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1. to free from or deprive of illusion, belief, idealism, etc.; disenchant.
I’m a victim to change. Sixteen years have gone by, rather smoothly in my opinion, and then everything came crashing down.
They started fighting last April. Stupid arguments, like ‘You always forget to pick up the dry cleaning,’ or ‘why am I always the one who makes dinner?’ Kind of ironic, considering that we eat out or order in most days.
Married for eighteen years, most of them good, and then this. Right out of left field: Divorce. I first heard this ugly little word during what was meant to be a private conversation, but in reality it was a brutal shouting match, both of the players determined to deafen the neighborhood or black out trying.
He brought it up first. That word, seemingly so small and innocent. I never thought that two syllables could ruin everything. After they were done, I heard him slam the door on his way out. Probably went to the ‘office’, which was really some hole in the wall bar downtown. She went to her room, softly closed the door, and began to cry. I’ve never realized how paper thin the walls were until they started fighting.
Up until then, I had considered myself lucky to be an only child. I had my own room, all of my needs were met, I was in many ways well off, but never spoiled. Then they started to try and put me against each other. My closet is full of clothing, books, videogames, movies, CDs, all of which were what I called the ‘spoils of war.’ My friends said that I was lucky, but I intended to burn every single item in that closet when I had the chance.
I started walking, telling them I wanted to stay fit and healthy, knowing deep down I just wanted an out. I had to get away, they were driving me crazy. They were going at each other like a bunch of kids on the playground after someone got called a sissy. I’ve heard that deep down, everyone has a little immaturity in them, but this is just ridiculous.
One night the fighting ended. Dinner, Chinese take out of all things, went by smoothly with loads of small talk and no weighted words. I went to my room to study, and I didn’t realize that they were talking until I was halfway through my homework. I listened for a little bit, and heard more than I wanted to. Lawyers, meetings, appointments, but the scariest thing I heard was a question: who will I live with?
I got scared, I’ll admit it. I’d thought that I had dealt with the very possible reality of a separation, but I never took it to details. That’s what they were doing, smoothing out the wrinkles. I didn’t want to be here, couldn’t be here, I had to get out, get away, get gone.
I walked into the dining room, and they both looked up at me, mildly surprised. The look on their faces was the icing on the cake. They looked like two kids who were caught playing doctor under the covers. I wanted to shout, yell, scream into their faces, “Go back to the yelling! Go back to the screaming! At least then nothing was final! This isn’t over! Why are you giving up? Why can’t you just be happy?”
I didn’t though, but today I wish I did. Instead I said I was going for a walk, which I did. I steadily made my way to the ridge that overlooks the city, less than a mile from our house, and sat down. My mind was still racing, but I began to calm down. The view always calmed me.
After an hour, I got up and began the slow journey back. I’d been out longer than usual, and I already knew that I would be barraged with questions that were laced with concern. “Where were you? Do you have any idea what time it is? What were you doing?” Underlying all of these would be a different message, ‘you always get to leave when things get tough, don’t you? Well until now I considered you lucky, but soon I will be able to leave too. And you know what? I don’t think I’ll be coming back.’
I was in view of the house when I hesitated. I didn’t have to go back. I didn’t want to go back. It seemed to me that I had gotten the worst of the deal, everyone’s happy but me. I began to realize that life isn’t fair, even when you’re a teenager, which was pretty depressing.
I did my best to put on an ‘Aw shucks ma it ain’t that late’ smile and push these pressing thoughts to the deepest reaches of my mind. I slowly walked up the drive, and entered the home that was no longer a home, but more of an empty shell. I entered the dead house.