"The sound of muffled voices filled the dark silence. She made her way to the bedroom door and found she was not the only one to have awoken. The three of them exchanged that knowing look and crept to the top of the stairs. The voices were clearer here and so they sat three abreast and listened as the shadows enveloped them.
There were moments of quiet mumblings that gradually built to a crescendo as those downstairs were in the midst of yet another argument fuelled by drink after a hard day. It would start off happily enough with laughter but invariably ended in tears and an exchange of viscous words and, with any luck, only threats of violence. She had grown to read the signs where the mood would change without warning and she took it as her cue to usher the other two out of harm's way.
The three of them sat there transfixed as those downstairs tried to calm the man down. There was a desperation in their voices as they spoke their words. The threats had started and the usual talk of smashing of faces began in earnest. The three looked at each other with tears in their eyes and fear etched across their faces. There was always the question of what could they do? Nothing was the answer. They were too young to do anything and only risked having the wrath turned in their direction. She huddled them closer together and they whispered about dreams of leaving this place."
These are the demons that haunt me. The helplessness at not being able to defend and protect those around me. I now know that it was not my job but at the time I felt I had failed those younger than me. I could only watch for the tells and steer them out of harm's way. I had developed "a look" from young; the effect was immediate when I used it. It was a warning and a pleading in one facial gesture that would last but a moment.
I often wonder when and how I will banish these demons from my life. The scars run deep and my reactions conditioned. It is the past that drives me to give my son a very different childhood; I hope one of innocence, play, fun and joy that comes with being a child.
Did you have demons too? How did you come to leave them in your past? Or did you learn to live with them?