Can we just talk?
In the morning when you wake and the alcohol wears off, what do you see when you see my face? Do you see the mirror of black and blue, do you feel that too? When you see my lips swollen like I’d walked into your beehive of a fist and skin lashed and cut and oozing of blood, does your heart sink, even a little tiny part? What do you see when you look into our daughter’s eyes? Do you see fear? Resentment? Disappointment? Remorse? Hopelessness? Because she reeks of that when your eyes change colour, when you come home late, when the plates break. What do you see when you look at our sons? What do you want to make out of them? What kind of an example are we showing them? What kind of a platform are we giving them to build a life and to love and show affection? These are our humans, we made them out of love and as they stand before us, wide eyed and innocent, all we throw at them is selfishness, and mistrust and hate; all we show them is instability and unhealthy ways to solve problems. Why can’t we just talk and why can’t we just listen? Why can’t we lay down these arms and pause for second?
When the noise becomes silence, do you replay the things you have called me? Do you think about the way I feel when you take my ego and wipe on it your feet; when you lay out every single mistake you claim to forgive me for, all out there, a criteria they use to judge me? What do you see when you look into our daughter’s eyes? Do you see the way she looks at me? The one man who is her strongest supporter and protector, now zeroed down to nothing and she sees an empty shell. She sees me thru your eyes as incapable of being the one man she can count on, and my heart breaks. What do you see when you look into our sons’ eyes? They look at me with disappointment with the thought that I must be a horrible person to make their mama say these things. Why can’t we talk? Why can’t we be civil about this? I have no words, my darling, but I have to be silent about this.
As I cuddle my little sister and hush her fears, pretending to be strong, I only hope tonight he does not leave you with a flat-line. I squeeze my eyes shut and with sweaty palms together, I plead to a God I have only started learning about. I think I feel Him. I think He keeps you. I wish He’d keep away those hands, though; I wish He’d give me courage to stop this.
Mama, I hear you cry.
Mama, I see the changes.
Mama I see you flinch.
Mama I cry.
I need you to know I am not breaking so you can take my strength and make it yours if yours seems to have gone away.
Mama I am here.
I have heard the things she says to you. I see your eyes turn red and I hear you over and over try to make your point without lifting a finger. And I have seen what it does. If it doesn’t make you violent, it makes you distant. It makes us distant. I see you work and I see you tirelessly love and I hope you know that I appreciate you. I hope you wake up today and you see the light.
Daddy, don’t jump.
Daddy put down the knife.
Daddy, put away those funny looking pills and look at me- look!
Daddy, don’t do this, I am here.
I got you!
Daddy… it does not have to be this way.
And I toss and turn in the night trying to understand why in the place where love should thrive and laughter should make every blood cell bounce, I see it ooze out of cuts and clot in bruises. I try to understand why a man who claims to love me would still find some comfort in the clenching of his fist washing upon me like wave after wave with the only salt, in my sweat. I try to understand how I could claim to love him and still find a string of validation in the hurling of disrespect and ungrateful syllables instead of poetry and affection. I try to understand the every day of these innocent babies we are raising in households crawling with resentment, hate, pessimism, abuse, fear, darkness, anxiety, depression, rebellion and every other thing synonymous ‘what the hell is going on?!’
We are raising a whole generation in homes packed with a lot of noise that equals to silence. We are raising a whole generation in households strangling them with imagery and ideas of happiness equated to pain and abuse as if abuse must be present for one to be loved; as if fear is the foundation of love- where did we learn this? Where did we go wrong? I ask and I pause. And I realise that this is all choice.
We choose to raise our voices and use them as weapons to beat down the ones we claim to love and then we raise our hands to enforce the power our voices and then we raise a knife, a gun, an actual weapon of some kind; hell we raise a fire when we feel like we should and we burn each other at the stake; at the hearing of a whisper in wind.
One more mother silenced.
Gravely harmed and graves marked.
One more father lost.
We found his lifeless body hanging in the loft.
One more sister lost at the hands of the love her life; she lost her life.
One more brother stabbed
Fuelled by accusations and falsities.
One more human life lost because we choose our egos over our love
And we make excuses in violence when we could sit down and listen; one speaking, one quiet.
But there is hope.
Hope in this generation fuelled by
Love and kindness;
Compassion and selflessness;
Courage and confidence.
So we watch
And hope to God that the next we hear letters in the voices close to us,
They are of gratitude and happiness-
Can’t we lay down these arms and pause for a second?