusion that her parents didn't fight about anything, they had fights and justified them as they went along – was church, which was continuing its recent meteoric climb up the "things that made Gregory and Betsy Kohler scream at each other" rankings.
Her father's voice rose sharply in intensity, soon followed by a flapping noise. Jody, by now a connoisseur of the sounds of parental combat, guessed he'd thrown a magazine to the ground, since nothing more dramatic had been ready to hand. Jody grinned in spite of herself. Her parents hadn't paid attention when she'd "redecorated" two of the rooms that saw much of the combat – the living room and the dining room – and replaced the few surviving glass and china knick-knacks with lightweight woven baskets, needlepoint samplers, and "Oprah" magazines.
As Jody lay across her bed, head and shoulders crooked over the edge so she could peer underneath, a stray beam of light scattered amidst the dust motes orbiting the preserved family treasures. A china statuette of a serene woman stroking an even more serene sheep was barely short enough to fit standing up under Jody's bed, and so she'd put it there last. The statuette, then, blocked her view of the brightly colored glass flowers on wire stems that sprouted from a Kool-Aid red glass globe, which she'd loved ever since she was a little girl. To either side of the flowers, the statuette was flanked by a handful of lesser artifacts – the black clay pottery vase with incised patterns, the small Japanese lacquer-work tray, her grandmama Elaine's third-favorite Hummel figurine, and the rest.
A crackling sound from the living room told Jody that her mother had responded, probably with the small pink Easter basket filled with green plastic grass. If only I'd been able to disarm the kitchen too, she thought.
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