When the curtains go flying up
I lay quietly. My door opened sufficiently so I can hear the raised voices from the other room. I am in my bed but I am not tired. I am vigilant. Sometimes the voices are spoken in hushed angered tones and I have to strain to listen. The voices raise. Anger fills their room and like a odorless gas slowly drifts down the hallway till it reaches me. I can’t breathe. The air is filled with yelling and loud footsteps that follow a familiar path. To the stairs. The garage. The screech of the garage door opening pierces my ears. It almost makes me pull the covers over as they might protect me from the visceral pain that only the garage door grating noise can seem to evoke.
But no covers. I am up. I am quick. Down the stairs. Out of breath, I hold on to the driver side window. I beg. I plead. He or she is sorry. They didn’t mean it. I am sure that they did not mean it. Please don’t leave. Please. I beg. I plead. Slowly, I seem to be getting through (or did they really have anywhere to go at midnight? ) Regardless, we trudge back up the stairs. I go to my room. The rest of the night will be quiet. I can crawl into my bed. I have done my job. Sleep will come. In the morning I wake and I head off to 4th grade.
Chapter 1: The fairy
I did not realize that the fairy came. Not until many years later when her spell was broken. On those nights, where childhood was lost and I was forced to be an adult in a pre-pubsecent body, the fairy must have visited me. I don’t remember her coming. But, she most have been there because I survived (mostly). I am told that the fairy comes to protect children. The story goes that the good fairy comes to those who need her special powers. She tells them that that even though it’s hard to be so bound up in childhood, to have so much put on someone so little, it will be the child’s way to survive, to be quiet and control what’s happening inside her.
It is said that the fairy puts the child’s rage and fear into her belly, and then she binds it up so it could stay there. She tells the children that they will have to let their rib cage tighten so they wouldn’t feel the pain of her heart breaking. The fairy tells the child that some day they will no longer be able to hold all this in, and their body will start unwinding its secrets. The child will let go of everything she has been holding for so long…and they will do this because most deeply, the child (now an adult) will want, so desperately, to be whole and real. The fairy tells the children not to worry. They will find people who care for them and will hold them as they find themselves again. The fairy does not mention how hard it will be when the secrets have to come out and the curtain goes flying up. She doesn’t want to scare them. She hopes that by the time that needs to happen, they will have gained some strength and will be able to tolerate and sit in that pain without it breaking them.
On those nights when the good fairy is said to visit, she puts her arms around the child and tucks them into bed. The fairy tells the child that when they wake up, they will forget what happened and the fairy’s visit, but they will remember when she’s older and ready. The good fairy just tells them, ‘Until then, and for always, I love you.’”
Chapter 2: Who knew about the fairy?
It was this long dining room. Windows to the right, overlooking the backyard. They stood at the far end. He was actually standing on the porch with the glass doors open to the dining room. She stood at the back. Being always present to make sure nothing got too out of control, I stood behind a plant at the back of the room. They did not see me. ( I am not sure that they have ever seen me). They were arguing — again. He was going to play tennis. She did not want to be left alone. She asked why she always left him. He yelled something back. It fell until a repeated but similar debate. I envisioned the divorce to come. The 3 of us and her moving to a small apartment since she made no money and he would not take care of us. I went through the story quickly in my head. My synapses work at warped speed and my mind was always present. Yet, there was little that I could do this time. But, as I stood there and watched them, I was overcome my a focus, by a purpose. I would never be her. I would never be her. I would never need someone to make me happy. I would never need someone to take care of me. I would never. And, in that moment, I knew what I would do. I would become a doctor. I would always have a job and make enough money. I would need no one. I would be ok. I was 10 and I know knew my course.
chapter 3: when, oh when, was someone going to tell me about the fairy