Amelia stares at the belt, goose bumps popping out on her arms. She doesn’t move though. She knows to run will bring worse consequences than standing and taking her punishment like a man.
She remembers the day she asked her father how she could take it like a man when she was a girl. She never made that mistake again. Rubbing her leg, she winces while thinking about the welt he had left that took three weeks to heal.
Cringing when the screen door slams, Amelia calmly walks to the belt. Pulling it off the hook, she carries it outside to her father who was waiting behind the barn. He takes the belt, sits down on the oak stump, and pats his lap. Amelia lies across his legs, waiting for the first stinging thwack.
Jerking, but being sure to make no noise, Amelia endures her punishment. She is confused when her father stops at three smacks, expecting the usual five. Suddenly, she finds herself in the dirt at her father’s feet. Looking up, she sees him clinch his chest and fall backward over the stump.
“Come along, Amelia.”
“I’m coming, Mama,” Amelia replies, stepping to her side. “Here,” she says, thrusting something into her mother’s hand. “I didn’t want them to forget daddy’s belt,” she smiles, and wonders at the tear running down her mother’s cheek.