StoryRhyme After Dark: A Divorce Story for Parents and Children
StoryRhyme.com presents another Laura G. story: A serious short story about a serious subject; divorce, as told from the perspective of a young teen whose parents no longer love each other. There is no pony in this story, it's just a child who doesn't understand why her house is unhappy; why her parents fight; why her family isn't like her friend's happy family. In a perfect world, stories like this would be a fantasy; unfortunately, they're not. Laura's story is maybe more a cautionary tale for parents: don't forget the little ones who look to you for guidance and are inextricably bound to their parents and their parents' problems.
Visit Laura at RebelliousThoughtsofaWoman.com and read “Lighting the Chanukah Lights with Emily,” also by Laura, in our StoryRhyme Originals section.
A Divorce Story for Parents and Children
By Laura G.
When Corinna’s parents yell at each other, she goes into her room, closes the door and listens to music, or she goes to her best friend Megan’s house. Corinna doesn’t like to listen when her father says mean things to her mother, and when her mother cries and tells her father to stop and yells at him when he doesn’t stop. And he never stops, even when her mother goes into her room and slams the door. It hurts Corinna too much to listen to her parents. Why can’t they be nice to each other?
It hurts as much as it hurts when her teacher tells her that she’s doing something wrong in class, because she hates when something she does is not right.
It hurts to hear her parents yell as much as it hurts when she and her sister fight. But maybe her parents yelling hurts even more because she knows that she and her sister, Amanda, will make up and be talking to each other again, and watching TV together again, and borrowing shirts again. But her parents, they don’t make up, they just stop fighting, until they start fighting again.
They never say sorry for the things they say to each other. They never say sorry for raising their voices at each other. They never say sorry for saying bad words. They never say sorry for saying things she and Amanda are not allowed to say.
Sometimes her mother comes up to her room after they fight and says that she’s sorry to her for having to hear them yell. She says that she’s sorry that Corinna has to hear that. But is her mother really sorry? Wouldn’t she stop if she were really sorry? Isn’t that what she has been taught, by her mother?
Corinna’s sorry. She’s sorry that they don’t go on family day trips any more when they all get in the car and drive somewhere, and then find a place to walk around, and then discover a place to eat, and finally, when everyone is tired, drive back home, with her sleeping and holding her car pillow. She’s also sorry that because her parents fight they don’t talk about her to each other, like they used to do all of the time about Amanda. She never hears her mother call up her father telling him about a grade she got or a picture she made. No. They put it on the refrigerator, but it’s not the same.
Corinna is also sorry that she can’t tell her mother how she doesn’t like to pretend that it doesn’t bother her that they yell. She wishes she could tell her mother, but after her parents fight, her mother usually goes into her room and locks the door and cries. Or she goes out for hours and hours and when she calls her to see when she is coming home, her mother always says that she’ll be back in a little while. But a little while after a fight is more than a little while when she’s at home and says she’ll make Corinna breakfast in a little while.
Sometimes Corinna wonders why they got married if they don’t like each other so much that all they do is yell at each other. If her father tells her mother that she’s fat and ugly, and her mother says that he’s nasty and selfish, then why did they get married? She thought that love was forever.
Did her parents not love each other? Then why did they get married. Maybe her parents pretended that they loved each other. Maybe they pretend that they love her and Amanda. Maybe her parents really are like what they say to each other? Is her mother useless? But she doesn’t seem to be useless. She does so much for Corinna and Amanda. Maybe it’s different being useless for a husband than it is for a wife. And when her mother tells her father that he’s nothing, what does that mean? Does that mean that he is not full of fun when he sometimes takes her shopping, and lets her pick out ties for him.
It’s so confusing. Corinna wished it weren’t so confusing. And sad. She knows it’s sad for her, she thinks maybe it’s sad for her parents too. Her mother cries a lot, and her father is not home a lot. Amanda is always in her room, even when her parents aren’t yelling. And Corinna is in her room a lot, too, because it’s comfortable there. In her room she doesn’t have to think about the mean things her parents say to each other. In her room she doesn’t have to think about her parents and how mean they are to each other. In her room she doesn’t have to feel so alone. When she is in her room she does her homework or rearranges the things in her room. Sometimes she calls Megan and they talk.
Megan’s parents don’t yell at each other all the time, only sometimes. And Megan’s parents go out to the movies sometimes or meet their friends at restaurants. Megan’s parents even eat dinner together, with Megan and Ryan, her younger brother. Corinna wished her parents were like Megan’s parents. Megan says that her parents are mean to her, and they punish her a lot. But Corinna thinks that that is better than parents who make everyone in the house sad and mad all of the time.
Corinna wished she could tell her mother that she is sad because of the fighting and that she wants to live with Megan and her parents. Corinna is sorry that her mother is so sad that she cries so much, but she wants to be happy and laugh. She doesn’t want to worry that her parents will fight when she has a friend over. And she doesn’t want to worry that maybe one day her mother won’t come back from being out or her father won’t come home from work. Corinna just wants to worry about school and who’s friends with who. And the only fights she wants to hear are between her and Amanda over what to watch or who gets to use the blanket on the couch or watch what she wants.
Corinna hopes that maybe her mother will know this in the same way that she knows when Corinna has had a bad day at school or when she is excited about something. Corinna wishes her mom could be happy like Megan’s mom. But she also wishes that her mom would stop fighting with her father and that it would be nice at home. If they aren’t going to stop fighting, then Corinna wishes that she could live in two homes, like a lot of her friends. That seems better.
(c) 2009 by Laura G.