My bedroom was at the end of the hallway
on the second floor of our house.
Right above the living room and Mom and Dad’s bedroom suite.
I heard fights my siblings didn’t,
or at least didn’t tell me.
A hard thing to bring to a game of H-O-R-S-E.
I can’t even recall if Mia and I were still sharing a room
because on the nights there were fights
I never felt more alone.
Sinking through the blackness of my bedroom.
Drowning in the anger and the screaming and the violence.
And my pillow.
Desperate for it to stop.
Or for me to find the courage to make it stop.
By making him stop.
By grabbing the nearest item that would help.
How many nights did I picture the canes in the stand in the front entry
just down the curving staircase and through the door next to theirs?
More than once was more than enough.
But I never found the courage.
Just anger and confliction,
and early recognition of a marriage under siege.
Making monsters from the madness.
And words into weapons.
And me into a quivering mess under my blankets in the dark of my room.
Praying for it to stop.
Or me to sleep.