Part I: Brooke
I was 5 years old when I first heard Mommy and Daddy fight.
I was in the living room playing with my barbie dolls when I heard something shatter in the kitchen. Daddy was angry again as I sat there and waited for Mommy to make me my macaroni and cheese. He was yelling incessantly, and Mommy seemed sad. I ran over.
“Daddy, don’t yell at Mommy!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
“Get out of here!” Daddy responded, as his face turned red like a tomato.
“Do not speak to her that way,” mommy croaked.
“I’ll do damn well as I please.”
I knew daddy got angry a lot and it would scare me. But I would cover my ears and try to shut him out by remembering all those times he let me stand on his feet as we moved across the dance floor at family parties. Mommy always seemed sad while she cooked which she did every day because daddy didn’t know how. Cameron, my big brother was barely home because he was always with his friends playing baseball. He had lots of friends who would never come over to the house because they always heard daddy yelling. I would ask Cameron to take me with him, but Mommy always kept me home. He would stay out past dinner and when Mommy would ask where he was, he would always say he stood late at Jonathan’s house.
“Did you eat?” Mommy would ask.
“Yeah, his family is normal, remember? I wouldn’t know what that’s like.”
She would return to what she was doing in the kitchen. She always turned her back when she was ready to cry. I wanted so badly to fix it. I wanted to show mommy she was loved. Cameron just seemed angry at the world all the time, but I didn’t blame him. We feared daddy’s anger, but it seemed like we were both inheriting the anger trait without us even knowing it. We were angry we could not fix things for mommy. Whenever daddy got angry, he would break things. He would break tables, lamps, computers, TVs, and my toys when they were laying around.
“Why don’t you ever pick up your flipping toys!” He would yell across the room to me.
“Daddy, I’m sorry.”
“If you keep leaving your damn barbie dolls lying around, I will throw them in the garbage.”
“No Daddy, please, no!”
Mommy got tired of cleaning when he would break things. She would leave the shattered glass on the floor, but then no one would clean it. Our dog, Chopper, would run to his den, with his tail hidden away between his hind legs when daddy would yell too. We were all scared of him. I don’t remember the last time we had family over. Everyone would make some excuse to Mommy on the phone about why they could not attend Thanksgiving Dinner or spend Christmas day in our home.
“I’m sorry Carolina, we can’t make it. Chelsea has the flu and we do not want the babysitter to get sick. We are staying home.”
Mommy’s face changed from happy to sad. She had a little sense of hope in her eyes when she would call and as soon as the person on the other line would tell her they could not attend, she would respond with an ‘okay,’ and hang up.
“Mommy, why are you so sad?”
“Nothing honey, Aunt Lori cannot make it to Thanksgiving Dinner.”
Thanksgiving was usually mommy’s favorite holiday because she would cook lots of yummy things.
Daddy ruined it for her.
“Now I have all this food that I made, and no one is coming,” Mommy said in a low tone.