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The View From The Top Of The Stairs

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I could hear them yelling at each other, fighting, over something so insignificant I can't even remember it. I didn't understand why they were attacking each other with words I couldn't comprehend at such a young age.

I was sitting at the top of the stairs of our house with my dog Max with me for comfort. Tears were running down my cheeks, still chubby from my baby fat. We'd had Max since he was a puppy and he was never properly trained, seeing as my mom spent all her time with me and my dad spent all his time at work. Because of this lack of training, Max was bad. And this particular day was not the best for Max to do what he did: he chewed something of my dad's. My dad came home to find something of his on the floor. Something inside him snapped.

My dad grabbed Max by the throat and kicking and screaming, threw him out of the kitchen. He chased him down the hall, only to look up and see his 3-year-old daughter's fragile face staring down at him. I didn't understand what Max had done to receive such a brutal punishment. Tears streamed down my face as Max ran up the stairs to me. My dad screamed at me not to touch Max because he was in trouble. And with that, my dad turned around and stormed back to the kitchen.

I sat down on the stairs and held on tight to Max's collar. My mom, hearing the commotion, came into the house and wanted to know what was wrong. My dad's rage didn't stop there; he turned on my mom, looking for someone he could take out his anger on.

The fight went on for what seemed like hours, but probably only lasted 15 minutes. I sat at the top of the stairs with Max and cried, listening as my parents, our family, my life, fell apart. I was young and my family was all I knew, all I had been taught, and I hadn't been taught about this. I didn't understand how someone who was supposed to love me could get that angry, could hurt me or my mom. I clung to Max with my little fingers, hoping he would make everything better for me. But he couldn't.

I crept down the stairs, thinking it was over. I stuck my head over the railing to see my dad pick up one of the stools and throw it into the wall. Not against, but into. It went through drywall and crashed to the floor.

Even then they didn't realize that I'd been watching, listening and observing. In that moment, I witnessed the final fight, the end of a marriage and the crumbling of a family.

That night, my dad left. I'm not sure where he went; but all I know, he didn't stay at home.

I wish I could remember more about what happened after that, but my young mind was filled with other things, like playing Barbies and my first sleepover away from home. I had been oblivious to the fight and destruction that was going on around me in my own house, until I was thrown into the middle of it, alone and scared, clinging to my dog for comfort. The view from the top of the stairs is dark and scary. It's a place I never want to go back to.





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