I would stand in the hall looking in at him. He was sitting on the edge of their bed. He looked disheveled, very intense. He was staring at the floor and breathing hard. His face was red. I hated going into that room. The air was different in there, everything was different in there. You could hear yourself breath.
He saw me staring at him. I was bewildered. This was the time of transition when somehow everything that was shattered had to be pieced back together. I could not understand how that was going to happen. It is as if a china cup breaks and you have all these pieces in front of you – how are you going to get them all together. Of course you can’t.
I do not know what I was thinking. I was just waiting. Waiting for someone to tell me what was going to happen next. Waiting for someone to tell me what I should do. I did not want the craziness to begin again. I wanted my father to love my mother again – even if it was pretense.
I do not like being in the room with him. I do not like being by the bed. I do not like seeing him like this – breathing hard and shaking. He is coming down. It makes me sick.
I walk towards him. He pulls me close or reaches out to me. I am not sure. I just want him to tell me that he loves my mother and will not leave her. I want him to tell me the fighting is over.
I am standing between his legs. His arms are around me. He is telling me that he loves my mother very much. He is telling me that the fighting is over and that my mother is a good woman. His face has a lot of pain on it. He is very sorry. My mind is relieved that he is saying these things even if they might not be true. Most of me believes him. I am grateful he is saying this.
As he speaks I feel very self conscious being near him. I do not want to touch him. I do not like the way it feels. I am very aware of my body from the waist up. I hold my body in a very contained way, close to itself. I know exactly where I end and he begins. My body is very sensitive. I can feel my clothes laying on my skin. I feel the center of my chest caving in and pulling the top of my arms inward and down. I am very aware of the outside of my body and the inside. My stomach muscles are pulled tight and inside my stomach feels empty. My eyes feel like they are crying but I am not sure if they are. I am exhausted. I don’t think there is anything left for me. When he touches my face or hair it hurts. I hate being near him. I don’t want to be near him. I want to leave him. I want quiet. I want silence.
I wanted to feel him holding me. I wanted to lay my head on his shoulder and feel him holding me. I liked feeling his arms around me – he was warm and I liked the texture and smell of his shirts. I liked feeling safe, feeling that he was strong and that nothing bad could happen to me as long as I was with him. I wanted that feeling back. I guess I still want it back.