I was only ten at the time, an only child living with my mom and dad. My parents were happily married for a long time. We would spend a lot of time together, bonding, and sharing laughs. I was told many stories from my parents experienced and loved every second of it.
We were one happy family, until something changed dramatically. When the sun was not shining the house would rattle from the shouting and screaming back and forth between my parents.I never knew exactly what they were fighting about or even what they were saying half the time – I would hide in my cupboard, on the floor with my head between my knees and try block out the sound – but I could feel that there was a lot of anger as well as tension in our house when with the blaring voices I could hear from my bedroom. “I’m not afraid” is what I would constantly say to myself, every day. After a few months I started to see less of my mom and it would just be my dad and I in the house.After time i began to notice all the changes that were happening around me and I began to question the entire situation as I grew closer and closer with my dad because more time was being spent with him. Eventually my father told me, in detail, what was truly happening.
My mother had started drinking because of the fighting.As per usual when i was given any sort of dreadful news, I ran off to my ‘safe’ place – in my cupboard with my head between my knees – and just thought about what this all meant and what would happen to our once happy family. I’m not afraid; I’m not afraid” would just be repeated aloud or in my head while all my worries were traveling through my mind and what the outcomes could be, which could perchance change my way of life. ‘What if… ’ The situation of my mother not being at home for a while carried on for about another two to three months and then slowly she started to come home more and as this happened so I grew happier and happier oblivious to the fact that my parents were not talking or even making eye contact.The fact that they were in the same room just raised my emotions so high.
My father still looked after the house and did the same things he did when my mother was not at home and my mother was very quiet and kept to herself a lot of the time. There was nothing that I could be afraid of that that point until my father sat me down one day with a serious look to his face and told me that he was leaving the family. He tried to use his words as best he could not too upset me but any words that he used made me upset.That night for the first time in a year I heard my mother shout. I had to find out some answers to why this was all happening, why my father was going to leave me with my quiet and insecure mother.
I just had to hear once sentence and it answered all my questions – my father was seeing another woman. I was in my ‘safe’ place with my head between my knees and my eyes as red as they could be. My father was leaving us, he was leaving me with my mother who had not fully recovered, and who was not stable to look after me the way my father did.
It was all so unreal. The thoughts were screaming through my mind and as I started to figure out that I had to be strong and confident and stand up to my father. I loved him with all my heart but I had to show him that I was brave enough and had enough courage to remove myself from my ‘safe’ spot – “I’m not afraid; im not afraid. I am not afraid; I am not afraid” – and I went downstairs and told my father that what he was doing was wrong and inconsiderate and painful to our once happy family.