Let It Stop

When hoping was for those who don't act. A story about the pains of a crumbling family.


1. Hopeless Hope

Shouting. Shouting drowned the house. I clutched my ears in desperation, in fear. The constant bickering between my parents was unbearable. I hated it. As a child, I thought I was to blame for their constant irritation. I blamed myself every day. When my father had to sleep at a hotel, I would sleep outside till my mother dragged me in. When I saw the bruises on my mother's arms, I had given myself the same treatment. It all led up to when the thread snapped. I heard the word "divorce" in one of their arguments. It was such a foreign word in the vocabulary of a seven year old. But even I could understand the darkness shadowing behind it. Under the drape of the moonlight, I heard a crash. Harsh, ruff footsteps marched up the wooden staircase. "I cannot take this anymore!" my dad yelled in frustration. My bedroom door opened with a slam. If I could, I could have seen the anger and hatred emanating out of my father. I was scared. I was scared he would strike me, and I knew he would in this state. He saw the frightened expression on my face. The father I once knew broke down into tears. I had no idea of what to do. I sat there with my knees up, watching my grown father cry on the floor. This is what happens at the age of seven.

Years have passed and I had learned the hard truth. I had learned the truth that life had given me at a young age. I realized life wasn't black and white. Life has different hues mixed in with each other. Some blended well to make gorgeous scenery. Other times, they would mix to make an unpleasant product. From this logic, I knew that people who had once loved each other could be mortal enemies. My parents aren't divorced yet. I had hoped that it was because they still loved each other. I had hoped that something soft and loving was still between them. Alas, my dreams didn't come true. It was just money. Was that the cause of this rift or was it still me? Friends have told me countless times it was not my fault. They just repeated it over and over again that it was never my fault. "Then whose fault was it?!" I would mentally say. Words from friends would not help me. I need words straight from the source. I want them to tell me it wasn't my fault. I want them to say "We love you darling. We're just going through a rough patch, that's all." I've been waiting for six years. Those words never came.

During breakfast, no one ever made eye contact. Even though I kept my head low at the table, the cold stares my parents gave each other made me lose my appetite. Lunch isn't as bad. At school, friends just end up consoling me about my problems. I knew some of them would talk behind my back and dub me the "Drama Queen." "She's just trying to get attention!" is another thing I would hear once in a while. I was sick of it. As a result, I put on a happy face to show them I didn't need their pity. I didn't want to be that person with the troubled parents. I had fooled most of them, but when I was all alone, I let it all out to myself. But I was so very good at faking a happy manner, I almost believed it myself. Almost. Dinner was the worst. Sometimes, my dad would complain that the chicken was cold. Other times, my mother would complain as to why the trash wasn't taken out. But all that time, I kept quiet and unseen. I was someone invisibly even to their own parents. Sometimes I think they forgot about me. When dishes went flying from a fight, I would quietly take my own dishes to the sink and go upstairs like a ghost. They were spiting each other. I've grown up. I won't wonder why they're fighting or why they don't share beds anymore. The love between them was gone forever. Now, I only wondered if their love for me was as brittle as theirs.

On a cool summer night, I slept on the roof. I haven't done it before, but I always read about it in books and saw it in movies. The air was crisp, and the stars were bright. I actually found the one place I could feel safe and sound. I didn't need to hear the quarreling of my parents. I didn't even need to put up a facade to fool friends. Soon, I eventually found myself drifting away to a land cleared of worries. But no. The serenity was broken. I looked down the house to see my mother leaving. Her suitcases were packed, and I could see a taxi just around the corner. My dad was standing some distance away watching her. Now I was back to hoping. I hoped that my dad would run out and beg her to come back. I hoped that he would yell at the top of his lungs he was sorry and wanted to make amends, but I now knew that hoping was for those who didn't act. I tumbled down the roof. I heard a crack and then a scream. Everything was getting blurred. Slow-motion was initiated as my mother and father ran towards me. "Heh, I guess that's my answer." I had a slight smile on my face as the world faded into a dreamless sleep.

I woke up to bright lights in a hospital. I tried lifting my head to observe my surroundings a bit more. I was greeted by an agonizing pain. I gave up instantly. Eventually, I slightly turned my head to the right. My mother was sleeping soundly on a chair close to me. I single tear of joy slipped out. I tried turning my head to the left to see if my father was in the same position. I guess this is what I could call "hope." I mentally laughed at the fact I was still hoping. My hope was crushed again. The only presence to my left was a ticking clock. The air I breathed started to become toxic. It left a bitter taste in my mouth. Tears fell out of my eyes but this time not of joy but out of frustration, anger, and sorrow. I've felt this so many times in my life, but I had kept it bottled in. At times I should have cried, I denied the natural ability. "Why didn't he stay?! Is this my fault?!" was all I thought while clenching my fists until they turned a sickly white. I breathed short heavy breaths. The doctors and nurses rushed in. I tried my best to fight back. I wanted to be alone. They put a mask over me, and I started to calm down. But they should know that that wasn't me who was slowly drifting into a forced sleep. The me inside was still full of sorrowful life. I was mentally kicking over chairs and tables, wanting to be alone. I just wanted to be alone.

After some time, I was discharged from the hospital. I came home to an alien place. Home just wasn't home anymore. My mom said she was ecstatic to have me back. Her cheerfulness was overbearing, but accepted. She didn't question me about why I rolled off the roof that night. The memory may be completely absent from her mind, but I remembered everything too clearly. The crunching sound replayed in my head. The frightened expressions on both my parents faces. But what had haunted me the most was me. I had smiled at that moment because I thought they both loved me. I thought that my mother and father would be beside me every step of the way. Later, my mother left to make dinner. I had excused myself to go to the bathroom. The mirror stood in front of me. The person I once knew wasn't here. I touch my face. It was still the same, ignoring the cuts and bruises. My hair was soft, but I couldn't call it my own. I wanted to punch the mirror. I wanted to shatter it into a million pieces like in the movies, but I was better than that. Movies are movies but this is life. I wasn't going to turn into a depressed monster. I wasn't going to shun my friends and family when they try to help me. I wasn't going to be a statistic to the world. I was just going to make it impossible for them to find a problem in me. Soon after, I had practiced speaking merrily. I put on a smile and calmly walked out the door. I heard my mother downstairs asking me to come down for dinner. I decided that I wouldn't hope anymore. I would do everything I could to make this pathetic life better.

Dinner was better now. We talked and mingled like a real family. We weren't a family though. I had half a parent now. My mother said she would do the dishes and I could go upstairs to rest. I snuggled up in my bed and stared at the ceiling. For the rest of the night, I silently sobbed till daybreak. If only I remembered how to do that as well.

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