By Teresa Kellargias
She is born into a symphony of screams. Dad on
the wood instruments, mum on the wind but no
conductor to give them the right note. They close
the glass French doors to muffle their cries but they
travel down the hallway like a snake made of smoke
and she hears it. She bursts the plastic surrounding
her videos tapes with a pen, hoping the noise will
catch their attention and they will run to console her.
The house is their prison. She is the newest inmate,
given a room and a bed and a head that can’t think
like everyone else’s. When she crawls up to the double
doors, mum and dad are standing in the kitchen, the Grand
Canyon sprawling between them. The glass is cut with
white wooden frames, obscuring nothing. Her curiosity dead.
Mum deals with her with silence, all her words wasted
on dad. Nothing teaches a girl to behave like the promise
of guilt, the Italian brand of silent treatment. It works:
She is a good girl, afraid of yelling and afraid of the silence.
Dad never cares enough to deal with her. She sees him
once a week, then visits are stretched apart with apathy.
She deals with him by shutting off – a light switch has nothing
on her. She can’t burn without any fire underneath, her
tears a mountain she carries with her to keep the flames
at bay. There is only one man in her life she trusts.
She is twenty-four now. Guilt no longer plagues her stomach
every day, she doesn’t need to check the door three times
to make sure it is locked. She finds the girl who would
have thrived years ago under any other home. Mum is
not the bad guy in her story. Her love was always a giant
compared to the silence. Coffee still gives her anxiety,
maybe she gets sad too often. She is okay.