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The Morning After

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Daddy likes to rummage through drawers and clomp around the house with his shoes on when he’s mad- which isn’t very often- or he’ll stay in his room all night only leaving to compose a plate of leftovers from the fridge. That plague normally extends to my mom first. Her favorite phrase when dad is angry is “I can’t do anything right”. I always tell her she did nothing wrong but she storms off anyway to slam the dryer door, smash rhythmically at her weighted keys, or fix a cold supper with pursed lips. Sometimes I tell her she should talk to dad about whatever it is making him mad, but that’s only when I think she can handle it, normally when dad is mad mom ignores him and he her. They may not be mad at each other but they certainly looks that way to my younger sister. She, like my mother, can’t help but wonder if this is all her fault or if Daddy is mad at her. I always try to explain that this isn’t dad’s fault, that it’s that war’s fault, and that mom and dad really do love each other, but there’s only so much you can tell a thirteen year old that actually sinks in. My older sister tries to fix things, as if I love you’s and what’s wrongs’ could ease my dad’s worries or stress, but that’s only when she’s not the cause of his anxiety. When it’s her fault she’ll leave the house with a slam of the door or clamp herself up in her room to play her music too loud saying that she’s studying. That’s always when I smell the heavy stench of her favorite herb seeping across the hall to my room. We ignore each other; what we do behind our closed doors; petting our guns, scribing in journals, or sucking on a steaming roll of paper; what we think in our heads; it’s my fault, mom and dad hate each other, or how can I fix things. After a while of sitting in this dense air that saps words, my mom and I begin to share cooed I love yous amidst our suddenly busy agenda- they’re post-its on our mirror. I think our family motto, if we had one, would be Time heals all Wounds, after a night of ignoring each other and side stepping bombs in the hallway, the morning after is always filled with coffee and oatmeal, Just like the day before.





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