The Sound of Pain

She isn’t always loud. Sometimes I hear a whimper from the other side of the adjoining wall. Sometimes she screams, and it hurts my ears. I cover them up with my hands when she does that. It lasts a long time sometimes. Sometimes the sounds are cut off, and I imagine a hand placed over her mouth to muffle the noise.

I hate when she cries. I listen and I hear her sobbing. It bothers me, but not enough to go to the next apartment and rap on the door. I cannot do that. I am only ten. My mom and dad told me to stop listening if it bothered me. I cannot do that either. And so I hear the sounds, and I cover my ears, until one day all is quiet. I think that the lady must have gone away.

My mom and dad talk about next door at dinner. Mom says it is too bad about the woman. My dad says it was bound to happen.

Then they both look at me, as if noticing me for the first time. Mom says I should not worry, nothing bad will happen to any of us. It was only the woman and her husband, and he has been taken away now that the woman is dead.

I am scared that night when I go to bed. Scared about the woman being dead. I am almost asleep and then I hear the noise. It is the woman and she is crying. I can’t tell my mom and dad. They’d think I was lying. But I hear the sounds. Then all is still and I go to sleep.

It happens every night until we finally move away, into our very own house. I am glad that there isn’t a wall between apartments anymore. I won’t have to hear the awful sounds.

I fall asleep easy now and I try not to think about the woman and the man.

When my mom and dad start to argue every night, I am scared again. And when mom cries I know what is going to happen. But I am only ten and there’s nothing I can do about it.

I listen and I hear and I watch and I wait. And at last my mom and dad leave the house. Mom leaves on a stretcher, carried away by a silent ambulance because there is no hurry.

My dad is taken away in a police car. And a lady comes to take me to a foster home. I am glad. There will be no more ladies crying in the night. Not anymore.

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