On his tenth birthday, no one acknowledged Andy. No one was home. He made himself his usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich, read and went to bed. The feelings of neglect were counterbalanced by the schadenfreude. None of them were getting away with anything tonight.
The next morning, while he was eating his breakfast cereal, his dad got home. Andy saw him as he climbed out of the back of the cab and shuffled up the walkway towards the house. He had his coat in one hand and some papers in the other. Andy tried to escape out the back but, delayed by the gathering of his school supplies, he was too late. As his dad threw him against the walls of the narrow hallway and slapped his face, first with the back of his hand, then his palm, hurt, sting, hurt, sting, he said, "You think you're so smart, Andy? Well, this is life. It's just life," shove, hurt, sting, hurt, sting.
Andy's face wouldn't start really swelling until about the third period. He wet a gym towel with cold water and held it against his cheeks every chance he got. He avoided the bullies. Sharks could smell blood.
As he sat in his car listening to the phone ring Andy felt the cold winter air against his face as the wind blew through the open window. The ringing stopped with a click, then, "Peaceful Cleaning, how can I help you?"