We have these bugs in the midwest called cicadas (maybe some people call them locusts). In the late afternoon/early evening this time of year they start buzzing in the trees. Loudly. It's a noise that gets loud then quiet then loud then quit, kind of like a police siren. I hate this noise. It is something I associate with hot summer nights, the sun going down, and tensions rising.
Growing up, evening was a dangerous time in my house. My dad drank most of the day, and by evening he would usually be really drunk, and my mom would be really mad. Either that, or he would be out with his friends, having been due back hours ago, and my mom would be pacing around the house, getting madder and madder, waiting for him to come home. Either way, a fight was brewing. As a kid, I might not know exactly what the fight was about, but I could feel it coming, like a summer storm.
My parents had horrible fights. They screamed and yelled at eachother, the most awful, hurtful things. Listening from my bedroom upstairs I couldnt always here exactly what they were saying, but I could hear the yelling, and it scared the crap out of me. It sounded like they were going to kill eachother. They didn't hit eachother, but I'm pretty sure they threw things around, because there would be crashes that shook our whole house and left me terrified, straining to hear voices again so I would at least know everyone was still alive. It was even so bad one time that the neighbors came over to make sure everyone was ok. My parents were embarassed and stopped fighting, for that evening. I wished the neighbors would come by every night.
One night durring a really bad fight, there was a loud crash that made my brother and sister and I jump out of bed a run to the top of the stairs. All three of us burst out crying when we saw my dad pinning my mom down on the floor next to a large chair that had been overturned. Mom and Dad immediately got up and came and put us back to bed, telling us how sorry they were and assuring us that everything would be alright. Every night after that, when they put us in bed, we would say "Good night, don't fight!". It was like a magic charm that we desperately needed to work. It did, for a little while.
As a child, I lived with a particular burden. It was the feeling that I was "responsible". Not that I was the reason for the fighting. More like, I had to watch out, because for some reason I felt I had to monitor the fights to make sure no one got hurt. When I was supposed to be in bed I would creep to the top of the stairs to listen. As awful as it was to hear the yelling and harsh words I had to listen, had to sit up there and hear the entire fight, when I should have been in bed with my covers pulled up over my head to block it out. Because if I wasn't listening, if I wasn't there to make sure they didn't go to far, then anything might happen. So I sat up there, night after night, insides twisting to knots, waiting for it to end. Sometimes the fight would end with the door slamming hard and my dad leaving, then silence, and I would wonder, did he kill her? So I would have to go check, I would creep downstairs to find my mother, crying in the dark.
I'm not writing about this to say "look, see what a crappy childhood I had". Cause I know alot of people had it alot worse. That's not my point at all. Mostly, its just been on my mind alot. I think its why I get more anxious in the evening. I feel lost and scared, like something bad is going to happen. Have you ever felt nostalgic, but not in a good way? That's the way I feel when I hear the cicadas.
I'm glad Chris and I don't yell at eachother. We don't even really fight. We argue sometimes, but we don't raise our voices or call eachother names. We just...disagree.
7 months ago