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Broken Records

Silent Pain

By Ashley Alleyne Van-De-Cruize Published 4 years ago 4 min read

Broken Records

"Honey, I'm home!"

Right, because we don't already know.

Clearly, he thinks this is funny because he deposits that gut-derived laugh into the once blaring silence of the house: A house that everyone on the block is familiar with. But for the record, it's not funny. The front door flies open and streaks of light from the street-lamps hit his figure at angles that make him look like a swaying shadow in our doorway. Following, again, is that familiar low rumble of laughter that will always bring up memories of a childhood that no longer exists.

He then screams again, as if the neighbors and I didn't hear him the first time he blessed us with his voice. But see, it's not even the fact that he feels entitled to two screams that fuels my irritation. Nope, not the scream. It's what he screams that makes me not only cringe inwardly but roll my eyes, “I want some sugarrrr.”

You see what I’m saying? Real smooth, Dad.

He continues to stand, or sway, just inside of the doorway, which is what Mom calls the foyer. However the problem is that there are steps in front of the foyer that lead into the living room and right now, he's heading for those steps. I can almost guarantee that he will not walk down those steps-providing he actually makes it there-like every man his age should know how to do-it's a very simple concept-instead, what he's going to do is stumble down those stairs, become unable to regain his already unstable balance and proceed to fall on his face. I, being the slightly immature fourteen-year-old girl that I am, will laugh. And yes, I will do so quite blatantly. This may not have been so funny, had he remembered to pick me up from soccer practice today or had he given me lunch money so I could actually eat lunch and not just attend lunch. But since I was the last person to leave practice, like all the other times, and I mooched off of some friends for lunch for the fifth time, this whole foreshadowed span of events has so much potential to be hysterical.

It's important to understand that his fall will cause a chain reaction because something will break. At that point is when my mother will decide to come downstairs, turn on the light, spot her God-awful husband sprawled on the floor of our living room, and sigh in automatic defeat. My question is, why even bother sighing? Even that gesture, being as simple as it is, requires too much effort for a situation that keeps repeating itself, like an old record. But what do you do when a record keeps repeating itself? You take it off or get rid of it, right? It's not like you can fix a broken record. In our case, we anticipate the repetition. Or at least I do. So she has to know that this is going to happen. I mean, it's Dad. It's what fathers do. Right?


Right now, I'm sitting on the couch in our living room facing the foyer. I chose this spot because it creates a unique angle to those steps that he will soon gracefully deposit himself onto. I'm hoping this angle will make his fall funnier than all the others. They were all witnessed from the second floor, and quite frankly it's just not funny from that angle anymore. Therefore, I need the variety.

Now, my father puts one foot in front of the other at a pace designed specifically by the elderly population. He then loses his balance and goes head-first down the steps. Surprise -surprise. His head hits the railing, his face implants itself into the last step, and his foot catches on to the end table with my mom’s favorite lamp. The lamp shatters, and my father lets out a low mumbled string of curses.

“So I see your vocabulary’s grown since the last time you cursed,” I spit out, before the bout of laughter becomes too much to suppress. It's not his slightly ungraceful descent that triggers my laughter; it's the final thump of his fall. I can hear my own laughter echoing throughout the house. It, apparently, overpowers my mother's footsteps.

I catch my breath and look up just in time to witness her signature sigh of distress.

I’m not quite sure when this happened, but my laughter somehow gets choked out by sobs. Sincere sobs. And it’s my mother’s fault, because it’s not like I’m crying because my father doesn’t really know how to walk down a set of steps, or even because I’m not important enough for him to remember. It’s because my mother won’t stop wasting her time. I’m crying for her, and not because I’m hurt by him. He doesn’t deserve my tears, so I refuse to cry over his failure at life.

The problem here is that my mother just isn't aware of what a broken record sounds like. If you don't know what it sounds like, how do you know when to take it off? How do you know when it's just too damaged and therefore equivalent to trash? Why won’t she just take the damn trash out? Because we’re both listening to that same lame ass record every couple of nights, and I want to take it off, but she can’t hear what I’m listening to. That’s why I’m crying: because I can’t fix the stupid record for my mom.


About the Creator

Ashley Alleyne Van-De-Cruize

So for starters, I’m a nurse so I see some pretty... interesting things daily, BUT those interesting events are inspiring. They’ve managed to change my thinking, and my perspective. I’m grateful for what it’s added to my writing career.

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