I listen to the fight. They scream and throw harsh and disgusting words at each other. He shouts in rage… and she tearfully screams back. I can hear the tears in her voice. They fight… with loud voices… and sometimes even smacks and hits. They think I'm asleep; that I am safe in my room. But my eyes never close and they stare into darkness.
My breath hitches and little hands curl into fists that clutch my blanket. I turn, hoping to block out the noise and sleep peacefully. But… thoughts, unbidden come into my head…
Why? Why do they have to fight so much? Is it because of me? Am I just a really bad child? I didn't want to be born this way! Dirty… cursed
I know I've been nothing but a burden on my parents since the day I was born. Since the fateful day when my parents held me for the first time… and I changed for the first time. Since the day they found out. I know I'm a bad child. My parents fight because of me and they don't love each other any more. I'm sorry!
I sob muffled tears into my pillow as I choke out what I can never say in daylight…
I'm so sorry!
I try to be good. I try to be good. I'm so sorry! I know it would have been better if I were never born! I know! I'm so sorry!
I'm sorry Mommy! I'm sorry Daddy! Please… don't hate me anymore…
Don't hate each other anymore…
I pretend not to know. I try to smile, act happy. Maybe if I'm a good child, always smiling and getting good grades and making good friends… then they'll love me again. They must have loved me at one point. Even if only for a fraction of a second, before they found out what I was. But they must have loved me. She carried me in her womb for nine months, and he must have rubbed her tummy and counted the days until I was born. I was a disappointment at birth.
When I came into the world, I opened my mouth to scream… but then that person embraced me. I felt like I was shrinking. Pain… the pain of being new to this world, not yet accustomed to this body, and then being forced to assume a new shape. I howled in pain, but my howls were that of not a human child… a wild animal.
Hot tears prick my eyelids… but I refuse to let them flow. If they fall… the spell will be broken. There's a momentary hush in the screams, as if they know I'm listening. Then… a single tear falls. I hold my breath, praying that it will not matter. But… of course it does. The shouts begin anew. It was my fault. It's all my fault. It's because I'm bad that they fight. I'm bad… and no matter what I say, no matter what I do… I can't change that.
I can dream.
Of a house where Mommy and Daddy love me.
Where Daddy ruffles my hair and picks me up and zooms me around. Not like now… not like now when he can't even look at me, let alone touch me, where when I ask he says, "I'm tired… maybe tomorrow"
A place where Mommy cooks yummy dinners and teaches me how. Not like now… when she just looks at me with those empty eyes and says, "tomorrow, I'll teach you tomorrow"
A place where tomorrow is today.
But when I wake up… everthing will be the same. Same. Unchanging. Life.
It would change, I know it would. But… it won't while I'm here. I'm so bad. It's because I'm so bad that Mommy and Daddy won't stop fighting. It's because I'm so bad that they won't move on and be happy. They feel like they can't leave me… but they both hate me.
I'm such a bad child!
When I get up in the morning, I was my face and brush my teeth and get dressed. I put on a smile and walk outside to Mommy.
"Hi Mommy! Good morning!"
She looks at me… with distant blank eyes. Those eyes. There is muffled hate mixed with the love in them, I can see it.
"… Good morning honey."
She sets my plate in front of me.
I look around and pretend to be surprised, even though this conversation has replayed itself a million times.
"Where's Daddy? Isn't he going to eat breakfast with us?"
And, like a broken record, she answers in her monotone voice like she does every morning.
"…No honey. Not today. Maybe tomorrow"