Screaming silence, silent sayings, nothing left to say pent-up in their eyes my parents stand in the foyer of the house. Our table is set for dinner, pots bubbling on the stove, smells of tomato and meat frying lingers in the air and my mouth waters as my eyes fill with tears. I am just hungry for dinner and a meal eaten together even if it’s in murderous quiet. The rain outside starts slowly but then coming up quickly it starts to pound on the roof and the windows exacerbating our isolation. Sitting on the stairs watching them look at each other they are so absorbed in this moment they ignore me completely and my father doesn’t let go of his bag packed to leave everything except some underwear and his high school year book behind. He is crazy. He has always been crazy. Sometimes its fun his crazy but usually when I am having fun my mother is scared to death. This isn’t what she bargained for or was raised to do or thought she would be become because the stupid choices we make as teenagers if we hold on to them they follow us forever. Attached to our hems, holding our hands, standing in the shower, waiting in line at the grocery store and laying in bed next to us. As her mistake I have taken some comfort in that because she has made her self obligated and that feels like love. My fathers crazy feels like love for a minute but then its gone. My mother’s obligation is permanent.
So, I watch them stare at each other both forgetting I am right beside them.
“You should come sit down for dinner. I made dinner. ” She says to him with nothing in her voice. Nothing left but pasta and sauce and the perfunctory plan of eating a meal. He just keeps staring at her never looking at me because he is gone.
He opens the door as she walks into the kitchen sitting down at the table and the rain comes in through the front door and the wind blows it onto my face. I look behind me into the kitchen and see her sitting at the table with her hand on a glass of water immobile, waiting.
He doesn’t wait and walks out to his car, the black fast one that doesn’t have seatbelts but neither of them care if I tumble around when they crash. The car door slams and the rain continues to pound the porch, water rushes into the gutters and down the sidewalk into the driveway. His car starts and she runs out into the rain to the chain link fence that defines the perimeter of our house puts her hand on the gate as lightning and thunder-clap together and she jumps like she was electrified and my dad backs out of the driveway and goes.
My mom runs back into the house breathing hard like she ran a marathon and stops short in front of me, strips off all her clothes but her bra and underwear, “Come to dinner. It’s time to eat. Go sit at the table. “she says with a whisper and crazy eyes.
“Stand up, come on. ” I stand up and follow her into the kitchen. I sit down as she busied her self at the stove. She walks over to my dad’s plate, walks to the back door, opens it and flings the plate into the yard and it shatters against the shed scaring the dog half to death who is sleeping under the porch to get out of the weather.
She sits down and puts cheese on her pasta and hands the bowl to me and she starts to eat, dripping water from her hair all over the table, make up on her face almost washed away. She finishes her plate of food as I watch her and when done she stands up and tells me to wash the dishes.
I sit there and think maybe he will go to Florida where his “people” are from. Maybe my father will move to Florida if he doesn’t die without a seatbelt. They teach you about that in school.