|Painting by Lewis Bodecker|
That was the night it happened. HE came home from work, late. SHE sent us upstairs and we ascended onto the big brass bed. Only the blue shadows of the TV kindled the room.
Then the yelling started. We hunched together on the bed like scared rabbits. They never yelled like that before. We heard a crash, then another, then another, and another. The eldest got up and opened the door to listen. We heard crying. SHE was crying. The front door slammed. None of us uttered a word. Only crying and the sounds of the TV filled the air. The eldest closed the door behind her as she went downstairs. The rest of us waited on the big brass bed.
I was waiting for my mom; she usually picked me up at my godmother’s before dinnertime.
Soon we heard sirens, cars screeching up the driveway, loud voices. I heard my mom’s voice; I wanted to run to her, but I sat on that brass bed watching those blue shadows flicker on the walls. The eldest came back into the room and took my hand (I was seven then).
As the two of us walked down the stairs, red and blue flashing lights intruded through the windows. A pile of broken vase lay near the front door. SHE stood behind the door, her neck bleeding, still crying. My mom had one arm around her waist, the other held a bloody towel up to her neck.
I felt sick.
It was sad really, what happened. After the divorce SHE could no longer care for them, a drinking problem I learned when I was “older,” although I think I knew even then, from the smell of HER breath. So the eight kids got split up into different foster homes and I never saw them again.