Momma’s got her tears on tonight.
Daddy did something real bad, and Momma just found out. And she’s got her tears on tonight.
I know ’cause I’ve cracked the door open after hearing all the shouting. Momma had sent us off to bed real quick tonight; no kisses or bedtime stories. She said that was something real important she got to do. Her hands were too tight on my shoulders – her nails digging into my skin.
There was something wrong.
(I didn’t know back then, of course, that from then on, something would always be wrong.
Someone should’ve told me.
Because I would’ve run under the covers that very first night.)
Things were quiet for awhile. Then it wasn’t very quiet anymore.
Just after 12am.
I know it was 12am because the hands of the clock were together at the top and their pointing on 1-2, and ‘am’ because in school they tell us time always restarts itself when it’s all black. It sure was black outside.
The noise was low at first.
Almost like whispers really, except it can’t be whispers because then I wouldn’t be able to hear them, so more like normal voices talking. It only sounds like whispers because the door’s still shut.
Then the voices got louder; two voices. Momma’s mostly.
“What’d you…money? Your kids…in school…money!” Her voice goes from loud to soft and loud to soft as if she knew I was still awake. But the volume keeps on getting higher and higher like the dial on the radio spinning up and up and their shouting.
I’ve cracked the door open.
It’s just Momma shouting. And her face is red and her arms are flailing and she’s trying to hit Daddy, but he’s just sitting there, cold as a rock; unmoving and unresponsive.
“What did you do?! What’d you do to all our money?! WHAT DID YOU DO SAM, WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!” She’s got her hands in fists, trying to fight out an answer, trying to pound through his shell.
But my father’s nothing.
He was as good as the sofa; dead and emotionless.
My Momma’s tears run freely, falling, like the world was ending – like things were going to be downhill from then on.
“SAM!” Her voice is strangled, her vocal chords ripping to pieces, “SAM!” She’s pounding and pounding and pounding.
“SAM. WHAT. DID. YOU. DO?!?!” The words broke into sobs; uncontrollable sobs that brings her to her knees, like she’s given up.
I’ve never seen my Momma so helpless before.
She’s just laying there; broken, beaten, burnt down.
Her body’s trembling; a single sob sending one wave that shudders shudders shudders till it dies off – like the ocean.
The ocean that crashes into the rock, takes a little bit of it with her, draws back, then does the same thing again. They hurt each other. The ocean takes pieces of the rock away. The rock takes the beatings of the ocean.
My mother is the ocean.
My father is the rock.
They hurt each other.
I go back inside. I pull a piece of tissue from the box. I bring it to my mother. She says “thank you” and “Go back to sleep.”
I slip into bed. I try to close my eyes.
I didn’t know it yet, but I lost both my parents that night.