Good days, bad days.
On the good days, there is laughter. Peals of it. We sit together, laughing, confiding, reminiscing, teasing. Our eyes are alight with happiness, the kind that nothing but lounging on couches whilst drinking tea and watching football can give us. On the good days, we dress up. The four of us, we window shop, we plan, we splurge, and offer to pay. On the good days, we argue. We argue over music, over culture, over life at the dinner table, long after the bones are picked clean and the plates wiped dry.
On the good days, we are content.
On the good days, we burst into song. And we don’t hear the awkward melody, our sheepish hums when we forget the words, we don’t notice how embarrassingly off key we are. No, we hear music, the sound of six people who wouldn’t give this up for anything.
On the good days, we love ourselves, and we love each other more.
On the bad days, there is silence. An awful silence punctuated only by the wails of the youngest, and our gulps, as we eat quickly, heads bent, eager to get away. There is weariness on our faces, and I can see it, the way we feel stuck. The way we can’t even be around each other. I can feel the silence weighing on us quietly, deafeningly, threateningly, as we stare at our food, stare at our screens, stare at the ground.
It is too much effort to look up.
Sometimes, we avert our eyes, and tiptoe around each other. But it is worse when we mutter obscenities, just loud enough for the other to hear. We pluck the right nerves, we are brutal, and our words never miss. You see, when you know people inside out, and outside in, clumsy insults are rare.
On the bad days, this house is too small for us.
On the bad days, we despise ourselves, and we dread each other.