Isaac the Element | Teen Ink

Isaac the Element

September 26, 2015

Isaac the Element
“It’s a stranger’s house! Why didn’t you tell me?!”
The response was muffled; Isaac couldn’t hear what his mother was saying. The walls were thin, but he was grateful they were thick enough to drown the sound out, or at least, most of it.
It was weird; he knew his father’s voice wasn’t that loud. His father would always sound like he was trying to keep his cool, but Isaac would only think about that afterwards. At the moment, his father’s voice was loud and overpowering. However, he only ever managed to make two things shake: himself and his son.
His mother was always calm when his father would start screaming. She would never let anyone get away with seeing her with anything but her usual normal, impassive stare.
They were total opposites. His father was a burning flame of rage and fury, and his mother was nothing but a cube of ice: cold, almost invisible- and if the fire was too hot- useless. The person who said “opposites attract,” obviously didn’t know what they were talking about.
Isaac was shaking to his very core. He felt like he was about to explode, but he didn’t know if what was building up inside him was burning hot lava or eternal winter. If he were to suddenly burst, what would come out? He mused on the fact that it might be his heart, since it felt like it was about to rip out of his chest. He figured that even if it would, he deserved it. He should have told his father he was staying over at his friend’s house. Isaac rolled over on his side, his back facing the wall. Maybe if he turned away from the noise it wouldn’t be as loud.
He sighed, it didn’t help at all. He thought that they wouldn’t be arguing if he had just waited for his father, but how could he have asked him for permission? His father worked most of the day, he only came late at night- that is, if he even decided to come at all. Even if he had asked his father, by the time he would have convinced him, it would have been too late to go.
Maybe his mother should have said no. He shook his head at the thought. His mother said yes to everything, almost like she wasn’t even listening, like she didn’t even care.
Would he be like that? Which one? Would he be fire or ice? Maybe he was both, but what was both? Since fire melted ice, he figured he was water. What could water do, though? Why did he have to be water in the first place? He didn’t want to be water, it made no sense, just like arguing in front of your terrified child, it made no sense.
He didn’t want to be water, or ice, or fire, or any of the other elements for that matter. He didn’t want to be his father, and he didn’t want to be his mom. He wanted to be Isaac, their son. And who knew? Maybe Isaac would become his own element someday. 


The author's comments:

Isaac the Element was a story I wrote to express my empathy to children whose parents argue and fight. 


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