First, your parents make you believe in fairytales by being this ‘perfect’ couple in front of the world. They make dinner to impress each other. Dad brings flowers for Mum, often.
Somedays, Dad comes home and takes Mom away for a weekend trip. They spend a romantic vacation in Hawaii and come back to their regular lives, with a tan. Amid the birthdays, special dates, fancy dinners, vacations, gifts and showing each other off at office parties and weddings, you grow up to realise that it’s too sugary to be true.
The notion of ‘perfect’ is quite an imperfect one. Many a times, people screw something good up by idealising the wrong things. The pressure of being perfect can be toxic. You know that.
You’ d rather have it the hard way than being mislead with an ‘ideal’ notion of a marriage. Your parents’ marriage. You have a gut feeling that this is all one big, pretty lie. You grow suspicious.
Gathering all your courage, you peep into their bedroom. It’s dark inside, they are asleep at different corners of the bed. Doesn’t mean anything! You decide to leave them alone. And forget all about it. Another day passes by, your mind is still at unrest, you decide to become a full-time spy. It’s stupid you tell yourself but end up with a track journal, “you gotta do what you gotta do!”
They are arguing, but every couple fights; you console yourself. ‘Every relationship goes through ups and downs!’ They will make it work. Don’t overthink! As you turn your back to the door, you hear a THUD! Your heart is racing faster than that Ferrari, during the Ferrari ride in Ferrari world, Dubai. It’s almost as if your fragile heart were to come right out of your food pipe. Yes, feelings don’t make sense most of the times.
Everything else freezes, there is a pin-drop silence. The air is calmer, it’s the calm before the storm or after it. Birds have stopped chirping, dogs aren’t barking anymore and our pet ‘Feebie’, a Persian cat that Mum’s friend, from office, gifted me on my last birthday has just peed on the carpet.
Not wishing to face what comes next, you walk away as fast as you can. The fight goes on for hours- a lot of crying, cursing, lamenting fills up the room. Mum and Dad seem to be throwing a lot of things in anger or maybe that’s just Dad! He has had temper issues in the past but no one knew it is this bad.
The carpet has been stinking ever since, no one is even bothered by it.
You cannot stop sobbing, your eyes are red and nose, sneezy; you may faint by everything that is having around, but you do not. Sunken in an arm chair like an inflated balloon, you watch your castle of dreams fall down. You’re like a ticking time bomb- calm on the outside, counting down till an explosion.
“I want a divorce”, Mum shouts she starts packing her things while Dad picks up the glass shattered from the fight.
Mum’s saying something to you but you aren’t paying attention . Pay attention! Help her pack. If not, at least comfort her by saying something.
In fury, she leaves the bedroom with 3 heavy suitcases too big for her size. Hardly being able to lift them, she drags them out across the hall with her face covered in tears and smeared mascara. She slams the door behind as she makes her dramatic exit with her braid swinging behind her in full force.
Don’t just sit there and do nothing! Be there for her and stop her from crying. You get up when you realise this is ‘really’ happening! Unfortunately, you’re late. You run after her car as it moves further away from your ‘troubled paradise’.
You’re stuck with Dad now. He’s miserable, swearing at everything around him, sometimes at you too, he comes home wasted every single night. He tells you about the ‘Big Fight’ sometimes. He can never forgive himself for the things he said and the way he made her feel. He’s done irreparable damage and he cannot take it back.
You wish it was easier but it never gets easier, you get used to it. The pain normalises. Mum never visits, you go to her new house every weekend and some selected holidays. She probably didn’t want custody! You ruined it, remember? You didn’t fight for her. You let her go. Did she deserve it?
She probably got hurt that day, there was some blood on the floor. Never speaking of it to another soul, Mum is on her own now. She never comes home to visit you. Remember you did nothing. It’s not your fault entirely, you contemplate.
Your life has become a big ‘Why’. You consult a therapist. Your therapist sympathises with you. You tell the old man things you wouldn’t even tell your own self. In that blue, cold compact room, every Sunday, you feel like you’re being heard.You’re more comfortable talking to a stranger than to your parents, relatives or friends. Life has turned upside down. It will never be a fairytale again.
It’s Thanksgiving, you have to choose who you going to be spending it with. Mom is seeing someone new, he may or may not like you! “You aren’t special”, you tell yourself over and over again. Instead of spending it with your drunken dad, you decide to go to your moms house this time. Reaching moms house, you are taken aback by surprise. She sitting cross-legged with a glass of wine with your dad, sitting across the table. They are having a turkey. Turkey is supposed to be Dad’s favourite Thanksgiving dish. They seem happy. Or maybe not! You dream excessively much. Come back to reality.