Jack was the sweetest baby I have ever met. His strawberry blonde hair would shine under the ceiling light as he crawled around on the rough carpet. Snuggling with him at night was even better. With his tiny, sticky hands grasping my pointer finger.
Mom was maybe 39 when she had him. I was seven at the time, so that’s all I really remember about my brother at that age Now he is seven. Going to school everyday, like me. Sometimes I wonder what he is going to turn out like. He doesn’t even remember the night that i remember.
Our parents have always smoked. Nicotine was their third child. I would see commercials on the TV about smokers who end up with tubes in their throat because they can’t breath on their own. I would scream to my parents to stop, but they still smoke to this day. But, my dad had a problem my mom didn't. He drank. Drinking while feeding Jack, drinking all the time. He was unemployed, so he had more time to drink and smoke. One, vivid memory comes to mind when I see him grabbing a beer.
One day, he drank too much. Over his limit, crossed the line. No idea how much he drank, but he was drunk. Drunk and mad. Angry even. He was terribly angry that day. At my mom. We don’t know why he was angry at her, His brain, lit like a wildfire, looking to destroy.
Fast forward to 12 p.m., when it happened. The dark night sky towered over our house. Sleeping with Jack in bed, knowing my mother wasn't there, even with my eyes closed. The creek of the floor boards signaled she was going down stairs. It was grimly quiet. Not even a cricket would be heard this night.
I assume I woke up from the noise of talking or yelling. I arose from the sheers, looking at my brother, sleeping soundly. I slowly moved my legs out from under the sheets out onto the carpet. The bedroom door was wide open. I could hear arguing back and forth between my parents. I didn’t understand at the time. I was only seven. Why are they fighting? When are the going to stop? Suddenly, through the yelling I heard breaking glass and now screaming. I was sitting right in front of the stairs, trying to understand, but once I heard the screaming, fear towered over me. My stomach was about to fall out of my chest. Shaking came over my body. The numbness in my fingers, the ringing in my ears. It wouldn't stop.
I ran back into the bed and closed the door. Putting a pillow over my head, trying to block out the noise. Jack was sound asleep, which I wish he wasn't. I wish he would wake up and scream and cry, so they would stop. The terror would be over.