Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
TITLE: Out to the Curb
By Francie Snell
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I had to get away from what I knew was going to happen, and in the rising commotion, the three of them didn’t notice when I meekly left the room to make my escape out the front door. Quietly, I closed the door behind me, and felt a sense of freedom as I breathed in the cool air, walking down the long driveway to the hard, cold, cement curb in front of our house.
The adjacent streetlight had just come on, shining around me, like a bright searchlight, as I sat, listening to the escalating harsh tones coming from the house. They were sounds of my mother’s screeching, and raised male voices in heated response.
My brother David always seemed the focus of Mom’s contempt. With anger, he rallied against her caustic remarks, give and take, on matters that seemed to me unimportant. He was ten years older than I was, in his mid teens.
I was grateful for the evening hours, after the neighbors settled into their homes with drawn curtains and shut-off porch lights, along the street of carefully maintained yards. Yet, I worried if they could hear the ruckus.I was younger than any child should be, sitting alone at night, on a suburban city street. Even so, that was my place of refuge.
I could hear my father, and imagined him standing by Mom and David, like a referee, trying to defuse the situation that was likely to explode even further. His loud voice was not vicious like theirs; no, he was a peacekeeper who tried his best to keep the quarrels as benign as possible. Being a humble and quiet man, he was not one to demand airtime in frivolous debates. However, he kept close watch, and was ready to step in, if a fracas were to start, which was not out of the ordinary.
My pain was in the words I spoke loud into the night, under the streetlight. “Why do they do that? … Why do they fight?“
I felt there was someone listening to me, and it wasn’t any neighbor. Somehow, I knew, there was someone watching over me, and cared very much, about what I was going through. I did not know His name, but I could feel His presence.
God was never spoken of in our home. Both Mom and David proclaimed to be atheists, which was sadly evident. There was very little, if any, care or concern ever shown between them.
My father, a private man, kept many of his thoughts and beliefs to himself. However, by his actions, I believe he had a special something which they did not; a consistent kindness and patience. I never had to wonder about his love for me. He always made that perfectly clear.
The drone of the on-going debate continued as the night grew colder.
Sluggishly, I stood, and then made it back up the driveway to the front door. I did not want to go inside, but had no choice. I crept in as my mother screamed from around the corner in the hallway. I could not see the cause of the thumping noise, or the reason for my father yelling,then I learned Mom had attacked David in the hallway, and he had defended himself.
David ran past me yelling profanities at Mom as he went. I couldn’t see if he was physically hurt as he fled out the door so quickly. I watched him go wondering if he was okay.
Mom had a big goose egg on her chin, which looked bad and was bruising quickly. Dad drove, and we took Mom to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital. After her examination, the doctor wrote on the report that she was intoxicated, with facial contusions, and no broken bones.
The violence had escalated more than usual, but the outcome was still the same.
My parents blamed the era of the sixties, with all its’ drugs and crazy philosophies, for my brother and sister’s rebellious behaviors. However, I grew to believe that it was not the outside influences that were to blame, but the ones on the inside; a disregard for God,a recipe for failure.
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