Why I Left Florida
by Kathleen Tyler
One Saturday afternoon at the bowling alley when I was eight, I ran off. Shrieking with cleverness, I hid behind racks of shoes, flashing pinball machines. The thunder of balls rolling down lanes, smashing into pins, was so loud that I could not hear my mother call. When I giggled my way into the house, her head was cradled in the hook of my father’s arm, his fist slamming into her face. After all, I was his favorite. For years, they tried to make it up. Easter egg hunts in the park, home-made sun dresses, summers at Indian Rocks beach. But I still hear muffled shouts, the closet door splintering when she crashed into it. Sobbing, my mouth pressed into the carpet. Please. I don’t want to be so terribly loved.
Kathleen Tyler is a fifth-generation Floridian who was born and raised in Tampa. Since 1979 she has lived in Los Angeles, California. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Los Angeles High School.