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Do things really need to begin in order to end? It’s one of the oldest philosophical questions in the book, yet I never knew what it was asking. Not until my parents got divorced that is.
It was a bitter night in November warm enough to wear short sleeve shirts but cold enough that it will leave a sting on your arms.
I was more confused than angry. I knew things hadn’t been spectacular in the past couple months, but I never thought it would result in divorce.
Earlier that night we had our first "family meeting" in a year. I knew nothing good could come out of this and at that point in my life I could only think of 2 bad things: something happened to my great grandma, Super-nanny, or my parents were getting divorced. I knew in my gut it was the latter yet I asked anyway. "Just tell me now, is anything wrong with Super Nanny?"
“No honey she's fine" my mother started. I was relieved but only for a second. This confirmed what I already knew; my parents were getting divorced.
At that moment I broke down and cried. No one had said anything yet but I just wept. I wasn't sure why I was crying, I knew the next words were inevitable yet I was racking my brain for a way to prevent the words from spilling out of my parents mouth. I could do the usual and crack a joke but I didn't think a joke was appropriate at this time. Before I could do anything my father said it.
”As you guys know your mother and I haven't been getting along lately. We have decided to get a divorce. I just want you to know this doesn't change the amount I love you. You will always be the most important people to me."
The tears returned; I couldn't get rid of them.
“So you are getting a divorce?" I asked.
"Yes honey, we are," my mother answered.
At this point my little brother who had remained quiet throughout the discussion piped up and asked "what does this mean?"
“Well honey from now on mommy and daddy aren’t going to be living together." This wasn't new to us because my mom and dad hadn’t brushed shoulders in the past year. They had been living in separate rooms and purposely timed it so they weren't home together at the same times.
"Is that it?" he asked.
“Well not exactly, you won't be with us every day either. On Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays you will be with me and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays you will be with Dad." My mom replied.
My dad continued, "You guys are team and we would never split you up." As soon as those words came out of his mouth I thought of never seeing my brother except for passing him in the hallways at school. It was a scary thought. At that moment I felt overwhelming love and thanks for my brother. Although he is a pain most of the time, he is all I have. I don't know what I would do if I had to go through this alone. As my dad continued talking he started to choke up. I had never seen my dad cry before; it was a scary thing. I needed an anchor in this mess yet the person who I thought would be the anchor is crying.
My dad and I had been very distant this past year and with him crying I felt like he understood how we felt on this matter. It wasn't just hard on us, it was hard on him. With my dad crying I felt more connected to him than ever before.
I was still depressed that everything was happening. I knew the conversation was over yet I needed to find someone to talk to. I called my aunt and begged her to take us somewhere. Five minutes later her fire red Nissan Rogue was pulling into our driveway. Her headlights were like a lighthouse light in a storm, calling us to serenity and safety. Starbuck's was just up the street so off we went.
As I fell into the comfortable yellow and green plush chairs, I took a sigh of relief. I was with people, it didn't matter that I didn't know them, they were people. When I’m sad all I want is to be around people so that I can people watch. The best thing about people watching is that you can make their lives as perfect as you want or a living hell. Everyone is talking but its just white noise. The words are spilling out of my aunt's mouth but I can't hear them, I can't he's anything. "Why does all this stuff happen to me?"
I think. My face is crusted over with tears and I feel disgusting.
"Katie!" my aunts shouts, "what is that you are scared of?"
"I'm scared of the unknown. I don't know how I'm going to be able to take care of myself. I don't know how I'm going to be able to live in 2 houses and keep track of all my stuff. I don't know how I'm going to be able to make sure Aidan is ok. How am I, a 9 year old, going to be able to take care of a 5 year old? I just don't know."
"In time everything will come out. Although it doesn't seem like it right now you will come out of this stronger. You a wonderful little girl will have the brilliance of a young woman after this unfortunate event," my aunt encouraged me.
I honestly didn't believe her, how could anything that as far as I could see was ruining my life going to make me stronger?
As the end of the night approached I was relieved. All I wanted to do was go to sleep and escape from this nightmare. I felt like today was the end of a family that never was but never needed to be, no matter what we were a family in our own sense of the word.
As the clock turns 4:30 on Sunday afternoon my dad's navy blue car pulls into my mom's driveway. It's not weird anymore switching between houses. As we arrive football is on the television. Giants v. Cowboys. It’s the same thing that would be happening if my parents weren't divorced. I honestly don't remember my parents ever living together. Although there are definitely times when it would be easier if I had one house or if all my stuff was in one place, I know it would be a lot worse if my parents were under the same roof. My aunt was correct, I am a lot stronger than most people my age I just don't realize it. I'm so much more independent because in a way I was forced to. I can't always depend on my parents being able to pick up the slack because I can't always depend on my parents being there. I know this event has changed me but I choose to believe it had changed me for the better.