The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 42

I opened the door anyway, then slipped into the hallway. Sinking to the floor overlooking the living room, I listened, knowing I’d hear something that would either send me running to the blade or to their arms. At this point, it didn’t much matter one way or the other. I was so tired of fighting with myself.

“I just feel helpless.” My mother’s voice was heavy and friable like water-soaked paper.

Silence from my father. I imagined him holding Mom on his lap and stroking her arm like I’d seen him do one time after one of my bad days. My throat closed up.

Mom’s watery voice cut through the silence.

“I just…” she sobbed. “I love her so much, and she doesn’t understand.” She kept on crying, her voice muffled as if her face was pressed into the fabric of Dad’s shirt.

“I know.” Dad’s voice was barely audible, strained.

“It’s so hard.”

There was something almost frightening about hearing my parents cry the way they were. It wasn’t the first time it had happened, not by a long shot. But there was something about their sorrow in this moment that spoke to me on a personal level. It was as though I could hear the desperation, the raw anguish, the “I can’t do this anymore” embedded in their words. Something shifted within me—a feeling of solidarity ebbing at the edges of my self-loathing.