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Returning Home

Emily Grimes
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"When Does It Stop"

Haylie Wrage

Your heart buzzed with excitement as you walked into the familiar home. You followed your mom to the back of the house and found your dad in his room playing a game on his computer like always. You kept fidgeting even though your mom repeatedly asked you to stop. You couldn't contain your excitement. You just had to wait until they finished talking. Outside the door, you sat on the floor and hummed the tune of a song you had just listened to on the radio. You didn’t remember the words. 


Your parents conversed in the background, but you weren't really paying attention to them. You were lost in your own little world. Gradually though, your ears tuned in to their conversation. They just kept getting louder and louder, so you couldn’t help but hear them. Your mom’s voice gradually got more and more shrill, and her tone became more and more accusatory. From your point of view, it seemed like your dad was just annoyed that your mom hadn’t left, and was saying anything to get her to leave. 


“Take her then. I don't care,” your dad said in a low tone, his voice as flat as always. You could tell by his inflection, he meant you. The biggest signifier was the heavy weight that appeared in your chest afterward. His monotone way of speaking usually meant he wasn't paying attention, but this time it had more consequences than taking out the garbage. 


“Fine, I will!” your mom yelled. Immediately afterward the floor shook beneath you as she stomped toward you.


You didn't understand. Why was this happening? Were you going back to mom’s house? You didn't want to go back there. Loud noises and angry voices filled the house.


“Dad!” you screamed as loud as you could. Your heart pounded as fast as a hummingbird’s. You just wanted your dad; that’s all you could think about. Adrenaline surged through your body, your ears flushing red with blood.


The front door slammed shut behind you. You kicked and screamed at your mom, but her grip remained strong. She opened the driver’s door, and the center console cut into your back as she tossed you into the front seat. Your eyes looked around frantically, trying to find your bearings. 


The engine burst to life and your heart rate spiked again.


Your dad flew out the front door, not bothering to stop to close it. Snot and tears dripped down your face as you desperately tried to open the passenger door. He reached the driver’s side and pried the door open, despite your mom’s efforts to keep it closed. You kept bawling, because you knew there was nothing else you could do. Your dad unlocked the door and yelled at you to run. You used your body as leverage to get the door open, and you ran as fast as your little legs could take you. 


You closed the door and peeked through the window. Your mom in the car, and your dad at the window, their movements slowed down. Part of you wished you knew the words they said, the other part was still just trying to catch your breath. 


She drove off. Your dad came inside, and he hugged you harder than you could ever remember. You still don't understand what happened, or why. At the moment though, you didn’t want to. You just wanted to stay home, where the quiet and safe environment welcomed you. You took a deep breath. At least you wouldn’t have to leave for another two weeks. 

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