A president’s funeral on the small TV in the middle of the bedroom, a bedroom that doesn’t even belong to him. It’s temporary shelter against the increasingly violent war of words outside the closed door, in the living room, a boiling mix of resentment, repressed rage, and anger about moving to where one of them did not want to move.
On the TV, the funeral procession is on a highway to the presidential library that talking heads on the news channels have spoken about for days, analyzing every detail of the somber occasion to come. Meanwhile, the war gets hotter, and while the bathroom fails to completely block out the noise, the shouting, there is at least a toilet for retching and for emptying out an upset stomach that has pulled the intestines in for an unwanted dance.
Son of a bitch. Bastard. You knew I didn’t want to move here. All repeated over and over, as if there’s supposed to be catharsis that’ll finally lend closure to this battle that has actually been going on for well over two decades, but the one who shouts those words doesn’t realize for the moment that after those words lash out, potency lost long ago, the place, the moment, will remain the same.
A loud smack on a counter, a reminder that they’re in the kitchen, standing next to the island whose drawers face the sink and next to the sink are more drawers and the stove and the oven and…silverware. Knives among that silverware.
He never considered that before and is surprised it hasn’t happened already, a heated moment exploding like gasoline doused on it. But it’s possible now. Something more to worry about.
The loud clatter of the silverware drawer being yanked open. The fight is heard clear enough through the door, but the noise of the drawer is a surprise, and inevitable, and frightening as life flashes before his eyes, but not of his life. A quick review of all the fights that have come before, all witnessed since a very early age. It’s embedded. It shouldn’t be, but it can’t be helped. It will always be there. And with the review complete in 20 seconds, what will happen next? Who will have to be called? The worst thing is his sister at the movies with a friend, free from the climax of all these awful years. Free for a little while longer, then locked into it alongside him. Another shout of hate, of anger, of regret, of years of life wasted, and then a sickening red thud.
Oh god, the silence.
Life begins again, and will never be the same.
He opens the door and steps into a future that is no longer his own. It is dictated by that act. The individual is gone, but before looking at that which has destroyed the one structure he always knew, shoddy as it had been, there is slight comfort in the thought that maybe, just maybe, a piece of self will rise from this and be formed into something new, something good. For survival.
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