Song: “Shuffle” by Bombay Bicycle Club from A Different Kind of Fix
Slamming doors. Shouting. Screaming really. Accusations. Counteraccusations. Wild proclamations. Abstract threats. Threats significantly less abstract.
The house shook with them. No, it more swayed. Absorbing. Moving with the force of the raging arguments thundering inside its walls. Limiting the force of the blows on itself.
“Home,” Glen thought darkly, “Same as it ever was.”
Then, shoving clothes in a duffle, a toothbrush, a brush. He was an adult, he reasoned as he did it. No reason to stay. No reason to bear witness yet again. Their problem, not his. He could go anywhere. Crash here or there until break was over. Come back occasionally, maybe, make an appearance. Eat Christmas dinner, of course. But otherwise, stay away. Family ties are imaginary tethers. He rejects all but the most basic of them. He’s not running away, he’s leaving and there’s a big difference.
As he pulls the zipper, he’s aware of the house quieting. Entering that deep silence. Bell rung. Combatants heading to their corners. It’ll be time for the post-fight presser and pictures before long. Glen does not care. He does not need the post-game summary.
Down the hall and to the door. A slight pause, a delicate hesitation. Then there’s Dad, all mumbling apologies and shrugs and, “You know we’re passionate people.” And Mom, just behind, still flushed from spewing and taking heated words. Wrapping her arm around Dad’s waist, giggling like a teen caught coming home late too befuddled by pot to craft a cogent response, almost twisting her body into a question mark.
They ask about the bag, Glen says something about maybe crashing at Mark’s. They nod, nondirective about his choices to the point of seeming disinterest. He shallows a rising temper, rejecting this looping system of redress. Get mad. Scream. Exhaust. Repeat. Never apologize. Never learn. Never change. Forever and ever, Amen. Except Glen’s done. He’s leaving.
Mom mentions dinner and maybe cards later if he stays. The neighbors maybe dropping in. Dad says he can have a beer too, if he wants. Now that he’s a college man and all.
They walk away. Glen sags against the doorframe, locks his jaw, The house reacts again, shrinking. Warmer, comfier, sturdier somehow. A few tears weave down his cheeks and he realizes that they must be red, how cool the tears feel against his hot skin.
He drops the bag, thinking he’ll give them another shot. He heads to the kitchen.
This is, after all, all he knows. He will stay here, he will not go.
Maybe later, perhaps.
But not right now.