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She was drunk. Not like a few beers kind of drunk. More like full out she’d had so much to drink she was about to burst drunk. I knew she was home and she was p*ssed. I heard the door slam shut on our blue Chrysler minivan as she got out. I was on the phone. All my attention was focused on the noises below me however. I ignored the voice talking on the other line as I heard the front door slam shut. Raised voices began yelling back and forth at each other immediately in the kitchen under the purple rugged floor beneath my feet.
I tried to ignore the screaming and pay more attention to my phone call but that didn’t last long. A few seconds later I heard an aggravated shriek emit from downstairs as the sound of shattering glass echoed throughout the simple country house. I shuttered at the sound and plugged my ears, but I couldn’t block out the thudding of the maple cabinet doors shutting and dishes clattering together as they were put on their shelves with excessive force. Occasionally there was an added crash as one would be carelessly dropped on the floor.
After minutes of listening, everything suddenly became silent. Overly attentive I waited, getting impatient as the absence of all sound drew on. Even the creaking of the old house had now ceased. I lifted myself out of the bowl chair I was previously sitting in and carefully pressed my ear that wasn’t connected to the phone to the floor. I jumped as I heard a bottle break. A second one smashed and my heart skipped a few beats. Quickly I removing my ear from the fibers of the carpet I returned to my chair and resumed my conversation on the phone as heavy footsteps bounded up the stairs. Expecting to be left alone, I was taken off guard when my oak bedroom door flew open and hit the corner of my dresser.
Completely speechless, I watched expressions of anger flood her face as she yelled. The dishes weren’t done when she came home. She works her a** off all day. The least she can expect is that the dishes are done she says.
My sister who’s standing behind her in the doorway bursts into tears as she hears this. I’ve had to listen to people I hate complain all day long and you can’t take ten minutes of it from me she says. The sobbing becomes louder. I try to defend the innocent. We had a lot of homework I said. My sister adds in that dad told us to do our school work first. I watch as her face turns nearly purple with anger and she attempts to pull both of us down our narrow-walled fifteen stairs.
The interrogation begins. Our warm, soft pink living room becomes a courtroom. My father’s face is set in stone. He knows well that no wrong has been done. He is free. We still are left to clean up the mess in the kitchen. The cold linoleum floor is tracked with mud from her shoes. The dirty dishes that were on the marble counter have all been carelessly thrown in the sink and covered with green streaks of dish soap. Near the brown paper bag used as a recycling bag laid the shards of glass from two broken beer bottles. In the garbage is an ornate drinking glass in three pieces.
The mess was just the beginning. Ready to go to bed after cleaning every possible fragment of the kitchen, I slowly climbed up the stairs back to my bedroom. I found the phone lying on the ground where I dropped it. Still on, I picked it up, and turned it off. She bolts in the room. The tiny noise that has come from my action has triggered her last nerve. Ripping the phone from my hand, she shoves me against my indigo colored south wall.
Listen to me she says and I could smell the sour, stale, sickly stench of alcohol on her breath. Everything after that happens in slow motion. I close my eyes and turn my head. I did not want to see what was coming. I feel a stinging on my right cheek first.
Are you even listening to me now? she says.
I squeezed my eyes tighter and felt the stinging increase.
Look at me she says.
I feel the pain all down the entire right side of my face as I fall to the ground. I lay there motionless waiting for the next blow. It doesn’t come. I don’t dare move or open my eyes for fear she’ll be there. I wait for what seemed a lifetime. Her words and curses slur into fading sounds as I feel my head bash against the wall. I slip in and out of consciousness.
As if I was listening to a skipping CD, I hear the heavy footsteps again as she leaves while mumbling what a waste of time I am. She slams my bedroom door behind her. The sweatshirts tumble to the floor and belts clatter as they fall of the rack attached to it. Next her bedroom door creates even more noise. The house is now in silence. We do not speak. We do not move. We barely breathe. Our breaths come out in short, yet heavy rasps of air. We all fear her. She left me on the floor and that’s where I remained for the night. I tried to erase all memories of that night as I lay there, but instead they played through my head repeatedly. Her head was not clear. Her actions were not justified. She was not my mother. She was a monster. She is the thing I fear the most in this world.