The Pattern of the Scatter
A Storyby Melanie Viets
The Pattern of the Scatter is crayon circles drawn on bedroom wallpaper. Wide as a little girl’s wingspan. Let her fly away instead of listening to the rumble of anger muffled by thick plaster walls. The crash of a lamp. Another day, the two of them on the kitchen floor. Where the black cat sits in the warmth of the freezer-vent panel. Did she see that? Was it her gentle dad pinning her mom down, or the other way around? Were arms flailing like their curses? Did they look up at her face and wonder how they’d come to this? Did it even happen? Did the girl walk outside and climb into the fold of the sugar maple’s arms?
The Pattern of the Scatter is hiding under the blue settee in the hallway. Having written a story for first grade about a tiger, illustrated. The story angers her father, who blames her mother, who laughs. The girl looks out at the shoes and pant legs of her parents and is confused. “Can’t you see the effects of what you are doing?” he asks her mother. “Don’t you recognize what this tiger is?”
Why does her father hate the tiger? Why is her mother laughing? Where does the girl go now? Behind the barn where wild mint and berries grow. Soft fuzz of mint eases tart of seedy blackberry.