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“At least I have a damn job!”
Kevin stormed through the kitchen, exhausted after his twelve hour shift.
“What do you think I do all day?” Lori asked.
“I really don’t know, Lori. You say you work all day, but when I came home today my clothes were still on the floor, the dishwasher was full…nothing was done,” Kevin complained.
“You just want me to be a slave in my own house. That’s the way you are, Kevin. That’s the way your family is. You just like to lie on your *** while the women do all the work,” Lori retorted.
“Lie on my ***? Oh, I wish I could! Instead I’m working twelve hours a day to try to put a meal on the table, and I can’t even relax when I get home! I’m stuck with all of your chores!”
Lori glanced over at the kitchen door, where her daughter was clinging to the wall. Her hands were quivering, wincing at the word “divorce” which always seemed to cloud the air. Lori opened her arms to comfort the eight-year-old.
“Go to bed, Paige!”
Kevin’s voice thundered through the kitchen and Paige dashed for her room.
“She hates you,” Lori hissed.
Kevin sighed, leaning against the refrigerator that was most of their meager kitchen. His tired eyes were filled with pain. He didn’t want to say this.
“I know you’re cheating on me, Lori.”
The moon seemed to crash on Lori’s shoulders as Kevin said this. Her teal eyes became lush with tears and her face contorted into a sick grimace.
“You don’t know anything.”
“My mother warned me not to marry you,” Kevin scoffed.
“Your mother’s dead, Kevin. She can’t help you anymore. Maybe if she was still alive she would tell you to go to rehab,” Lori spat in disgust.
Kevin calmly walked out of the kitchen and out to the driveway. Lori sprinted after him. The air was cool and heavy with summer.
“Let me guess…you’re going to buy more beer than you can carry, and then go to work with a hangover tomorrow.”
“Beginner’s luck,” Kevin sneered.
He began to slide into the car as Lori grabbed his arm.
“If you leave, I’m leaving,” Lori seethed, her teal eyes icy with rage.
“Do whatever the hell you want. I bet your boyfriend is waiting for you.”
Fury ripped through Lori’s body as she slipped Kevin’s watch off his wrist. The clock flashed “12:08” as she slammed it to the ground. It shattered in pieces beneath his foot, belonging to his grandfather seventy years ago.
Kevin’s face was eerily calm.
“You’re so beautiful, Lori. I don’t know what went wrong.”
Kevin slammed the car door and began driving into the darkness ahead.
Lori was alone with only midnight to hold onto.
Paige watched Daddy drive away from her bedroom window. An aura of relief spread over her. It wasn’t that she hated Daddy. It was just that when he was around Mom would always become angry. At least she knew now that the yelling would stop….for a while. And Daddy always came back. He was always back by morning. Paige settled back into bed, an odd midnight glow from the window casting over her. She closed her eyes and begged sleep to come. All of a sudden the front door slammed and Paige heard raging footsteps coming up the stairs. Paige rushed out of bed to meet her livid mother at the bedroom door.
“Get up. You’re coming with me.”
Mom grabbed Paige’s arm, but Paige pulled away.
“Where are we going?”
“We’re going to Marc’s house.”
Mom began throwing clothes for Paige in her backpack. Paige squinted with confusion.
“Will we be back tomorrow?”
Mom grabbed Paige’s hands and looked up at her.
“No honey, we won’t be back here for a long time.”
“Is Daddy coming with us?”
“No Paige, he’s not.”
Mom’s shadow was covered by the light from the window.
“I want to stay here.”
Mom exploded with rage.
“After all I have done for you? You’re just some ungrateful brat, Paige! Do you know what I have given up for you? Mommy can’t have any friends or any social life because of you!”
“I’m sorry you don’t have friends,” Paige muttered as guilt swept over her.
Mom began pulling Paige’s arm out of the room, her face was glowing with rage. Paige pulled away, sobbing.
“I don’t want to go!”
Mom gazed at Paige, her eyes begging for her daughter, but her body too exhausted to fight. Paige would never understand.
“Okay,” Mom whispered, and left the room.
Paige heard the front door slam and rushed to the window. Mom began to start the car. Her brilliant eyes were among the stars, except they were filled with tears. She was really leaving.
“Mom, come back! I want to come with you!” Paige screamed from the window.
Mom couldn’t hear as she gazed up at Paige.
Paige pounded the window, hoping Mom would realize she was calling her. Thinking she was waving goodbye, Mom began to wave back, forcing a smile. Paige watched Mom back out of the driveway, waving and smiling. Paige was weeping now.
“Come back! Please! Don’t leave me!”
The car began driving up the street, and started to shrink. Paige strained to watch its path. She imagined it turning around. Soon the car was far away. So far that even the window couldn’t see it.