I lie still in the darkness, tightly clutching onto the ends of my blanket. Suddenly I notice am soaking in my own sweat as my fingers and lips shake like a leaf. My ears are on alert, I listen intently- same way I wait for the lunch time bell to ring at school- for the bang that will make me sprint, for fight or flight? I do not know.
The noise is too much. As their voices keep rising I cover my ears so tight it hurts, but the hurt cannot be compared with the ache in my heart. A yearning for peace even if for a fraction of a second. Then the ice is broken, her scream pierces into the silence of the otherwise dark peaceful night like a siren and I jump out of my bed.
I hit my small brother’s head as we collide on the corridor. Before I sharply ask him what he is doing up at that hour, he is already at their bedroom door. I run after him, we stand their innocently trying to figure out why she is on the floor bleeding. We also wonder why she cannot stop talking as he raises his hand and his palm lands perfectly across her face. She screams again. He gives us this ice cold look and orders us to go back to bed. My brother pees on himself, my knees turn to jelly. We look at each other, we aim for the door. Out in to the dark we disappear. Did we just leave mum to die?
One by one the neighbors’ lights are switched on. We try to hide only to hear mama Caro ask us what is happening. It has started already, the embarrassment we are now so used to. Before we lie to her, we hear mum scream again. Doors start opening here and there as we see Dad coming towards us. We know what might happen so with our bodies shaken and like cows that have been rained on we head to the house. I look at my little brother. He is so shaken, shocked and wet so I hold him tight hoping that it is enough to reassure him that everything will be fine.
We silently go back to bed like nothing has happened. We hear mum’s sobs. I shut everything out. This is too much for me. As I wonder why she still stays after every beating, sleep overwhelms me but I start thinking about tomorrow. Am now used to keeping to myself in school as my parents have become the story of every class. I miss my friends though.
Souze Van Nam