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.
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.