The wind howled through the window. I huddle my knees waiting for the storm to be over. Normally, it doesn’t bother me, I just slept through it. But tonight, the wind doesn’t just howl, it screams. The rain doesn’t just fall; it is powerful, hard and torrential. My normal teenage bravado has evaporated, whatever. I’ve got to go to my Mum for a cuddle, to hear her soothing words and everything would be fine again. I was about to knock on their door, when I heard them fighting or arguing. I quietly went back to my room.
I wonder what it is this time. Is Dad leaving us again? Will Mum let him go? Are we going to be miserable again? The last time this scene happened, Dad left us in the morning. He hugged us and told us to be good and look after each other. That one day he would come back, he hoped. We cried, we didn’t want him to go. Mum pretended to be busy feeding Baby Ella. She told us to get ready for school, as if nothing happened. That was the most miserable three months in my life.
Jake started bedwetting. Poor him, so frightened to go to his room because the monster was waiting for him under his bed. Baby Ella was teething, so she cried all the time. Mum didn’t know what to do with her. She would take her out in her pram for a long walk. Mum tried her best to make things as normal as possible. She would nag us to do our homework, to tidy our rooms, to tell us off when we’re watching too much telly. But in the evenings, I would hear her sobbing in her room.
And as for me, I seemed to have grown up so fast. I had to look after the little ones and tried to help Mum in her house chores. I played with Jake and read him some bedtime stories before he went to bed. I took Baby Ella for a walk when she started being fussy. But somehow, I couldn’t concentrate on my lessons, both in school and piano. My piano teacher told me that if I couldn’t master that Mozart piece, I wouldn’t be able to be in the concert. I seemed to be on a different planet and I burst out in tears upon any slight provocation.
We were getting used to our routine when Dad returned. We ran toward him, happy to see him again. He gave a football to Jake, a pocketbook to me and a teddy bear to Baby Ella. Mum stopped what she was doing, asked me to look after the little ones and they went to their room. They had a long conversation, complete with shouting and crying and in the end, they hugged and made up. Mum forgave Dad and Dad promised not to leave us again. It was like a happy ending in a story.
Life started to be normal and happy again in our house. Jake stopped bedwetting and joined our local football team. Baby Ella got some of her teeth and crawling everywhere. She was saying ma-ma and da-da and chuckling all the time. And as for me, I started having A’s again and also learning how to play the guitar. I played the Mozart piece in the concert and my family was among the audience. I joined the hip-hop dancing, too. We even planned our holiday this summer – we were going to Disneyland, Paris!
So as the trees creak and moan when their fine limbs are ripped away and the rain lashes outside my window, I huddle for them to stop – both the storm and the fighting or arguing from my parents. I ask for mercy and hope that normality comes back in the morning. I promise to be good all the time, just don’t break our family again.