“Kids, we’re getting a divorce.”
The spoon that was once in Lucy’s hand, clinking hard against the ceramic cup of tea was the only sound in the room. I couldn’t really process what my parents had just said, but as I looked around, seeing my older sister, Lucy’s gaping mouth and my younger sister, Payson’s forming tears, I realized the horror that was dawning on me.
I couldn’t really say I didn’t expect it, though.
My wonderful father, the oh so great “bringer of the bacon,” had also become the “bringer of lies” lately. My dad had recently gotten promoted at work to a position where traveling across the country—it was usually California, which was hundreds of miles away from our home in Indiana—was a required component. I had the feeling that lately, though, he wasn’t doing paperwork when he got there. I had the feeling that it was a…different kind of work.
I could see the shock still in my sister’s big, blue eyes. My sister, Lucy, was usually so happy and upbeat, but her joyful disposition seemed to instantly crumble like the Berlin wall right before my eyes. Her pale face got even paler, and her thin lips couldn’t seem to quite form the words she was thinking of.
“Y-You’re…” Lucy stammered, as if her mind had suddenly shut off completely, “…getting a divorce?”
The worry lines on my mother’s forehead that had appeared over the last few years seemed to crease noticeably as Lucy said this. Her big, green eyes shifted to her hands that were folded neatly on her lap, and she inhaled quickly, letting out a long breath that told me this talk was the last thing on her to-do list. My father jumped in for her, as he usually did when she was too spaced out to think for herself.
“Y-yes, we are.” He admitted dryly, licking his lips. Payson let out a little six-year-old whimper, and my dad’s eyes flickered upward, his eyebrows raised as if he was thinking of a way to reconcile for the bad news he’d just brought. “But…but we want you all to know that this is by no means your fault.”
“Then why are you getting a divorce?” Lucy croaked, although now I could see that the shock had worn away, leaving behind only what seemed to be hurt and confusion towards my parents—I, on the other hand, had barely been able to feel any emotion. The entire thing seemed so surreal. It was almost as if I’d known it would happen, but had been entirely clueless all at the same time.
My parents exchanged a fleeting look, because my mother seemed as if she could no longer tolerate to gaze into his eyes anymore, and turned back to me. My mother ran a hand through her dark red hair, smacking her lips before she spoke, like she always did, “Your father and I…well, we just—”
“—we just don’t feel the way we used to about each other anymore.” My dad interrupted, promptly getting shot a death glare from my mother. My two sisters hadn’t been as observant as I had, obviously, in the past few months, and hadn’t noticed that my mother did this a lot. I had, however, and detected that something was amiss. I guessed I was right. “It’s like we’re different people now.”
“Does that mean mommy and daddy don’t love each other anymore?” Payson asked, her big, blue eyes shimmering with confusion. Instinctually, I reached for her tiny hand and gave it a tiny squeeze, wanting to reassure her that everything would be alright, even though she probably had no real clue what was happening.
My mom opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Like always—my mother had never been able to stand up for herself. It’d always been my father had to talk for her, as if she was merely a puppet. I was rather surprised she’d had the gall to be able to ask for a divorce in the first place.