|The Demon Named Divorce
Author: Syria of the Silver Stars PM
This is a true story about my parent's divorce that contains my unique view on the proceedings. It was originally an essay on self discovery for my English class.Rated: Fiction K - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Words: 1,319 - Published: 01-22-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3094553
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is a narrative essay I had to do for English Class. It's a true story about my parent's divorce and my view on it.
I can remember saying those words to my little sister night after night. I was not the best big sister then, and neither am I now, but I still felt a sense of protectiveness and of duty to get Payton to bed before the fights began. Tall for her age, with bushy brown hair and enough energy to power a small city, Payton was only four years old. She didn't deserve to hear what was happening. I wish there was someone who thought that about me.
My family lived in an upper, middle class neighborhood. We certainly weren't rich, but we weren't bad off either. My father, a tall, kind faced man, who was in his mid-40s at the time, had a good job as the owner of his own law firm, and he took his job very seriously. There were some nights where he didn't come till long after dark and many mornings where he left before I woke up. My mother, a loving, dark haired, green eyed woman of the same age as my dad, was a stay at home mom. She kept the house feeling like home and the family happy, but when her temper flared she turned into someone else, a person possessed by her anger.
I can no longer remember when the fights began or what they were about. They most likely started slowly with a quip here, or a sharp remark there, but it did not take long for my parents to escalate from small arguments into full blown screaming matches that were so loud, I could feel them through the floors. They happened at all hours of the day, from first light till long after dark. The late night fights were more common, but daytime confrontations were not unusual. In either, my mother's voice was always the loudest. Her temper would not allow her to be quiet. I could only hear my father's voice when she took a breath. He still yelled, but he had a way of yelling that made it sound like talking. As I listened to those fights, I knew what was coming. Even at eight years old, it was painfully clear that my parents were headed for a divorce.
I did not want to believe it at first. All one's world consists of is their family and friends, and this was even more true for a child. My worst fear was that dreaded word "divorce", a word like a demon's curse, ready and waiting to tear my world apart. No, I did not want to believe it, but the wants and wishes of a child are useless in the face of reality.
However, reality came night after night. After I had finally wrestled Payton to sleep, after I had crawled into bed, and the house was quiet, I would silently send a prayer to God for sleep to come before the fights began - of course it never did.
The screaming came first – a mindless garble of which the only thing perceivable was an overwhelming sense of anger and sometimes the identity of the speaker. Next came the sound of things being thrown. Furniture landed with horrible crashes that traversed the hallway separating mine and my parent's room to land like bombs on my ears. I closed my eyes tightly while trying, and failing, to force myself into sleep. Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. The chant became a mantra; my own personal spell against the terrors of the night. Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. The horrible crashes continued and I pulled my pillow overhead to drown them out. Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep! And then there was silence.
The screaming, the crashing, the yelling – it had all stopped in an instant. I sat up. The silence was complete, nothing stirred, nothing moved. I looked towards the door. If I wanted to, I could go and see what had happened. What was going on in my parent's room? A chance like this might never come again.
I inched off my bed, crept to the door, and slowly opened it. The hallway was dark. The only light came from the door to my parent's room which was partially open. I walked slowly down the hall with my breath held and wincing at every creak. Finally, I arrived at the open door, the only source of light in the hall and yet the place of the deepest darkness.
I pressed my eye to the door, looked in the room, and my breath caught in my throat.
The room was a disaster. Clothes littered the floor, and drawers from the dresser were on the ground. The sheets were on one side of the bed and the mattress was on the other. In the corner was a broken, table top lamp that had obviously been thrown at the wall and shattered on impact. I walked among the devastation, horrified. I could not even begin to imagine the kind of anger that would be needed to do such damage.
People always told me that I looked like my parents. My mom and I had the same blue-green eyes and pale skin. I had my father's nose and his poor eyesight. All of three of us shared the same dark black hair. But in that moment I hoped that that was where the similarities ended. I never, ever, wanted to possess that much anger in my life.
I heard my mother's voice coming from the bathroom; a sound like the trumpet that calls an army to war. My father's answering remark was the enemy's challenge.
I wanted no part in that war, and I wasted no time in retreating. I ran as fast as secrecy would allow back down the hall and into the warm security of my bed, where I lay shaking and crying. Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep.
It was not long before my parents announced that they were getting a divorce and dad moved out. He first went to live in his office and work and I didn't see him for almost a month until he got his own apartment. Mom had problems with running the house by herself and getting money so she decided to go back to school and get her Master's Degree. With mom preoccupied with school and dad moved out, I was put in charge of the house and my sister. However, life went on as usual, especially at school were the most that changed was a question that I kept getting asked.
"So your parents are getting divorced?" asked McKenzie, a polite blond who I played with at school.
I nodded. McKenzie and I were spending our recess on the swing set. I swung slowly back and forth, dragging my foot on the ground and refusing to look up. "Dad's already moved out, but the actual divorce doesn't happen until July."
"Oh," McKenzie's voice was pained. "I'm so sorry. You must wish they would get back together."
I stopped swinging. Wish they would get back together? Why? So they could yell and scream at all hours of the day and night? So I could lay, sleepless and terrified, in my bed? I almost laughed. Even at eight years old I was smarter than that. Divorce may be a demon, but it was the demon that was going to save me from the devil of my parent's anger. And both my parent's and I had already sold our souls to it.
"No," I told her. "I really don't."