Suburban Discomfort

The house slowly began to fall apart, as my father limped around the house —and my mother’s poor, forsaken heart started to burst. The children were witnesses —I was witness to it. I had seen firsthand the misery and commiseration associated with family disintegration. The marriage eroded away like the beaches of dreams that have long been forgotten. Their mother was distraught; she was at a loss for words – the world had corrupted her.

The pipes, in which the very blood of this life flew, ceased to do it as such; as if the world fell off its axis, and all that mattered hung in a feeble balance between surefootedness of the future, and the sense of impending gloom. The mother had had enough with this life; with her job; with her husband whom beat and beat upon her – the only thing that she truly cared about in her life was her precious, warm children.

The frigid air of November reigned terror over the thoughts of those awake and melancholic. Over those fighting; over those crying; over those whom wished to be stricken down with a fever to burn their hearts from their unworthy chests. This tale, this greyscale tale, shattered into being upon the kitchen floor with the crack of an old, dusty plate; which, was thrown from the mother’s hands in such a rage.

The father, who, dare I mention here, did nothing more wrong than to be the ubiquitous man in this glorious country of Ah-merica. Yet, still, the war rambled on. The growl of it was heard at night; as the children lay down for tender accompaniment of rest (something that they had greatly been lacking for many, many years). For the screams and shouts and howls lasted long into the night, like gunshots of discomfort piercing through perfect, little ears.

Sometimes, the fights between them were a whirl wind of foul language – a hurricane of temper – a lightning strike of fury. Above all, unanimous, standing high in the rankings of terribleness stood a silent night; one devoid of any noise, or complaints, or breaking glass. As in the pond, undisturbed and dreamlike in its ripples of gentle affection, dreams too, can turn nightmare at the touch of rain upon the restful surface. At the beginning of the storm, which, is inevitably brewing like coffee in the abyss of night, ready at any moment to explode into a hailstorm of heat and displeasure.

A sleeping volcano is more dangerous than one that is highly known, so in the days that followed a bitter disagreement, a calm laid its weary hand upon them, and for a good while they did not fight or stir. Though, how could they. It was a seldom chance that if they were not fighting or sleeping they would even be in the same room as one another. The night eventually came, as with yarn rolling down a hill, at some point it will unravel enough until it does not roll, but instead stops – reaching its end. The end of the line, the period, or what have you.

I, the neighbor whom had no business being there to begin with, saw this devilish work of mankind unfold. The night air was still outside; the air around me was a torrent of fierce vibrations. I was torn – the children watched in fright as their parents vocally disintegrated their lover, their unrealized counterpart. As I made for the door, the disagreement of two agreeable folks moved outside, leaving the eye inside with the children and I, and, having no other option I stayed to console them.

The youngest spoke first, timidly, as uncertainty glimmered in her eyes. “Will you stay, please? When they fight, I get a little…sad being here alone.” She spoke so eloquently for an eight year old. The moment she reached out to me in quiet desperation, I knew I couldn’t desert her as her parents seemed to. For a time longer than a year spent wide-eyed, I consoled and sat and played to ease the minds of the two girls so affected.

The skirmish turned battle turned war in minutes but lasted years. I could hear the muffled shouts penetrating through the windows, and even it came like a bullhorn through the solid Oak door. Feeling as trapped as a child too young to stray away, I sat Indian style on the little one’s bedroom floor, wondering, wondering, wondering – why? Why is this accepted as the human condition, why is this the human condition?

In this nighttime terror, surrounded by ill will and unprotected innocence, the night pressed in on me suddenly the breath would not come to me. The rampant thoughts screamed that I must leave at once; I had no place meddling in the affairs of others. I argued within the most inner reaches of myself until I came to the conclusion that it be of paramount importance to leave now and not speak a word of this to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I fled. With short goodbyes, a prayer to above, and a modest assurance I resorted to flight.


And suddenly the little girl was gone. Her sister searched and cried and screamed her name to such a decibel, I assure you God himself heard and looked for her with keen eyes. Alas! She was gone. Like the dreams of the perfect family. Gone. Into the damp night, her sister fled glancing sideways down the street, back and forth, studying the details of dusk.  Awaiting with adolescent gentleness for her sister to appear with a golden grin — the crinkle of a familiar smile.



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