Coward

Coward

A Story by Amber Smith

It was around Christmas time, as it is now. I know because I recall the unmistakable sound of the ornaments crashing against the floor as the Christmas tree came tumbling down in the middle of the night. I was about 12. They came home once again at around 1 or 2 in the morning. Sandy had long been asleep. She never woke up when they came home or started arguing. Thank God. I always did. I'm not sure about my brother. I never heard him or saw him when it would happen. This night in particular I awoke to them screaming and yelling. I got out of bed and cracked my door to try and see what was going on. All of the lights were still off. The house was pitch black. I couldn't see anything but I could hear my mother screaming at him and saying she hated him. He called her a c**t. She called him a name back, I don't remember which one. All I could hear after that was shuffling and things being knocked over. She screamed "Get off me". My heart stopped and I felt nauseous and terrified. Now in every story I've ever read or any movie I've ever seen, the kid runs in to try to help the mom. Stupidly but bravely. My older sister did that before for our mother with her first husband. That would be the brave, noble thing to do. Instead I sat there, completely frozen. I listened to what was happening. He was choking her now. Her garbled voice begging him to stop. I hadn't realized it but I had began to sob. Rather loudly. They either didn't hear me or didn't care. Next I heard the Christmas tree fall down after my mother was thrown into it. I finally could not bear it any longer. I tried to wake Sandy but she wouldn't budge. I tried for 10 minutes all the while still sobbing. I decided that if she wouldn't wake up for me, there's no way she would wake up to their fighting. I tried to calm myself. I chose to leave the house until their arguing ceased. To do so I either had to walk through the living room and through the front door or walk through my brothers adjoining room and out the back door. Obviously, the back door was my only option. But if my brother saw me, he would never allow me to leave. I tried to be as quiet as possible while walking through his room. I got to his bedroom door which was right next to the back door when I hear his voice simply say "Where are you going?". I'm not sure if he had been awake as I was or if I had woken him up. I tried to keep my resolve strong and said "I'm leaving". I expected him to say "Go back to sleep Amber". But instead he said "Hold on". He got up. He put a shirt on. He put his shoes on and said "Come on". We walked right out the back door. I cried for a second and he hugged me but then we just started walking. We didn't talk about what happened or what was happening in our house at that moment. We just walked and we talked about small unimportant things. We ended up at a 24 hour laundromat by the high school. It was cold and neither of us were dressed for the weather. By the time we made it back home, it was light outside. The sun had risen. Like every other day before it. The house was quiet. We walked in. He went to bed. I checked on Sandra. Still sleeping in the same exact position I had left her in. I opened our door to survey the living room. The Christmas tree was on its side and our mail and furniture were thrown in every direction. I climbed back into bed, exhausted and cold. I fell asleep quickly.

Never in my life had I felt so small. So scared. So frozen. The word "coward" flashed in my mind for years after that. It happened many times after that and he started in on me. I swore to myself it would never happen to her. Not to Sandra. And it never did. I couldn't save her from the mental and emotional abuse but he never laid a finger on her. I just wish I had stepped up to help her. My mother. The next day she was wearing shorts and a very large bruise on her thigh was very prominent. I asked her what happened. She made up an excuse. Said she had fallen. I told her I had heard everything the night before. She pretended not to know what I was talking about. I pointed out the single blood drop on the pool table. She says I must have heard wrong. That they argued but he didn't touch her. She said it so vehemently, I wasn't sure if she was trying to convince me, herself, or both of us. I simply said, "Ok Mom. I love you" and slipped back into my cowardice.

© 2018 Amber Smith



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Featured Review

Well-written autobiographical experience with family dysfunction & abuse. Your writing is intense & honest, which makes for the best first-person vignettes. I'm sorry that this has been your childhood experience, as it has also been mine (many many years ago now). (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Amber Smith

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm sorry you experienced something similar. No one should eve.. read more



Reviews

Well-written autobiographical experience with family dysfunction & abuse. Your writing is intense & honest, which makes for the best first-person vignettes. I'm sorry that this has been your childhood experience, as it has also been mine (many many years ago now). (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Amber Smith

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm sorry you experienced something similar. No one should eve.. read more
Um, whoa. This is very moving. I loved it so much! Is this a memoir piece? It feels very real and provocative. I would love to see this expanded upon. Thanks for the story!

Posted 6 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Amber Smith

6 Months Ago

Yes it is! Thank you so much for the encouraging words
49k_jdys

6 Months Ago

I'm about to go read some more of your stuff!
Amber Smith

6 Months Ago

Thank you very much!

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Added on December 11, 2017
Last Updated on January 9, 2018

Author

Amber Smith
Amber Smith

St. Petersburg, FL



About
I just enjoy writing. Don't care to much about the criticism. Writing should be about storytelling and the feeling it gives you as you write and create. more..

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