All of them sat quietly in one room, door shut, hoping to drown out the voices from the other room. Father was angry once again and Mother wasn’t tolerating anything he said, because she too, was frustrated.
However, as they had come to learn quickly rather early on in life, there was a large difference between Mother’s frustration and Father’s anger. Even his irritation was to be avoided, for tempers flared quick, and rationality usually went out the door, and the consequences were formidable.
Not one child engaged in games, or toys. From the eldest teenager to the youngest pre-teen, all the children held school books in their hands. Father would buy them books, but he hated seeing them read anything other than the set curriculum. In fact, anything Father bought would come accompanied with sneers and taunts afterwards, enough to discourage the children for asking more.
They were used to not asking for things, no matter how badly they needed or desired them.
Want had no business in the house.
Good children didn’t want anything their parents didn’t buy them already.
During times like these, they would make sure they were spending time working on school assignments even if they had none. Yet, more often than not, they would stare at the pages, words blurring in front of their eyes with unshed tears, repeatedly going through the pages although they made no sense. The mind, overwhelmed with fear and despair would go numb, as it processed the argument going on behind the doors.
It was the same routine; every time Father would experience any sort of inconvenience. And yet, their hearts never stopped beating faster and faster, until they almost burst. Each time he would enter their room, insults would flow from his mouth, and land on their hearts like heavy blows dealt to a building by a wrecking ball.
Sometimes, they would wish he rather hit them instead. Immediately, they would take back the thought because every now and then, they would taste the poison of his palm, the force in the back of his hand, the sharp pain emerging from a swift kick to whichever part was closest. Words would remain in memory forever, but bruises were hard to hide from classmates and friends.
A lifetime of fear had caused them to flinch whenever someone came too close. A raised voice lead to speedy acceleration of the heartbeat. Sometimes, they had to raise their own voice to be heard because that was the way they’d been taught but with age, they learned to control it.
As they grew older, they witnessed a peculiar thing; love. Watching a friend’s parents cook together lead to stinging eyes and painfully swallowing a heavy lump, until it became normal. Understanding that not everyone wanted to hurt them took some time, but caught on fast once the realization hit.
Most of the time, as they discovered that people wanted to love them, they would question, doubt themselves and the other person, but with enough love, plenty of time and the emergence of several white hairs, they learned to accept love without fear.
How many of us have had to heal from pain inflicted onto us by the people meant to protect us from the world? Far too many. Just know, that you are not alone and you are worthy of every ounce of love coming your way.