Chandra covered her ears with her hands and squeezed her eyes shut tight. If she tried hard enough maybe it would stop. Maybe the screaming and yelling would end. Maybe…
Cold wind whipped through the broken window, the small table that created the hole lay in the middle of a pile of glass. Dirt and the remains of a plant where tossed in like a bad salad. Thomas continued screaming at Jake and then ran through the house to his room, pulling things off the walls as he went. Another clock hit the floor, a coat rack soon swung on only one screw.
The other children had done what they did every time Thomas exploded; they went to their rooms and locked the doors. They weren’t ordinary doors and locks. Every bedroom door was solid core with a key lock. They were necessary for mental and personal health.
Jake had gone after him to see if he could calm him down. That didn’t usually work but he tried. Slowly Chandra came back to the land of the living and started picking up the glass. Her oldest daughter, sensing that things were quieting down, slipped out of her room where she had put her little sister to bed and came to help.
Chandra passed a hand over her eyes. There weren’t any tears to wipe away, she’d stopped crying a long time ago. Her soul was numb. A dot of blood blossomed on her thumb and she stared at it. More yelling erupted and Chandra stood up. “You better go down there, mom,” her daughter said without emotion. “Yeah, I know.” Chandra replied.
She walked past the coats and boots that had been kicked and tossed, past the broken clock and the swinging coat rack. She picked her way past the debris that was the pathway to her son’s room mentally totaling up today’s losses, noting the keyboard that was teetering on its stand. She straightened it and grimaced as she stepped over a puddle of paint on the floor. She found her husband seated against the door, hand over his eyes, praying quietly.
Chandra peered through the hole in what remained of the door. Thomas paced the small room muttering to himself. He was a long way from calm. She could hear phrases like, “no use living” and “might as well die” and her heart skipped a beat.
Jake got up and went to phone some trusted, praying friends, then began cleaning up the paint.
Chandra slid down on the other side of the door and started talking softly, letting her son know that he was loved, that he was wanted, that he was forgiven. Knowing the whole time that none of what she said was penetrating the thick cloud of mistrust and fear that surrounded the boy. Wondering if what she was saying was really true anymore. Did she love him? Did she want him? Did she forgive him? Did she forgive herself? Had she started this whole thing? She tried to remember what the trigger had been that had set him off.
She had asked him to try the dishes.
He wouldn’t be doing that tonite obviously.
It felt like he’d won another round.
But this wasn’t a boxing match.
It sure felt like it. Chandra felt battered and bruised, like she’d been through a war.
That wasn’t quite right. No. She was in one and she had definitely lost this battle.