The View from Down Here

They fought.

Not like normal fighting, no. Like crazy fighting.

Like hit each other, call the cops and send someone to jail kind of fighting.

Us kids, we were used to it. We did our best to hide in order to avoid some sort of secondary onslaught. Or we hid and watched behind a cracked door when we were really curious.

I was always a wannabe problem solver – a peacemaker – the curse of a Libra, I read somewhere. More times than not, I was smack dab in the middle of a lot of fireworks. Sometimes it got me in trouble, sometimes it got me out of trouble.

I didn’t much care either way. All I really wanted was for them to get along. Sometimes it just didn’t seem like they even loved each other anymore.

But this night, in the mother of all fights.. this night scared me more than I ever remember being scared in my life.

They were yelling, as usual. The name-calling, the threat of divorce; it was all there. But now, even though most other times he would try to fend her off, he would barely touch her in order to do that. You see, her huge belly was a deterrent for him. She was due within a month or so, with his baby, and even he had a line that he wouldn’t ever cross.

I was just standing there, in the dark hallway, watching and listening while they screamed. It seemed darker, more intense, than the norm. Their anger dripped from the walls and engulfed the room, stealing the breath from my small body.

I was petrified. Petrified to the point that their words were incomprehensible through the fog that shrouded my ears.

But when the unimaginable happened, it seared itself into my memories for eternity.

I watched, eyes unblinking and wide, as she clenched her fists and began punching herself in the stomach, screaming her protests about a baby she no longer wanted because it was his.

He didn’t stay to watch. Maybe he knew that his presence would only serve to fuel her and make it worse. He walked out and I watched as she staggered to the couch, crying, arms circling her baby-filled belly, and dropped down on her side. Broken. Exhausted.

I hesitated, then hurried over, falling to my knees beside her. Tears streamed down a child’s face as I grasped her hand and asked if she was ok; if the baby was ok; if she needed to go to the hospital.

I was almost certain at that moment, seeing the pain on her face, that something horrible would happen.

“I’m fine.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “Please, just leave me alone.”

I hesitated, not wanting to leave her there by herself.

“Everything’s fine. Just go back to bed.”

I stood up and walked slowly back to my bedroom, keeping a vigilant ear pointed in her direction for several moments as I hovered in the doorway.

As her crying slowed, and then finally stopped, I climbed into bed. I don’t know how long it was before I was finally able to fall asleep. I kept seeing her face: emotionally beaten, haunted, eyes empty.

After all of that, how could she possibly tell me that everything was fine?

Because the view from down here? Terrifying.

____________________

This post was written in response to a prompt by The Red Dress Club.

This week, we want fightin’ words.

Write a piece about a fight. What happened? Why? Who “won”? What were the repercussions?

Show us. Use emotion. Description.

This can be fiction or non-fiction. Your choice. Word limit is 600.

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About Caitlin's Concepts

Mom to 4 boys and drowning in a sea of testosterone!
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29 Responses to The View from Down Here

  1. Frelle says:

    im so sorry you lived through this and were so scared. i can imagine how her haunted, hollow look would have really shaken you. *HUG* you did an awesome job with this prompt, you brought me right there with you, and it was very brave to speak this page from your story.

  2. Sara says:

    I want to give you (and the child you) a huge hug. I’m so sorry you had to witness that. **hug**

  3. Stacey says:

    That is terrifying and haunting. Was this a fiction piece? You did a great job expressing it from a child’s view. I could feel her fear and anxiety. Wow.

  4. Shell says:

    Wow girl. So intense.

    How terrifying that must have been for you.

  5. CDG says:

    I braced myself for something differently horrific, but what you describes makes me want to turn away, hide my head… I am not brave in the face of conflict.

    What a courageous heart to try to comfort such monstrous pain.

  6. That was a lot for a child to take in. Very brave of you to write this and share. Thank you.

  7. Robin says:

    I think I actually felt my blood pressure go up. Wow, riveting to say the least. I can’t help but ask, how did it end? If you want to share?

  8. Ilana says:

    Wow. I am so sorry that you went through this and I give you huge props for being able to write it down in such a beautifully powerful way. My story isn’t nearly as horrific as yours, but my mother went through a long period of depression after my parents divorced. During that time, I felt solely responsible for her happiness and her well-being. I was ten. Parental distress makes you grow up like none other.

  9. Elaine says:

    Children should never have to see that or go through things like that. I’m so sorry.

  10. Leighann says:

    This is haunting.
    There are no words

  11. Very brave for posting this, I am sure it took you back to a place you rather not visit.

  12. M.J. Putnik says:

    Sniff. Sniff. It’s never a fair fight when the little one’s take the blows. You captured this fight well.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Wow. I can see why you were apprehensive to publish a fight like this. IMO, I think that letting memories like this go help the soul. Sorry you had to witness this fight and many others. Very powerful.

  14. logyexpress says:

    Thanks for sharing this. The writing here is so powerful. I love the imagery of anger dripping from the walls. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  15. I’m so glad you let this out. I can’t imagine having to witness this as a child…how old were you? I hope things between your parents are better now. And I’m proud of you. HUGS!

    • I was 12, almost 13, though I always feel like I was much younger just because of the magnitude of the helplessness surrounding it.. I suppose they’ve mellowed out quite a bit by this point, though I know they’re still quite.. er.. verbal, for lack of a better word. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for stopping by & commenting! πŸ™‚

  16. varunner says:

    I loved the line about anger dripping from the walls. I am so sad that children have to see such messes. You captured the emotions so well – it’s an amazing piece.

    • Thank you so much! I was surprised in that it wasn’t really difficult for me to write it all down and (somewhat) relive it in my head. Posting it on the other hand? I almost didn’t. =/

  17. I’m so sad you lived this.

    This line, ” Their anger dripped from the walls and engulfed the room,…”, describes the feeling perfectly.

  18. That was too much for a child to handle. It’s disturbing and heartbreaking. I admire you for writing about it and posting. I’m glad to learn your parents got better and stayed together, as you mentioned in one of your comments.

  19. jessica says:

    Oh my gosh, I have chills. This is unimaginably terrifying. “Anger dripped from the walls” such a vivid line. So well done but horrifying.

    • Thank you.. funny how sometimes we wish we could go back to childhood for the simpler time it represents.

      It was a pretty rough place; I’m not so sure I would want to go back to it.

  20. Kir says:

    as the child of abuse and watching my dad hit my mom, this was so real, I was almost gasping as I was reading it….your words were so real and haunting, I could feel the awful energy in that room.
    I want to hug you as that little girl….I am so proud of you posting this, sharing it with us. xo

    • Thank you so much… I think it means even more coming from someone who has been in a similar situation. I’m so sorry you had to witness any of that.. it’s something you never truly recover from.

  21. MamaRobinJ says:

    I’m way behind in my reading (sorry!). But wow, D, you brought it in this one. Told perfectly, and so brave to post it. It is what it is, and people need to learn from these stories. Good for you.

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