Hallway EBB

… so I ran from her as quick as my tiny legs would take me, first through the kitchen and then into the hallway…

As I chase Lucy, our new puppy, down the hallway after she has just peed on our rug, it evokes a memory from early childhood, not just any memory, but what I am certain is the first one I have of my mother, a young mother and a young me, somewhere between two and three years old, having just done something I wasn’t supposed to do, although what exactly I can’t recall, and her taking what she felt were the necessary steps to punish me and prevent me from doing it again, and like most young children I didn’t like being punished so I ran from her as quick as my tiny legs would take me, first through the kitchen and then into the hallway, which in my memory is so big that every footstep echoes but in reality only spans about ten feet, and I end up in my room, where in the corner sits a play tent decorated with Disney characters and that because it is white and the room is dark is practically glowing and lures me to jump inside and hide, even as I hear my mother’s voice yelling my name from down the hall, her Filipino accent getting stronger as she becomes enraged by my disobedience, with each threat I feel my fear growing inside the tent, the thin nylon walls unable to protect me and where eventually my mother’s shadow appears and grows menacingly as she approaches, and after she finds me, I receive a firm spanking that is as much about my mother’s need to release her frustration as it is about correcting my behavior, but what has stayed with me through the years is how consumed with anger she was and how fearful I was of her, the person who at that point in my life I loved the most.

Robert Grubbs is a clinical psychologist who provides therapeutic services to children, adolescents and families. Previously published in several academic journals, this is his first publication in creative nonfiction. Robert currently works and lives in Chicago with his partner and their dog, Lucy and spends his free time writing and wishing for the warm weather of his childhood in the South.
Photo by Ellen Blum Barish