What Do You Want for Dinner?

July 26, 2011
By maggumsx SILVER, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
maggumsx SILVER, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
6 articles 0 photos 1 comment

"Why can't you accept that I've moved on?" my mother hurled the words at Daddy.
"Why? Well, why should I accept that? Whatever happened to "for better or worse" or 'until death do us part'?" choked out Daddy.
"That was twenty years ago! I've changed, you've changed. We're not in high school anymore you dumba**!"
"Who said that love and fidelity were only for teenagers? They're the ones who probably know the least about it!"
I shut the door, burrow under the covers and turn my iPod on full blast. This conversation rears it's ugly head every other week. I hate listening to it. I hate my parents for having these troubles. They're adults! Who am I supposed to learn from if their lives hold so much disaster? I hate myself for thinking these selfish thoughts. But if only if I needn't to hear it! Would it be better to be ignorant and naive? To be like little Davy? But even he knows something's going on. He wails in his crib, agitated and scared. Light footsteps tap up the stairs, followed by a heavier, slower set.
I push pause on my treasured rectangle of glossy black, the solace and sanctuary I find from the storm. I poked my head out from under the covers and grab a book to pretend to read. The thunder has ceased, the lightning stopped.
Daddy peers in with an almost apologetic expression. I must appear nonplussed and totally unaware of the battle that had been raging mere moments ago.
"So, what do you want for dinner, Porcupine?" Porcupine was his pet name for me, not what we usually have for dinner. They always act like they still love each other. They had discussed it in the downstairs bathroom and decided it would be best for Davy and me to have so-called normal parents in a normal household. After each shouting match, they'll check in on us to make sure we didn't hear anything; Mom would have wiped the rivers from her reddish eyes and blown her pink nose, and Daddy would have splashed icy water on his face. But, I can always spot a few tears clinging to her chin, and his collar would always be a little damp. They think I'm so unobservant. It's so obvious what's happening. But I play along, I'll be the normal sister with the normal parents in a normal household. It's all an act for Davy. A worthless, dishonest act. Not to mention a poorly executed one. Parents should not lie to their kids this way; we're brighter than you think. We can tell when something's going wayward. I really hate how they underestimate me, or maybe they simply overestimate the walls, expected to protect our delicate ears from the truth.
But tonight, I was going to drop the mask. It's been like this for almost a year. I don't think I can stand much more of this without going completely mad. I can't look at my dear mother, nor my dear father without despising them for their problems that they don't want to solve. It keeps on coming to that same argument. Over and over and over. The same hurdle trips them every time. If not over it, try under, to the left, to the right, have someone lift you over it, rent a hot air balloon, however you want.
How should I say this? They're not bad people, they're just not perfect. Daddy with his open, honest face and shimmery brown eyes. Mom with her sharp nose, shapely eyebrows, and dimples. I love them, I really do. But I hate the way they treat me and each other. Poor Davy! He'll never know how it was when they were mad for each other, when they called each other at work, just 'cuz. How could something so golden and beautiful meet such an ugly end?
I still don't know what to say. I want to tell them that I know. I need for them to understand each other, but I can't upset the delicate balance of a normal household. If they divorce, that's not normal. If they meet other people, that's not normal either. If they spend the rest of their lives with the person they can't stand, that may be normal, but it's just plain sad.
What should I do? What can I do? I can solve my parents' problems. Maybe. But then Davy would miss out. And what if I fail? If they split, it'll be my fault, and we may not be any happier than we are now. I can keep my silence, and suffer for it. Davy would never know the difference. Who am I kidding? Davy will be able to tell. How would he feel if he were to find out that his family had only pretended to like one another?
"You okay Porcupine?" A concerned gaze searched my face. It was time. The moment of truth.
"I would like... uh" I falter, spit it out already!
"For once, I want you two to jus-" A cloud of suspicion darkens Daddy's brow,
"-that is, mac'n'cheese would be good?"

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