Strangers

By Catchalittle

A/N: I wrote this for an english assignment. I don't really like the end but meh.


Their words echo around the room. 'The child's welfare is the top priority,' an attempt to leave a strong impression. 'Now Jason, do you have any thoughts?' These people all dressed up in suits, attempting to sound sincere. I don't know them, uttering words like 'divorce' and 'custody'. I don't care, not anymore; I just want all of this to stop. These people are each trying to swindle the other, wanting the better deal. Legal jargon; used as a weapon, is placed in each sentence that is spoken, confusing most listeners.

I stare down at my hands. Below them sits a wooden table. It is a dark brown, like milk chocolate, with flecks of different shades showing the grains in the wood. I drum my fingers against the wood, ignoring the world around me. Boredom reaches its peak as I stop tapping my fingers and clasp them together, before glancing around. To the right of my clasped hands, is a woman's. Her jasmine perfume is carried around the room. It is an artificial smell that sits in the air, suffocating me. Her nails are perfectly shaped and her hands are smooth and wrinkle free, clearly used to a moisturiser. These are my mother's hands. To the left sit a pair of large hands. Wrinkled and worn, with nails cut short and calluses evident on the palm of each hand. Used to hard work and labour, these hands are my father's. Each pair is different and yet remarkably familiar. Now, however, they are just hands. Perhaps they are those of strangers or of friends. I can no longer tell them apart. Where each crease and wrinkle used to be comforting, it now brings only confusion, loneliness and wishes for the past.

I watch as my father's hands are crushed into fists. My eyes follow them as they lift off the table. They settle by his side. In that instant it's as if my ears pop. The world and sound is no longer muffled and distorted, like it was before. The heavy silence and empty lips clear, revealing harsh words and clipped tones. These two people, my parents, are battling it out for what they believe to be the ultimate prize. Their shouts echo around the room. Eyes are narrowed, lips drawn tight, foreheads furrowed. Their faces are grim with determination.

Their sidekicks, also known as lawyers, stare desperately at each other. Both are trying to calm the building storm in front of them, but the building animosity cannot be stopped. The shouts grow louder; while insults, criticisms and accusations are added to the long list of words used. Neither my mother nor father wishes to give in. They are fighting about me. Twenty-four / seven, they are always arguing over me. Who is to get custody, where I am to go to school? I don't need them to fight about me, at fourteen years old I can look after myself!

Nowadays, they are shadows of their former selves. The two people I cared for most in the world, unrecognisable. Parents; the people who raised me, loved me and I loved them in return. Parents; a word I used to associate with another word, family. People I created special memories with.

Precious memories like spending the day at the beach. Where dad would cook lunch, and mum would take me swimming. After eating we would build sand castles only for the waves to wash them away. I always did want them built too close to the ocean. When I overheated and started to get cranky, we would buy Icey Poles to eat. Finally when the day finished and the sun began to set, I would be bundled up in the car to fall asleep during the car trip home.

Nevertheless, they tore apart our old world and joined another. One I don't want or know how to be a part of. In the process I have forgotten who they are to me; I can only remember how we once were. The three of us, a part of something I used to call family.

I once again focus in on the argument in front of me. I hear my mother's shrill voice, 'He is only fourteen years old for god's sake. It's not like he knows what he wants!'

'He has more of an idea than you do!'

'At least I don't plan years in advance down to the last minute!'

'No, you just go with the 'flow' and hope things work out!'

I stand up and hit the table with my hand. I gain the attention of my parents, causing silence to fill the room as the noise from the argument leaves. I look at my parents, scowling at them. I pause for a minute before opening my mouth to speak, 'Enough! I have had enough. All you do is fight with each other. You pay no attention to what I want. Instead you tell me horrible things about each other. Who are you? Not my parents. Not my mum and dad. They wouldn't do this to me. My parents actually care about me. I don't know who you are. All I know is that to me you are strangers!'

I reef my chair from my path as I make my way towards the door. I pause, waiting for any sound of protest, however none comes. The other occupants in the room seem frozen. Without turning around, I turn the door handle and stride out. Let them dwell on that. I am going home. Just before the door slams shut behind me, I hear murmuring voices.

'Perhaps we could consider joint custody, or at the very least not fight as much around Jason.' I grin to myself; the future just became a little bit brighter.