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I Have Adopted a Meticulous Routine...
I have adopted a meticulous routine for when I return home from school. I creep through the front door, shutting it behind me slowly and softly, 14 tiptoes to the stairs then I crawl up on my knees—the lower center of gravity prevents any loud tripping—and lock myself in my room before my ears get inundated with angry retorts and dismayed sighs.
I have hid like this for the past three months, not once looking my mother or father in the eye, successfully avoiding the bleary haze of my brother’s rants, withdrawing my shoulder from my sister’s cries, and claiming indifference to the riots that occur in my kitchen every day, every hour, dependable like the news.
All I want is some peace really, some true quiet, the type that rings in your ears as you shake your head wondering where all the noise went. Instead the phone is constantly ringing, the voices are constantly shouting, and the tears are constantly falling, coursing down the ravines of premature wrinkles.
Granted I’m a little resentful, but I push that to the deep recesses of my mind, it’s an emotion I can’t have emotions I can’t show that I care it will only make it too real. The problem with my family is they allow these emotions, they allow the outburst the fury and when people try to escape it they see that as a plea for help.
My brother’s done it again, gotten drunk out of his mind and tripping over his feet, past the euphoria and hurdling towards the rage. He’s back home and he’s slurring his words and he’s reeking of it and I see him. I run back into my refuge, I run back into the comfort of apathy and I shiver and I hiccup but I refuse to cry. He comes into my room, knocking forcefully, screaming my name, and I cover my ears and close my eyes.
If I close my eyes it will go away, I can get away.
I’m running now, through the adjacent door to my bathroom, locking myself in, lying in the bathtub. I pinch myself, wake up, wake up, but I’m awake and I’m scared and I don’t like seeing him like this. I’ll admit it I love him, I love them all, and I hate what is going on. Everyday Mom morphs from benevolent to tyrannical, stomping on all serenity when she sees my brother’s bloodshot eyes. James laughs in her face, spits on her soul when all she wants is him to be alright. And then Dad, back bent from working all day, has to step in and break them apart and soon his voice rises and he gets angry. Arielle runs over, looks at all the pointing fingers and begins to cry. And me, well I hide away, hugging myself and plugging my ears with music.
He keeps banging on the door, incessant, incorrigible, and I can’t ignore it anymore. I stand up, open the door, and now I’m yelling, I’m hitting him.
“Stop it! Just stop it, James! I can’t do this anymore! You have to stop!”
And his face isn’t as red, his mouth isn’t as twisted, and he looks at me and then walks slowly away, his eyes begging me to understand, to forgive him, and I say no.